The Lowly Dandelion

Lowly Dandelion

Though we militate
against them, yet we acknowledge the superiority of dandelions. I
exalt when a full fledged dandelion appears in the path of my Stihl
weed trimmer. I don’t merely reduce it to a height of two inches,
the height of grass. No, I decimate it. I angle the implement so the
line tears limb, branch and blossom entirely to ground level.
Succulent parts fly everywhere. It is a permissible sadism in my
personal military campaign.

I buy both granules and
liquid forms of 2-4D. It would be cheaper to hire a chemical service,
and more effective. I persist in the delusion that $30.00 worth of
Weed-Be-Gone will eliminate an acre of dandelions. I do it
repeatedly. My effort falls heroically short.

As I drive past
neighboring properties, I thrill to observe homeowners and farmers
whose dandelion problem exceeds mine by multiples. I wonder about my
motives. How weed-free do I really want my yard to be. Compared to
them, I am doing fine, I vainly reflect.

I gleefully reduce the pests to silage. On the next pass, I see stems
of just mown adults elevating themselves. I want to swing aside and
clip them again, but that would double the time it takes to mow. The
only way to assure than now tubular stems pop up after mowing is to
mow once, then a second time on the diagonal. That would be
overboard. Or, I could mow every day. Or hire a professional, one
with a money-back guarantee. I would write a contract that I would
permit no stems above the turfgrass. What might that cost?

All the effort I and
others put into eradicating the dandelion is a tribute to its
undaunted tenacity. It “blooms where it is planted”. All blocks
of a city are suitable, even at joints where asphalt meets concrete.
Lawns, gardens, raspberry patches, roadsides: dandelions attack them
all. Farmer’s fields “welcome” them. Even leafy, competitive
alfalfa hosts the mighty, the common, dandelion.

Dry sites and boggy sites
both harbor the intruder. On a hike to Sacajewea Peak, elevation
8,500 feet, we noticed dandelions at the trailside at nearly every
elevation. The dandelion is a missionary, making itself at home and
delivering its message in all lands and plant communities. It is no
couch potato.

What would you name the
color of the dandelion blossom? It is stronger than lemon. It is not
precisely citrine. It is more playful than chrome yellow. School
buses are passe by comparison. The color of dandelions is unique,

You mow a plantation of
the cursed, smiley-faced things. The re-appear in two days, standing
tall and cheerful. You dig a burly grandpa and if you do not dig to a
depth of twelve inches, a shard of the remaining root sprouts,
emerging from the trench like a new recruits in WWI, “over the
top”. The shoot keeps a low profile for a time, hoping to evade
lawnmowers, sunbathing. This way it lays up provisions. Then it
brandishes the golden torch of its forefather proudly before the

This indomitable spirit
deserves emulation. Can I spring back from a put-down, an assault?
Can I find my root reserves, and start from fundamentals?

One other trait of
dandelions gives me confidence. They are the definition of
common-ness. But that does not diminish their cheer and
determination. Ordinary mortals like me can persist, thrive and
radiate beauty. A wave of sunshine consists of millions of yellow
elements, (but don’t give that as an answer on a physics test). A
battalion of ordinary dandelions pushes back the borders of darkness.
Ordinary people, properly organized, and with dogged tenacity, do the

I admire my enemy. I plot
his demise while learning his survival instincts and tactics. His
strength and charm nearly win me over.

I hear
Wal-Mart has a special on Weed-Be-Gone. I am going to get some.


One Response

  1. Hilarious. Years ago, when I was but a child, my mother used to pick dandelion greens, cook and eat them. See, they are useful 🙂



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