May 25, 2013

North Cairn: Dandelions, a beautiful scourge

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I have friends who eat them, and I'm not just talking cottontails here. I have human acquaintances who swear by the culinary delights of dandelion greens for salad. I confess I have not taken things that far yet, but there is always the chance that old cuisine borders can be breached.

For now, though, I am sticking to admiration from afar. To me the dandelion is the casual gardener's dream come true, a plant that requires absolutely no caretaking with a flower that can be picked by any child looking to hold beauty in hand -- without getting into trouble from the next-door neighbor.

And, of course, you can't kill a dandelion, not really.

That's the kind of garden that works for me.

And there's this. Nothing looks quite so much like the overflowing of sunlight on the lawn as a dandelion does.

One morning this week, I came out the front door and noticed at the side of the porch a dandelion bloom bigger than a golf ball. I'm not speaking of its fuzz. This was the actual flower, with florets big as a snake's tongue. It was fabulous.

Every day we hear about how the world is coming apart at the seams; it is comforting to me that one living thing -- a commoner, really, that few people pay any attention to -- appears to be doing just fine. It gives me hope of survival, reminds me that there is a whole natural order out there that is unfolding, more or less on schedule, untended by human hands.

They always say one person's weed is another person's wildflower. I appreciate knowing the whole world's a garden and its beauty is something I can imagine and even celebrate. But creation takes someone else's touch, and the generations are holding their own.

North Cairn can be contacted at 791-6325 or at:


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