Not-So-Dandy Lion

As you might recall, I recently channeled my inner landscape architect in an attempt to convert a jumbled pile of rock and dirt into something more visually appealing. This little plot next to our stoop (I was outvoted 15-0 in the online poll…thanks for nothing, “loyal” readers!) (At least my mom and aunt agreed it was a porch on Facebook, so there’s some small comfort there)) once contained a beautiful rock garden, courtesy of Doris, the previous owner.

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And then our sewer line up and quit working, to the tune of $11,000. Because it ran directly beneath that rock garden, they tore the whole thing up.

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Once the weather warmed up, we could no longer ignore the fact that something had to be done. So I went and done something. What do you think?

I was able to rescue most of the pink quartz. It’ll sparkle better once we get some rain. Right now, it’s still pretty muddy from being buried. Overall, I’m pleased with the way it turned out.

I’m also really digging all the flora Tara has been planting around the house. Her obsession with plants and pots is downright adorable.

And remember her seed starts? They are almost ready to be transplanted into the ground. We’re planning on digging up the rest of the garden this weekend.

And since I’m posting all this greenery, here are some more things blooming in our backyard. I absolutely love it out there this time of year!

What I don’t like about the backyard is all the stupid dandelions that are popping up. I blame this on our neighbor up the hill, who just lets them grow as they please. Damn hippie. I actually did a little dandelion research this morning and found out some interesting facts:

  • Dandelions probably arrived in North America on the Mayflower—not as stowaways, but brought intentionally for their medicinal benefits.
  • Dandelions have been used by humans for food and as an herb for much of recorded history.
  • Dandelions suck. (Err, sorry…that’s my interjection.)
  • The entire plant, including the leaves, stems, flowers, and roots, is edible and nutritious. The flower petals are used to make dandelion wine. Its ground, roasted roots can be used as a caffeine-free coffee alternative. Dandelion is also one of the traditional ingredients in root beer.
  • The English name, dandelion, is a corruption of the French dent de lion (“lion’s tooth”), because of the coarsely toothed leaves. 
  • Some of the other less-than-complimentary names include blowball, cankerwort, doon-head-clock, witch’s gowan, milk witch, lion’s-tooth, monks-head, priest’s-crown, puff-ball, swinesnout, and—my personal favorite—piss-a-bed. I swear I’m not making this up; it’s the English folk name for the not-so-dandy lion.

Dandelions aren’t technically a noxious weed, and to be fair, there are some benefits to letting them grow. But the ability of their seeds to spread so easily and potentially take over a yard puts me squarely in the Not a Fan camp. I wish I could be all Zen about ’em and let them do their thing like my neighbor up the hill, but I just can’t.

So, every morning—EVERY. SINGLE. MORNING.—I am going outside with my trusty weed puller and committing murder. And yet, without fail, there are a dozen new ones the next day…sometimes in the very holes from which I yanked them up 24 hours earlier, as if they are mocking me and my vain attempts at eradication. No shit, dandelions are tough. They’re like the Tony Sopranos of the plant world. No wonder they freakin’ thrive.

So our lawn now has a patchwork of holes all over. I could probably open up a golf course back there if I wanted. But, I told Tara, at least I’m aerating the lawn, even if it is an inch at a time. You know, I did make a vow that 2020 would be my year of leisure (ha! little did I know…), so maybe I should just give up and let them take over. I like wine. I wonder how many flowers it takes to make a bottle….?

I’m curious what you guys think, so here’s a new poll. And a chance to redeem yourselves!

Tomorrow I’ll be on assignment again, but this time it’s a true assignment, as in, I was assigned it. True, I begged volunteered, but let’s not be nitpicky here. The Keystone Chamber of Commerce is one of our clients, but honestly, few of us know much about Keystone, other than it’s the town people drive through on their way to Mount Rushmore, minutes away. Since we’re doing all this work for them, and I’m the guy writing about them, a field trip is in order to learn more about the town. I’ll be strolling around—nay, loitering—for a few hours tomorrow, visiting different places and taking a ton of photos. Half the office is on vacation anyway to stretch the three-day weekend into four, so it’s a good day to be on the road.

By the time I get home, I’m sure I’ll be ready to kick back with a big glass of dandelion wine…

42 Comments on “Not-So-Dandy Lion

  1. Great title, Mark! I admire Tara’s green thumb. Not my strength at all. Your gardens and yard are really thriving. It shows the care you and Tara put into the place and like you say, this time of year.

    Interesting about the whole dandelion history and descriptions. A great deal of work to yank them out. One year, when we were living in Prince George, a group of us spent the day picking dandelions in our yard and around the neighbourhood. My husband had a dandelion wine recipe he wanted to try out. It was hard work and required a lot of dandelions. I recall something about adding citrus to the recipe, oranges? Lemons? He likely still has the recipe around somewhere if you want. That dandelion wine had quite the reputation with our family and friends. It made you shudder drinking the first few sips and it didn’t take much to get sh__ faced! (I never use language like this so if too offensive, I understand if you want to remove comment). Good luck with all, Mark.🙂

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    • Not offensive at all, lol. The articles I read today did mention adding citrus to the dandelion wine. I would assume to balance the bitterness/acidity. Can’t imagine it tastes very good…though it does sound effective!

      Liked by 1 person

  2. The yard is looking pretty nifty Mark and the stoop area is nicely inviting everyone up and in with it’s decor and plantings.
    As to the dreaded dandies–I live in an apartment with a small lawn that is tended by a hired company. They kill the moss in early spring, fertilize after, but seem to have an aversion to killing weeds in the grass. Second year now that I have purchased my own spray on weed killer, (cause I really have no storage for lawn tools) and blasted those suckers the moment they appear.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you, Deb! I appreciate that.

      We are talking about hiring a lawn company next spring. Our neighbor does, and I have never seen a single dandelion in their lawn. Unless they’re crawling around out there in the middle of the night with flashlights and digging implements (doubtful given their ages and general lack of physical mobility), then the lawn care company is doing its job right.

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  3. Have you ever fully yanked out a dandelion, by which I mean gotten every last centimetre of it down to the very end of its tapered taproot? I have once or twice. It’s very rare, but it feels oh so good.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Apparently, given the way in which they continue to proliferate in the same spots from whence they were removed, I’m guessing the answer to your question is: NO.

      Liked by 1 person

    • One of the key “selling points” to keeping dandelions is that they are excellent pollinators and attract bees. I just don’t think that’s enough to outweigh the negatives (though the dandelion honey does sound pretty appealing).

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  4. Looks FAAAAAAAAABULOUS, Mark! And the way you did it, it looks like a nature setting. I love the pieces of drift wood.

    I also love the tin with the plants inside on the stoop/porch. It’s so cute!

    Your entire garden looks magical!

    Isn’t it something about dandelions and how they just keep multiplying and reincarnating?

    I have to tell you though, I like them. We have them all over the place in our city parks. In fact, today while walking through one of our parks, the whole place was covered in them.

    Have a superb weekend, my friend!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Here’s the deal: I like them in parks. Don’t even care too much if they’re in other people’s yards (as long as the seeds can’t drift into mine). I just don’t want them in MY backyard!

      Enjoy your weekend, too. How’s the weather looking for Philly?

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  5. I like all your improvements to your yard. The little pots and whatever filled with seeds and starts are delightful. I like to fiddle around with things garden-y like that, too. As for dandelions, I didn’t know about the root beer connection. Not sure when I last had a root beer, not sure I’ll have one again.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Dandelions are great for pollinators, and pollinators are having rough go of it right now.

    Your backyard looks nice! You just need a swing or a hammock or something.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. For some reason, the collage of pictures fourth down is covering the text for me. I love your landscape work. It’s very satisfying, isn’t it?

    Would you believe another blogger enlightened me recently on all things dandelion? However, not on all those names! Lol, cankerwort is quite an apt description. I have no desire to consume something that everyone else in the neighborhood has sprayed with Roundup. Doesn’t sound safe, considering it being a blowball and all. I use a handheld pick to dig them out. I’m about 50% successful.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Must be some weird WP formatting issue for Blogger readers. I’ve experienced that on occasion myself.

      I think my success rate yanking out the dandelions is about 50 percent, too. It really bugs me when I come back to the same hole three days in a row. Tenacious little buggers, that’s for sure!

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  8. Yard is looking beautiful. With you on the dandelions. A guy told a story about having to pull the dandelions from his yard but also go to Whole Foods for his wife who wanted him to buy… dandelions.

    Liked by 1 person

  9. The yard’s looking good. I remember the first year in my house. The prior owner had an attitude like your neighbor, and by the time I’d finished digging out the weeds the place looked like an aerial view of a carpet bombing.

    For what it’s worth, I have a dandelion post in the queue, from a completely different angle…

    Liked by 1 person

  10. I love what you did with the rock garden area next to the stoop!!!!

    And I may have voted three times to make sure letting the dandylions live stays ahead in the polls.

    Liked by 1 person

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  13. Your addition to the homefront is splendid! It’s beautiful and I like it very much! Also your backyard space — lovely!
    I love dandelions and let them live. I also eat the leaves in salad and while I do drink root beer, I buy that from A&W 😉 Also, dandelions are the first plants of the season and therefore, the first food for bees AND ladybugs lay their eggs in them.
    It’s your yard, and it should look as YOU want it to, I’m just glad you’re doing it the old fashioned way and not poisoning the earth.

    Liked by 1 person

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