Dandelion season is here! And this means while other gardeners are shaking their heads and reaching for their herbicides, I'm outside with a basket getting mud all over my jeans while I pick dandelions.
There's so much you can DO with dandelions. They're made into a bright, delicious wine, the flower petals make delicious fritters, the leaves are incredibly nutritious, and bees love them. This basket full will be made into an infused oil that can be used to ease sore muscles and the aching breasts so many of us suffer in the days before menstruation begins. Magically, the oil helps summon joy and release sorrow and trauma trapped in the body. I'll probably thicken mine with a little beeswax once it's ready to make it easier to apply without dripping it everywhere, but it could also be used as-is for a magical bath or anointing oil.
Dandelions are good for the earth too. They heal compacted, depleted soil and prevent erosion in disturbed ground, among other things. And yet people spend a lot of money trying to eradicate them, in spite of the fact that "Herbicides used on lawns take a terrible toll on wildlife. More than seven million wild birds are estimated to die annually due to the use of lawn pesticides. Thirty million acres of the United States are lawns, and an estimated 80 million pounds of pesticides are used on them annually. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service reports that 'homeowners use up to ten times more chemical pesticides per acre on their lawns than farmers use on crops'."(From Anita Sanchez, author of The Teeth of the Lion: The Story of the Beloved and Despised Dandelion*.)
I think it's time for North America to embrace a different aesthetic, one that appreciates the happy beauty of this friendly, useful herb.
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