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  • Betty Girardeau

It Starts with a seed


One of the very first flowers that I see in the spring is, I think, under appreciated and even hated: the lowly dandelion. My mother hated them! She waged a continuous war to eradicate them from her lawn. And now, looking back, I can't understand why she felt as she did. I have seen dandelions blooming on cold days in February because, nestling close to the ground, they can accept the warming rays of even the winter sun. To me they are harbingers of spring at a time when the rest of the environment is in winter lock down. If you do a Google search for dandelions you will find a ton of information about when and how to eradicate them. But looking more closely you will also find that these lowly plants have not always been held in such low esteem. Some, even today, consider them to be a symbol of fighting through the challenges of life and emerging victorious in the end. Others see them as a visual reminder of the power of the sun, especially when grief or depression make it hard to feel "sunny." And every part of the plant can be eaten. Dandelions can even be considered a "super food." The leaves, though a bit bitter like arugula, make a great and nutritious salad loaded with antioxidants and vitamins. A half cup of their greens even contains more calcium than a glass of milk. Recently someone shared a recipe for dandelion flower jam. I haven't been able to make it yet, though, because I haven't been able to find enough their flowers in my neighborhood, but I hope to be able to forage enough at some point to be able to try the recipe out. And perhaps best of all, they are wonder subjects for photographers. My favorite thing about dandelions is their seed head. Looking closely at them at this stage they are a marvel, simple and yet complex. They are beautiful taken at almost any angle and in most lighting conditions. And they are especially gorgeous covered with dew. I plan to continue to tolerate a few of these plants in my yard and flower beds and smile while I remember my mother and her never flagging dislike of them.

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