This morning we share the following by Paula Kok-De Boer on the importance of the humble dandelion to the greater ecological balance in our gardens.
Hello, I’m a dandelion.
A lot of people call me a weed but I’m a friend and come to help you!
When you see me, remember that I’m the ONLY one who wants and can grow in that particular spot. Because:
Either the soil is too compact / hard / stomped and I want to loosen it for you with my roots.
Or there is too little calcium in the soil – don’t worry, I will replenish that for you with the dying of my leaves.
Or the soil is too acidic. But I will also improve that for you if you give me the chance.
Or a mixture of the above reasons, of course.
I’m here because your soil needs my help so best you let me grow without disturbing me! When everything is fixed, I will disappear again, I promise!
Are you trying to remove me prematurely with my root? However meticulous you are, I will return 2x as strong! Just until your soil is improved.
You can even tell by my growth at which stage my help is at. If my leaves are flat on the ground then I’m far from ready but if they all reach up then I’m already a long way on my way.
Something completely different is that I am one of the first bloomers in spring so I will announce spring / summer for you.
During the day when it’s hot, I open my flowers but in the evening when it cools off I close them again quickly. In fact, if it’s not hot enough during the day I won’t open them at all!
My flowers are the first food for insects after hibernation and unlike most other plants, I have pollen AND nectar, not merely one OR the other! And I am generous with them!
My flowers are even delicious for you people by the way, did you know? I used to be called ′′honey (or gold) of the poor′′ because my flowers are so sweet in e.g. jam, sauce or salad! The internet is full of recipes – check them out.
But wait until the end of May or later before you start picking and even then, don’t pick everything yet! I facilitate biodiversity and the bees will be very grateful.
by Paula Kok – De Boer