Tuesday, May 28th, 2024

C Children First by Becky Adams
Dandelion Time


Springtime has arrived, and everyone is anticipating the spreading of mulch, new growth on the trees, cleaning out flowerbeds, planting tomatoes, and cutting the rich new green grass. And then there are the dandelions. Those pesky yellow flowers have been popping up in the lawns and flowerbeds all over the area for the last couple of months. As I sit here writing this article, I am looking at one I just plucked from my yard. It reminds me of my childhood in Richmond.

My mother was a dedicated gardener and always had a lovely yard with a wide variety of flowers growing throughout the year. We lived on a corner lot, so many people walked by and commented on what was growing during the various seasons. I always loved the dandelions because they were among the first colors we saw in the spring. Like most children, I particularly enjoyed the first iteration of the dandelion when the white seeds came out in the shape of a snowball. One of my favorite activities was to pick one and run around with my friends to see how far I could blow those seeds. You can imagine my mother's response to that activity. She calmly explained that each one of those seeds represented another potential dandelion plant that would spread throughout our yard.

My childlike mind thought I was bringing more yellow beauty to our yard. We adults need to think like a child. As I look at the dandelion today, I am reminded of several qualities in this plant that I truly appreciate.

The first one is its strength. It is a messenger of spring with its strong roots. To remove a dandelion from the yard, it doesn't pay to just pull off the flower and throw it away. Those roots will send a stem right back up the next day to provide one or more yellow flowers.  

That brings us to the second quality of the dandelion: its resilience. It stays around until the end of the season despite unusual weather patterns. There are also a few stragglers that stay around throughout the winter. They seem to have a propensity for growing close to a house or through cracks in a driveway.  

The third quality I appreciate in dandelions is their beauty. Just look at a lawn before the first time it is mowed in the spring. You will see those lovely yellow flowers growing among the clover, the purple deadnettle, and a wide variety of wildflowers. They are also natural pollinators, and dandelion tea is high in Vitamins A and C and boosts the immune system.

Help your children appreciate the beauty of some of these natural flowers we often call “weeds.” It would be an enriching conversation to have with your children.