So, let me see . . . about two weeks ago I penned a gem of a Don’t Rush Me column (if I do say so, myself, and I do) about dandelions. I shared my feelings on my lack of enthusiasm and or determination in mowing the dandelions in my yard. (Okay, maybe I was being lazy.)
The column was headlined, “Hey! Back off! My dandelions have a purpose!” It was an innocuous column. Admittedly, maybe even a lackadaisically written column. However, it goes to show you never know what will tickle the fancy of readers. Two e-mailed me — so, without further eloquence, here are their comments.
You got my attention on dandelions, Don. We do not adulterate our lawn. In fact, we welcome dandelions at our home. Good in salads, better in wine. (I don’t have my grandmother’s recipe – would you share?)
Dandelions were intentionally brought to the New World in the 1600’s. Dandelions were the first greens to pop up after the snow melted, making them an ideal solution to scurvy, lack of fresh vegetables and Vitamin D deficiency
Poultices made of dandelions can be used against respiratory problems, and that is still true today!
Dandelion wine has many benefits. My grandmother said it has many health benefits, which science shows is true today. Dandelions contains iron, calcium, magnesium, and potassium. Google shows it contains antioxidants, fights inflammation, reduces inflammation, can reduce high blood pressure and high cholesterol.
Not an invasive weed, dandelions are an important and nutrient-rich early season produce – and it’s FREE. What’s in your backyard? — Sherry R.
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Ok Don, you’ve got me going on your last column about honey bees and dandelions. First, Thank you for your environmentally responsible column! Did you know that it’s our little-known native pollinators that do the ‘lions’ share of pollinating in North America? Yes, the bumble bees, moths, butterflies and all the quiet little insects that pollinate our plants are under stress due to poison yard sprays, pollution and lack of habitat among others.
Take a peak at this ‘dandy’ article from a state that recognizes this dilemma:
Minnesota lawmakers have green-lighted a new program to pay homeowners in the state to transform their lawns into bee gardens in efforts to counter the declining bee population.
According the Star Tribune, the program was included in part of a spending plan that was recently passed by the state Legislature and now heads to Gov. Tim Walz (D) for his signature.
Under the proposed plan, the state would reportedly allocate $900,000 annually to support homeowners interested in making their lawns more attractive to bees, specifically the rusty patched bumble bee, which is indigenous to North America and is labeled an endangered species under the Endangered Species Act.
As part of the effort, homeowners who wish to participate in the program would have bee-friendly plants like wildflowers, clover grasses and other plants native to their local regions planted in their yards.
The program would cover up to 75 percent of expenses for homeowners to transform their lawns. According to the newspaper, those who live in the areas that have been identified as “high potential” for the rusty patched bumble bee could see up to 90 percent of their costs covered.
State Rep. Kelly Morrison (D), who introduced the measure, told the paper that she has “gotten a ton of e-mails and so much feedback from people who are interested” in the program.
“People are really thinking about how they can help,” she added.
I read that because of the disappearance of so many bumblebees, that forward-thinking countries of the world have actually imported them from the U.S., and now breed them and sell them back to us to release in our orchards. Not sure if a tariff is being imposed on them or not though.
As for the dandelions, its not just the pollinators who need them. I watch birds eat the dandelion seeds fresh off the plants, too. The leaves of dandelions are hard to find in our open yard after the spring rush, which I blame the bunnies for when I cannot find adequate dandelion greens to toss to the chickens. So : Yes to dandelions! — Angie
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Thank you, Sherry and Angie. I love learning new stuff. As for the wine recipe, Sherry, my son and I just hopped on the old internet and found one we liked. Again, thanks for reading and writing.