The much-maligned dandelion

7 05 2013

© Cindy Dyer. All rights reserved.

Dandelion lorez

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Common Mullein

24 04 2012

Common Mullein (Verbascum thapsus), photographed last year at Green Spring Gardens. Mullein is a biennial that can grow up to 8 ft. in height. The first year, it produces wooly greenish-gray leaves; the second year, tiny yellow flowers bloom.

© Cindy Dyer. All rights reserved.





From the Polaroid transfer archives: Lupine

22 02 2012

I photographed this beautiful Lupine bloom many years ago when I was visiting my friend John in Barrington Passage, Nova Scotia. When I hopped out of the car to photograph a field of these beauties, he laughed and said, “why on earth are you photographing weeds?” They grow so abundantly in his area that the locals consider them weeds! I took the 35mm slide and create this Polaroid transfer piece soon after. You can learn more about the Polaroid transfer process in my blog posting here.

© Cindy Dyer. All rights reserved.





Even the (colorful) weeds are welcome…

2 04 2008

© Cindy Dyer. All rights reserved. www.cindydyer.com/GardenPhotos

lowlydandelion.jpg

I took a break from the computer this afternoon to get some fresh air on this beautiful April day…went out into the garden to see if anything new had appeared. And yes, something had. A lowly (lowly to many, but not to me) dandelion, upstaging the hellebores with its garish yellowishness. I’ve heard the saying, “a weed is just an unloved flower,” but have always wondered who gets to decide what is or isn’t a weed. They’re pretty in every stage, from flower to wish-upon-a-dandelion puffballs.

(From “The Wishing Handbook” by Gloria T. Delamar—When you see the first dandelion of the season, make a wish. Blow on a dandelion puff and make a wish. Then say, “Dandelion, puffs away, make my wish come true some day.” If all the “whiskers” are gone after the third puff, your wish will come true.)

Everything you ever wanted to know about dandelions can be found at this website here: http://www.oardc.ohio-state.edu/weedguide/singlerecordframe2.asp?id=950

and then some: http://fohn.net/dandelion-pictures/folklore.html

The dandelion, one of the hardiest plants known to man, is a perennial, herbaceous plant with long, lance-shaped leaves. They’re so deeply toothed, they gave the plant its name in Old French: Dent-de-lion means lion’s tooth. Dandelion has been used in many traditional medical systems, including Native American and traditional Arabic medicine. Historically, dandelion was most commonly used to treat liver diseases, kidney diseases, and spleen problems. Less commonly, dandelion was used to treat digestive problems and skin conditions. Today, dandelion is used by some as a liver or kidney “tonic,” as a diuretic, and for minor digestive problems. The plant’s roots are often roasted to make a drink similar to tea or coffee. Some wild birds rely on the seeds of this flower as a main staple of their diet. Bees frequent dandelions for nectar. The greens can be used in recipes and even wine making.

And speaking of edible…how about making dandelion fritters? Here’s a recipe from Kimberly Gallagher (http://www.learningherbs.com/dandelion_recipes.html) They look pretty tasty…but then, what doesn’t look tasty when it’s fried?

Dandelions entice entrepreneurs and activists as well. From The Durango Telegraph (http://www.durangotelegraph.com/03-05-01/second1.htm): The Dandelion Brigade will come to your home and dig your dandelions, roots and all, for less cost than pesticides. The profits go to the Children’s Permaculture Garden. The Brigade will also teach you how to use the plant for food medicine, make you fresh dandelion juice, and for an extra charge, they’ll make wine or beer from the flower heads.

Perhaps the Brigade will consider franchise rights across the U.S.? Franchise prices should be rather low considering you’ll have your own ample inventory!

Dandelions even inspire other bloggers such as Charles Hodgson in his podcast for word lovers: http://podictionary.com/?p=740

How a plant this useful could be so maligned is a mystery to me. Yes, I know they can be invasive, killing off grass—but I don’t have grass, so it matters not to me. And I’ll probably be banned from all gardens clubs in North America because of my defense of dandelions (and imagine what a bad example I’m setting for my own garden club members!). Now do you see your “weed” in a different light?