April 22, 2013

Dandelion Tolerance

I originally wrote this post last year for Earth Day. 
Amazing the difference from one April to the next.  We are a long way (see Friday's post) from having any dandelions.   But I suspect the rest of the world may be way ahead of us in this department, and I'm going to guess that only about five or six people saw the original posting.  
So as something I see as important, I'm re-sharing. 
I've updated a few of the photos to include my first dabbling in textures.   Kind of fun!

Original post.  April 22, 2012:

It's that time of year.  I'm anxiously awaiting our first woodland wildflowers to peek up through the earth.

This week the first few dandelions showed their bright yellow faces in our yard.
The dandelion is considered a wild flower in Minnesota, but it's non-native and highly invasive, so I'm not a super-fan (even though I love yellow.)

Dandelions were originally brought to North America from Eurasia as a food crop, and now they are found as weeds world-wide.  There are dozens of different names in different languages (meaning different things!) for the dandelion.  In Finnish it is called voikukka. 

More important to know though, is that the dandelion is responsible for much water contamination, due to the fact that many, many people treat lawns with chemicals to (try to) eradicate it.  
Many chemicals on lawns = NOT GOOD! 

So, we practice Dandelion Tolerance here.  And in honor of Earth Day, and because I'm still waiting for those real wildflowers to emerge, I thought I'd share one of my once-every-few-years-or-so public service announcements, on why the world may be a better place if you practice Dandelion Tolerance, too.

Soon our yard will be full of them, and I admit it is a slight aesthetic nuisance some days, how tall the spindly stems pop up, making the yard look untidy. 

On the bright side, they do have some good uses & positive attributes. 
Some days they're actually bright & cheery looking. 
And they don't last all that long.

Dandelion is a 100% natural way to paint faces, sidewalks, and more, as Dandelion Warrior Johnathan displays here.  (It's also great as a natural dye for more permanent uses.)

As far as weeds go, the dandelion is actually considered a "beneficial weed" and a good companion plant for gardening, since it's taproot will bring up nutrients for shallower-rooting plants, and add minerals and nitrogen to soil.   Who knew?
Dandelions are also known to attract pollinating insects, and are important plants for bees, providing an important source of nectar and pollen early in the season.   I love it when the bees are buzzing around here.

Dandelions are edible in their entirety, and even offer up high vitamin & mineral content.

And I have to admit, while I have far greater appreciation for the native, more challenging to spot, subtle & shy wild flowers, even the dandelion is fascinating to study up close, and can make for an interesting subject to photograph.
I'm a sucker for the perfect, fuzzy, spheres when gone to seed.  
I just don't get all jumping for joy with enthusiasm & excitement in discovering them. (I admit, I do this for others.)  No rare & spectacular discovery in coming across a dandelion.   
Since they're so abundant & prolific, though, we have no reservations about picking to our heart's content.  We actually encourage the kids to pick these blooms, unlike other native, delicate wildflowers.  It's the best, natural way to get rid of them.
Pick away!

Some concerning facts related to the use of pesticides to fight dandelions:
Suburban lawns receive more pesticide per acre than agricultural land.
Sixty three percent of commonly used lawn pesticides are carcinogenic.
Lawn pesticides increase risk of childhood leukemia by seven times.
Pound for pound children absorb a higher concentration of pesticides than adults.
Dogs exposed to herbicide treated lawns double risk of canine lymphoma.
Pesticides kill beneficial insects which are essential to a healthy lawn.
Pesticide runoff results in widespread contamination of streams and groundwater.
Twelve lawn chemicals are on the EPA’s list of drinking water contaminants.(source)
Before you go buying weed killer to spread on your lawn, think about supporting healthy water, people, pets, bees, and non-toxic yards to roll & play in.  
Embrace yellow chins & dandelion chains & endless child's play involving "heads popping off." 
Think dandelion tolerance. 
Happy Earth Day!

Sharing with
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Our World Tuesday
Inspired Tuesday

Macro Monday


  1. I have a friend who makes some wonderful Dandelion wine. This plant does have its positives :)

  2. A wonderful post for Earth Day!
    A fellow blogger hates when I post dandelion pics. They despise them.
    I live in the country and they say country life to me. Like you stated they don't last long.
    Your macro is wonderful showing off the center!

  3. Hi Amanda :)
    Love your post! And love your blog! So happy to have found this site.

  4. Nice flowers - some people call them weeds, but them some people make mistakes!

    Cheers - Stewart M - Melbourne

  5. They're gorgeous! Beauty is in the eye of the beholder.

  6. Superb photography – great post & reminder about the importance of Earth Day!

    Great blog too,

    Visiting from Macro Monday

  7. beautiful images and so informative... I happen to love dandelions and how they brighten up lawns and fields:-)

  8. I'm visiting from Macro Monday and enjoyed your post. I should think most mothers have had a bouquet of dandelions presented to them at least once and they are a pretty yellow flower.
    I first had dandelion leaves to eat as part of an organic produce delivery program. Our grocery stores sell them too.
    We have a pesticide ban in our province so dandelions are taking over the lawns and I think people are just learning to live with them.

  9. Love the photos of the dandelions and of you little guy! I am not a lover of dandelions but your information gives me a new perspective. I hope we will be seeing them soon!

  10. I'm looking forward to the same. Boom & Gary of the Vermilon River, Canada.

  11. Such a great post - Oh voikukka belongs to my summermemories - heads popping off :-) An inportant post well suited on Earth Day! My mom has an organic way of getting rid of them, she digs the long root ... hard work, but it keeps them at distance. I like the smell of dandelion flowers - so special and sommerly. Your textures highlight your beautiful pictures in a delicate and subtile way - I like :)

  12. Amanda, your boys are so cute! Love the post, we do not use pesticides of any kind since we have well water. Happy Earth Day!

  13. Amanda, I admire your post both informative writing and wonderful macro photos not to mention children of course !
    I am wondering are you a biologist or something like that ? ( I and my husband are biologists - retired ones )

    I wish you and yours warm sunny spring days!

  14. My favourite drink as a child was 'Dandelion and Burdock'. A fizzy, sweet drink that was very popular in the North of England. Not sure if you can still get it.

  15. I appreciate the good things you have to say about dandelions, but I'm not sure you have converted me into a fan. I tend to not like dandelions in our yard, but I don't use chemicals on them.

  16. As you might guess, I love dandelions. :) The more the merrier. They've barely begun to even show their leaves here, let alone start to bloom. I've been waiting for the greens to get big enough to pick for spring salads. :) Loved your post.

  17. love the comparison between this year and last year...so creative! & beautiful photos with great textures!

    Allie @ Framed by God

  18. Lovely photos! The kids are cute!

  19. What lovely shots! We practise tolerance here and never use any kind of chemicals. What's a weed to one person, is a flower to another!

  20. I really love this post! I remember when I was a kid back in Canada we spent a lot of time getting rid of dandilions. Here in Denmark... you just let them grow. You will find entire fields of them sometimes!

  21. Maskrosor är goda i sirap och vin. De är fina på våren, men inte sen i gräsmattan på sommaren det blir för mycket av dom
    Ha en fin vecka
    Kram Meta

  22. I love dandelions too and don't really consider them to be weeds. Too pretty to call a nuisance.

  23. I wrote a piece called The Lion's Tooth for the publicatipn Isle. Please look it up online.... Plants have rights to exist, too, like us. :-)