Gardening Magazine

They Have Enough Nerve

By Ozhene @papaver
I'm afraid there's no denyin'
I'm just a dandylion
(The Wizard of Oz 1939)

They have enough nerveMy garden is currently in the grip of its annual dandelion invasion.  Every year about this time I look out across the garden and I wonder if I do actually own the national collection of dandelions, I certainly feel like I am cornering the market on them.
They have enough nerveI feel a touch of guilt when I am cursing the dandelions as unwanted, as I see them scattered amongst the daisies I wonder why the daisies are welcome, nay encourage to spread at will, yet the dandelion I do not feel so happy with.  I am aware this is at best double standards.
They have enough nerveI see them mixed in with these Spanish bluebells, a plant I also discourage, yet it is the dandelion that annoys me more.  I do dig up lots of Spanish bluebells as I work to the theory that there are plenty more where they came from.  I would say the difference is that no matter what I do there are always plenty of dandelions, so you might think it was this abundance that makes me dislike them; but I grow Nigella and teasels and they seed everywhere too yet I do not get so grumpy with them.
They have enough nerveDandelions dot throughout the Wild Garden, along with the nettles and the thistles and here I get less worried, it is in the main garden that I realize I do not want them.  At the same time I realize that if I did not let them grow in the Wild Garden I would have fewer in the main garden, choices choices.  It is, yet again, a case of a rod for my own back.
They have enough nerveI mow them when they are in the lawns, I hope that this helps keep them somewhat in control.  I also pull their flowers off as I pass by, its sort of cruelly satisfying.  I also know, there will be plenty more where they came from, I am just trying to limit the amount of seed heads.  For they have great nerve and confidence, they stride confidently around the garden looking like the own the place.  I am fairly sure that the collective noun for dandelions is a confidence of dandelions.
They have enough nerveYet they have great beauty, the shine in the sun and wildlife loves them.  I feel almost even more guilty as I write this.  Except they are rampant, they seed everywhere, everywhere!  Just when you think you have finished weeding you see one, popping its head out from the center of clump of plants, they wedge themselves into the side of plants so they are hard to dig out without damaging the host plant.  They are, in fact, the champion weed-player of hide and seek and yes, I do hold this against them.
They have enough nerveIn reality the dandelion has even quite a cool name, Taraxacum officinale, a word with an x in it is usually quite cool.  The dandelion has well known diuretic properties, it is commonly known as 'wet the bed'.  It is a prolific spreader, no matter how beautiful the seedheads are, every seed, yes every seed that hits the grown will become another plant, I am sure this must be true.  It doesn't even need fertilising, no, the devil will produce seed asexually, that is how wicked it is.
The name 'dandelion' derives from the french 'dente de lion', lion's tooth from the shape of its leaves.  The root of the dandelion can also be roasted to create coffee.   I have tried dandelion coffee, it was not the best thing I have ever tried.
They have enough nerveSo we can admire the dandelion's beauty, but be also aware of its invasive nature.  It is definite that if you give it an inch it will take over your garden, it will ruin your lawn whether you want it to or not and even if, like me, you are not really bothered about a perfect lawn, it will still be a sufficient nuisance for the occasional curse.
They have enough nerveand don't forget, just when you think you have weeded every last one of them out of your border one will suddenly appear, its like the villain in every good horror film just when you thought it was all over, it rarely is as there are legions of sequels to come.

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