Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Dandelion patrols out en masse

Two dandelion escapees with seed and a third that has already released seed (horror of horrors), ensuring continued disgusting dandelion presence for another spring! (Photo by D. Grant Haynes)


Well, my neighbors, as well as management of the apartment building where I reside, are into their "kill every stinking dandelion in Washington State" mode at this time, as every spring.

The grounds where I live have already been "treated" and thousands of dandelions are wilting and dying at this time.

And my neighbors each patrol their lawns in the afternoon, trigger finger cocked on a herbicide gun, ready to zap any dandelion that dares to rear its illegitimate, unwelcome, disgraceful head on their manicured lawn.

Why do people hate dandelions so much?

Dandelions offer cheerful yellow flowers early in the spring when lesser herbs linger in the cold ground.

And dandelions grace the landscape with their fluffy, sun catching, graceful seed heads when the bloom has performed its essential role.

And besides, dandelion greens are thought to be a delicacy by some. Did you ever hear of zoysiagrass greens?

I like dandelions and I enjoy their presence in my world.

I believe men in this farming region of North America, especially, despise any plant that they can't control completely and bend to their wills--most especially a plant that, in addition to being ornery, doesn't represent a cash crop for them.

I see more herbicides applied here than anywhere I have ever lived. A few people back home used to pull up or hoe out what they considered to be weeds. But not the wheat farmers of Washington State and their kin. They do not bend their waists to eliminate any weed. They spray it with a herbicide, the residual effect of which will last for years.

And who should wonder that the ground water here is dangerously polluted with agricultural chemicals or that old folks are dropping as flies now that crop spraying is going at full tilt again?

Dandelions refuse to be tamed and domesticated. Dandelions refuse to give up. Dandelions do not ask anything of men--no fertilizer, no watering, no cultivation. And they grow in a wide variety of terrains, soils, biomes, and climates. A friend in Moscow, Russia, sent photos of downtown Moscow recently and darned if there weren't dandelions growing in cracks in the sidewalk there even!

So, here's to dandelions! May they long prosper and continue to confound controlling men who believe themselves to be masters of all there is on the face of the Earth.

There'll always be one more wild dandelion to challenge them!

D. Grant Haynes