Founder's Wall
Ode to a Dandelion

Introduced: May 02 2012

Dandelions have special meaning for me. Not because  when I was a little girl, I sometimes picked them and gave a bouquet to my mother as all little kids do – which I did, because they were plentiful and accessible. (And free, of course) Not because, when they reached that wispy stage in their life cycle, we all liked making a wish, giving a big puff, and watching them float off to make hundreds of other dandelions. What made dandelions special to me... was that I once wrote a poem called “Ode to a Dandelion” in honor of one of my best friend’s weddings and gave it to her. That is not so spectacular. But what was spectacular is that she actually framed it and hung it on her wall! THAT’S friendship!

Dandelions used to be found almost anywhere there was grass. Have you noticed they’re not there much anymore? They’re not in most parks…nor in parkways along roads. Those landscape crews are busy.

Somewhere along the way, there was a major populist, but unspoken, movement to remove yellow flowers from our lawns. So we tried several approaches.

First, we tried to mow them down. But they kept popping back up.

Then we tried to put concrete everywhere there used to be grass. That’s effective. But some people still want lawns, so the problem persisted.

Then we turned to what always works in the end…chemicals. Scientists have not been able to cure cancer. We’re still not able to quite conquer mosquitoes. But we have succeeded in dominating dandelions. (Get some of those dandelion scientists working on cancer!)

I’m not saying they should be in YOUR lawn. (Nor MINE) But they should be somewhere!

This story has a happy ending. First, I found a haven for dandelions in Libertyville, Illinois. (A town so named because dandelions live there in liberty?) (See photo)

And second, because dandelions may be making a comeback. Not as landscape elements -- but as FOOD!

Read this "Dandelion greens are sold at the farmer's markets now. With a change in our perception of the perfect lawn, someday people might be able to collect the greens from their own lawns to throw on a salad." Read more: