This weekend, a series of coincidences conspired to force me to consider the humble dandelion, that simple yellow flower often degraded as a weed. In previous years, I noticed them only in the way that one notices the slight change in the light and the weather as marking the forward march of time. But other people, those with meticulously planned gardens, actively detest dandelions and try to rid their green spaces of them. The only population counted on to appreciate the dandelion was that of schoolboys aged roughly five to ten, and for them, it was beloved because you could rub it on an unsuspecting victim to approximate the colour of pee.
But on this cool, sunny Friday, I took my toddler into the backyard and delighted to see that the oldest of our dandelions had gone to seed and assumed their most magical, whimsical form: that globe of feathered seeds, maximised for flight, ready to be carried into the wind and sew next year’s flowers and maybe grant some wishes.
I showed her how I took a deep breath and exhaled onto the lacy orb. When she saw how my breath then carried each seed away on its own delicate parachute, she giggled in that way that makes me feel like we will live forever and quickly pulled another. I put it up to her small face, but she demurred (in fairness, the seed head itself is larger than any one of her facial features at this stage), but she had plenty of fun picking them and waving them in the air like sparklers on the 4th of July.
Not a full day later and the Internet was atitter with talk of dandelions, as US right-wing media indulged in a bizarre blowing of a gasket over President Biden’s picking a dandelion for his wife, Jill.
I decided it was high time someone promoted these wonders of nature, emblems of both the persistence of life and its whimsy, and an oft-overlooked superfood. To that end, I would like to announce the Dandelion Appreciation Society, where like-minded dande-lovers can share stories, recipes, pictures and factoids about the perennial workhorse of the garden.
Click here to join us in celebration of this harbinger of springtime.