In praise of, and in surrender to, Tarraxacum officinale…

Tarraxacum officinale in a jug in our old bread oven, April 15

Tarraxacum officinale in a jug in our old bread oven, April 15

Now, suspend your disbelief, and if you look closely, you will know what these pretty flowers are.

Dandelions. For the idea of this photograph, I would like to thank ‘My French Country Garden’ on Facebook who posted an inspirational photo this week which set me thinking. I have to admit that there is one time in the year when the sunny yellowness of dandelions is quite beguiling, and that time is now.  Living in the country as we do, dandelions come with everything in great abundance. And our ‘ho-ho’ lawn, which we like but are not fanatical about, is covered with them…

Dandelion spread...April 15

Dandelion spread…April 15

And, now, in the Spring, they are so cheerful and jolly mingled in with the daisies. The recent heavy rain through March is deep in the soil and so they are in great shape.  I have had moments of great annoyance at these resiliant plants over the years, and they do get short shrift when they turn up in the gardened bits of the garden. I then wait, with an air of malevolence for a rainy day, when the soil will loosen a bit, and I can hoik them out.

But Alys Fowler has called me out on this.  She is a stern defender of the dandelion and I know why. 93 species of insects are known to visit and feed from dandelions, and many of those are crucial to garden diversity, and therefore to us as humans. Here, in France, pissenlit salad is an early summer delight, and the young tops of dandelions are the star. There’s a great recipe here, but watch out, there is a slight diuretic effect with the leaves. But then, the leaves are also stuffed full of vitamins A, B, C and D, as well as iron, potassium and zinc.  More botanical information here on ‘A Modern Herbal‘.

And, if you watch this little timelapse film, you will be beguiled, I know it.  I am resolved. I am going to live with my dandelions in the name of staying cool as a gardener, and in the name of garden diversity. And also, because they are so lovely in the Spring. I also remember the delight of ‘dandelion clocks’ as a child, and I want some to remind me of that time. But, they will be faced with my wrath when they are cheeky and turn up somewhere else. Like here…my homage to Nicole de Vesian. Harrumph.

Way too cheeky...invasion of my homage to Nicole de Vesian...! April 2105

Way too cheeky…invasion of my homage to Nicole de Vesian…! April 2105

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