The Publisher’s Page _ Can you imagine people cultivating dandelions on their front lawns? Well get ready, because it's happening right now and it's coming to the homes in your neighbourhood in the very near future.
Dandelions are fast becoming the new status symbol for residential communities in North America.
Lush, deep, unblemished green lawns no longer reflect the message that owners of these front yards want to extend to the neighbourhood. Today a perfect lawn gives the impression that the homeowners will go to any length to ensure its impeccable esthetics. And that includes the application of pesticides and chemicals that may be poisonous or harmful, to children, pets or other creatures.
But things are changing. The mind set of our communities is growing far more considerate for our environment and our beloved earth.
There is no greater symbol than the presence of dandelions on a front lawn, to show that the owners of a home truly care about their community.
Dandelions show everyone in dramatic yellow colours, that this is a home with friendly, environmentally conscious people inside. What better colour is there to grace a carpet of green grass than a pleasing splash of yellow? It is a psychological fact that yellow is the most pleasing colour to the human eye.
A quick glance through your local library or the Internet shows that there is nothing remotely harmful about dandelions. In fact, it’s quite the opposite.
The medicinal value of dandelions has been acknowledged and used since ancient Roman times. Dandelions were introduced to North America by European immigrants whose ancestors have known their value for centuries. They are grown for medicine. They are used to make wonderful wine. And they have a tremendous value in garden cultivation.
Stratford celebrity and dandelion aficionado, Dave Bradshaw, informs us that dandelions commonly can have three-foot roots, so they do not compete with grass. These deep roots bring up minerals, especially calcium, from beneath the hard pan. A natural humus producer, the earthworm likes the soil around dandelions. When dandelions die, their roots act as elevator shafts for earthworms, permitting them to penetrate deeper into the soil — and that restores the earth.
Dandelions exhale ethylene gas, which provides robust growth in nearby flowers and plants and causes them to mature early.
When most people think of dandelions, they think of a hardy flower that is hard to get rid of. It takes a mighty dose of chemicals or some tenacious digging by a desperate homeowner to remove them. But it is a little known fact that dandelions are actually hard to grow. It takes many years for a growth of dandelions to become established. It is not easy to get a beautiful spray of dandelions on a lawn that does not already have their presence or had them previously removed.
If you are as old as I am, you may have some wonderful memories of playing in fields of dandelions when you were a child. The girls made dandelion necklaces and the boys played a gruesome game called “the queen of Scots got her head chopped off”. None of us ever had a thought about the danger of pesticides or harmful chemicals.
But as we grew up in a society that became so extreme, so frantic and so uptight about the need to have the “perfect” front lawn, we lost something along the way.
What does a lovely array of yellow flowers on the green grass of a front lawn say to you? I realize now, that it reflects something entirely different about the people inside that home than I once so foolishly believed. The sight of dandelions on lawn in our stress-loaded neighbourhoods is still pretty rare. But I see more and more of them everyday. Look around your community — you might be surprised to see how may there are this year.
Maybe we should all just stop and smell the dandelions as well as the roses.
By: Heino Molls