I have just begun my annual internal battle over dandelions.
On one hand, I have always loved the bright yellow flowers which crop up in my yard. On the other hand, a lawn free from dandelions always looks so darned pretty. In my case, my mental fight doesn’t last long, because the people in charge of my homeowners association have decided that dandelions are “noxious weeds” and therefore are prohibited by the terms of the covenants. I have complied with their wishes in the front yard, but the back yard is another story.
Some of my fondest childhood memories involve dandelions. Of course, dandelions don’t exist in the cold, dreary days of winter, so that may have something to do with my affinity for these yellow weeds. There are a lot of things one can do with a dandelion. They can be woven together to make a crown, or rubbed under one’s chin to see if they like butter. They are always happy to play along with “the momma had a baby and her head popped off” game. I used to make chains out of the stems after popping all of the heads off. There is a milky substance that comes out of the bigger stems. I always found this goo useful in drawing on myself and the driveway. It gets nice and sticky after you play with it a few minutes.
Adult people can have fun with dandelions, too. Dandelion blossoms can be used to make jelly. I can’t imagine that a peanut butter and dandelion jelly sandwich would be anything but delicious. People have been eating dandelion greens for a very long time. Apparently, herbalists have long known how many medicinal properties are contained in dandelions. The root of the dandelion contains potassium and beta carotene. Who needs bananas when we could eat dandelions? I have even heard of dandelion wine. Yummy, I bet. If wine isn’t your thing, you can roast the roots, grind them up and brew them like coffee.
As if the yellow blossoms and greens weren’t enough for fun and health, you can also play with dandelion fluff. It is said that if you catch a dandelion seed on the wind, your wish will come true. I always enjoyed blowing the fluff, kind of like a birthday candle, all in one breath. When my dad’s hair turned white, Eldest tried to blow it off his head like a dandelion. It didn’t work, but we all enjoyed it.
With the decisions of homeowners associations everywhere deciding these delightful yellow blossoms are a menace, I am more inclined to dig in my heels and declare them endangered. I am seriously considering creating a dandelion sanctuary in my back yard, right next to the clover. Care to join me?
Amy is a writer living in Hendricks County. You can read more of her work at rubymay1029.blogspot.com.