Sunday, May 07, 2006


High Spring I: May or Dismay

A disproportionate density of dandelions


We are exactly halfway through Spring (-ish), and the season is in full swing around here. I had to question yesterday whether B was in true Spring spirit when she insisted that I mow the lawn. She was a bit embarrassed that our lawn seemed to have a disproportionate density of dandelions compared to our neighbors lawns.

To be sure, you could look at our front yard as a lawn full of weeds. Or, you could view it as a field of wildflowers. A n untamed garden of dandelions and wild violets.

Front yard before the dandelion massacre.

Why are dandelions "weeds"? When you press the point, the answer inevitably includes the fact that they grow and spread uncontrollably. But isn't that simply punishing them for their own evolutionary success? And couldn't you make the same point about... well, people?

"Weediness" is so culturally determined and relativistic. Dandelions have a beautiful flower and their greens are good eating. What's weedy about that? They even have a second round of beauty when they go to seed and form their wispy white crown's like a grandma's hair. Okay, so maybe they're ugly at their other phases, but any flowering plant has ugly phases. And what' "ugly," really? It's nothing that a little attitude adjustment couldn't take care of.

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I suppose these wild violets are also, in some technical sense, "weeds."

Naturally, I yielded to the inexorable pressure to mow down our dandelions. They're now a bunch of scraggly weed with their tops lopped off.

To pay tribute to these late dandelions, I show you some particularly fetching individuals before they were cut short by the mower.

Above: Scott, with Kevin in the background.

Below: Kimberly.


Below left: Roy. Right: Whiskers.

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Poor little Scott, Kevin, Kimberly, and Whiskers. (I wonder if Whiskers is, I mean was, their pet?)

Poor Oscar for having to do manual labor on a beautiful Sunday.

My WV from one of Marginal Utility's posts last week (linked for you to read the post and comment section. Funny, or so I think.):

lgbtihlv: Lesbian, Gay, Bi, Trans Institute Headquarters, Las Vegas
I can't believe you named them before you murdered them. That's cold.

I hope your neighbors sawy you out there photographing the weeds.
I assume Whiskers lover, Violet (shown clinging to him in the photo) was also a victim of Oscar the Lawmnower Man? That is so, so sad.

And how did you get such extreme closeups? Please teach your sister how to do that with her camera. Pleeeease?
jysqv - joys of quivering.
You captured the light and colors perfectly. I'm sneezing and running from the bees just looking at them.
whiskers looks like he was dating someone, a sweet purply little thing. did you euthanize her too?

Yo Oscar,

Are you doin' "the drugs?"
It's so cute that you named the flowers :)

We use to call those little violets "friendship flowers", and we would pick them and give them to each other.
Ack! Mind meld! I was also out photographing my dandelions today. Though I did not mow them afterwards -- you murderer, you! -- nor have I had time to actually write up the post that goes with the dandelions. And my pictures don't have anything like your mad photographic skillz to recommend them.

But I did feel pretty stupid when the neighbors saw me photographing the weeds. If that would answer Moral Turpitude's question.
Those are the loveliest photos of weeds, er, wild lawn flowers, I've ever seen. You've got me wanting to plant wild violets in our front beds. (Can wild violet plants even be purchased?)
There is something about American soil that makes weeds so domineering and aggressive (yeah...). Ed who has been traveling with me these past two weeks outside the US commented that the weeds are so pretty in the villages and towns we hike through and there is a better balance. Dandelions are not themselves awful, but they disturb the balance by permitting quack grass to enter in and then it's just doomsday for lawns. Frankly I think we should all just eliminate lawns. They are the source of all garden evil.
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