Why We Garden, Reason #12 (and a half)

Dandelion

If you've ever owned a cat (is 'owned' even the right word here?) you're probably familiar with what happens when two cats meet each other for the first time. Distrust is a mild word. At best, the result is much like glancing in a mirror and seeing that your reflection has unexpectedly gained an extra head. To a cat, another cat is just a hideous distortion of their own perfection.

A similar relationship exists between East Coast and West Coast hipsters.

Sure, we're both keen on designer chickens, homebrewed sarsaparilla, lumberjack beards, and the plight of the honeybee, but somehow the guys on the other coast just, I don't know . . . do it wrong. It's not their fault, really, and I guess it's only fair if they think the same about us.

So I confess I was a bit surprised when I stumbled across a great article about the virtues of the dandelion, written by Saara Nafici of the Brooklyn Botanic Garden. Brooklyn? you say. I know, right? When I think of Brooklyn, I think concrete jungle, not meadows of wildflowers (It's okay, Seattle, our designer chickens are still designery-er than theirs).

It turns out we at Swanson's aren't the only ones who adore the ever-so-perfectly evolved dandelion. You can see what the Brooklyn Botanic Garden has to say about the ubiquitous super-weed in their Weed of the Month feature.

And while you're there, check out the great work BBG is doing in the community to promote gardening and get city kids in touch with nature. You can also learn about how to use the stems of Purple Deadnettle to attract fairies to your garden.

Yeah, their sarsaparilla tastes a little funny and their beards are a bit off, but those Brooklyn hipsters are alright.

Oh, and about the honeybees: as Ms. Nafici touches on in her article, dandelions are one of the earliest flowers of Spring, making them a good food source for bees after a long, hungry winter.

So put the lawnmower away and enjoy the sensations of Spring: the smell of your lush, overgrown lawn kissed by the Sun's light, the drone of bees collecting nectar in the year's first crop of dandelions, the antics of the fairies, the triumphant clucking of your prize-winning Yokohama chickens . . .. No matter what coast you're from, the garden life is good.