On June 21, 2021, the first full day of summer, The Denver Gazette published my feature about dandelions along with eye-catching fine art photographs of dandelions by Denver artist Dianne Allison.
For the article, I interviewed a landscape designer who advocates for native plants. She emphasized that dandelions play an important role in our landscapes and eco culture. I also interviewed the founder of the medicinal plants garden at Denver Botanic Gardens, who emphasized that dandelions are good food and medicine. And I interviewed a certified arborist from a local tree and lawn care company who said dandelions aren’t really harming lawns or trees, but are more an aesthetic and tolerance issue.
In my own organic garden, I dig dandelions after rain storms. I have eaten dandelion greens in salads and green shakes. I have made dandelion fritters from the blossoms, and dandelion vinegar from the roots. However, I live in the city alongside neighbors with pristine lawns, so I don’t let my dandelions go wild — tho’ they’d like to, no doubt.
If able to wish upon a dandelion seed, I’d wish for the sea change required for humans to embrace dandelions and learn to cultivate them without letting them get totally out of control. After all, European immigrants intentionally brought dandelions to the New World. Our new perspective on dandelions as plants for food and medicine rather than weeds would made a difference to our yards and our planet.
For more about healthy soil and the web of life, watch the documentary film “Kiss the Ground” on Netflix.