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Yellow Spring Blooms – Not all good

Yellow announces spring. Forsythia, with long flowing branches covered in tiny horn-shaped blossoms, promise warmer days. If I had only one bush in my yard, it’d be forsythia, never trimmed except for dead branches and those that cross another branch.

Bright golden daffodils scream loudest. A. A. Milne wrote “A house with daffodils in it is a house lit up, whether or no the sun be shining outside.” Milne also said, “Daffodils in a green bowl – and let it snow if it will.” Maybe that’s the origin of the warning to watch out for snow on daffodils.

Some daffodils now hang their heads after enduring snow showers and freezing temperatures. A few gave up and fell to the ground promising yellow next spring. I drive out of my way to go by a house on Hudgens Street that has a bed of daffodils with orange centers. It’s my “spring fix” every day.

As much as I love yellow spring flowers, there is one I hate. A round, one-inch, flat flower grows in the center of the world’s ugliest plant. Yellow flowers that bloom at the same time as forsythia and daffodils. Yellow flowers that dot lawns and fields. Yellow flowers that become a child’s toy to blow.

I hate dandelions. Hate the sprawling ground-hugging prickly leaves. Hate the white, fuzzy seeds that fly. Dandelions challenge me to dig them up. There is nothing reasonable about how much I hate these yellow flowers. They are just a weed. A daisy’s cousin. But they spread like wildfire when those round tufts of fluffy seeds are carried by wind or someone blowing on them.

I think I blew dandelion seeds once, as a young child. Mom took the stem from my hand and whatever she said made such an impression that I never did it again. And although it wasn’t said, I knew Mom thought a yard filled with dandelions belonged to someone who was lazy and had no pride. Digging up dandelions was one of the few chores that I got paid for. I quickly learned that I had to dig up long taproots. No roots, no money.

During a weekend teacher environmental conference many years ago, I was given a bucket and told to collect my lunch from the field. A field of weeds.  Some people marveled at the tender dandelion leaves they picked. And they dug the roots to brew tea. I couldn’t do it. Why would I want prickly leaves in my mouth? (I did discover that clover is quite tasty and tender.) And I’ll stick with Earl Gray tea, thank you.

Supposedly, there’re benefits to ingesting dandelions. Improved digestion. Laxative. Relieve joint pain. But there are countless other things I can eat and drink that will give the same results. And I’d never spend $6.49 for sixteen dandelion teabags!

I treasure yellow daffodils and forsythia blooms. There’s only one good thing about dandelions: I get to dig in the dirt.


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