I love my yard in April. It looks like a botanical version of Joseph’s Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat.
Yellow dandelions, pink henbit and purple violets are splattered against a canvas of several shades of green.
The grass itself is a mix of buffalo grass, Johnson grass and wild rye. Last summer, when I left a swath near my little red stable unmowed just to see what would come up, I was rewarded with tall stalks of milo; their beaded top clusters made pretty dried arrangements in the fall.
The yard has a soundtrack, too: The hum of bees hopscotching from dandelion to dandelion.
I’m not alone in my dandelion-hugging ways.
When a local TV station posted a video recently on its Facebook page about how to get rid of the edible weed whose name derives from “lion’s tooth” in French, the first comment began: “NO, DO NOT eliminate these plants!”
More than 30 people “liked” that comment and two dozen more posted similar objections to getting rid of dandelions, many citing their importance as a food source for bees.
I have another reason for saying “no” to the War on Weeds.
To me, flowering weeds are flowers. Just because I didn’t select, purchase and plant them doesn’t make them any less lovely.
In nature as in life, beauty can be found in unexpected places.
Who sold us on the notion that our yards need to look like golf courses?
Mine is a little patch of prairie and I look forward each week during the growing season to see what will pop up next. Sometimes when it’s a tall flowering weed such as daisy fleabane, bachelor’s button or milkweed, I’ll mow around it so I can look at it and to encourage it to spread.
Life has enough challenges without us creating battles that don’t really need to be fought.
Embrace the money and free time you gain by ditching the pesticide applications and dandelion digging.
Delight in the color dandelions and other unintended flowers inject into the landscape, and welcome the bees and butterflies they attract.
As a bonus, a wonderful book some friends gave me — “Edible Wild Plants of the Prairie” (by Kelly Kindscher, University Press of Kansas) — reveals a surprising number of things you might have sprouting in your yard whose leaves and shoots can be tossed into soups and salads.