Nobody plants dandelions (with one rare exception, which we’ll discuss later). Instead, these “weeds” arrive unbidden, without so much as a by your leave. That infuriates many homeowners, especially those who love tidy, perfectly green lawns. And so hands-on types attack dandelions with special diggers, while the bulk of the dandelion haters apply chemicals. Either way, the dandelion gets a bad go of it.
That one exception mentioned above? Well that was me, of course. I love dandelions, both to eat and to look at. Many years ago, when my woodland yard had no dandelions, I took things into my own hands and gathered a bunch of ripe seedheads. Then I ran around waving them about, so that the parachute seeds floated on the breeze, in effect seeding my place with dandelions. Now I needn’t travel to dig my spring greens, and I have the pretty blossoms to look at, right here at home.
Mushrooms, another beneficial invader of the well-manicured lawn, are next on the hit list. One of my favorite gardening magazines just ran a piece about how to eradicate fairy ring mushrooms. Again, I puzzle over this. Why would anyone want to get rid of perfectly fine, edible mushrooms? What’s more, fairy rings last a long time, giving a new and expanded flush each year.
I often pick mushrooms in other places and let them rot on my lawn, in an attempt to establish spores. I don’t yet have fairy ring mushrooms, but I keep hoping. I have introduced many more “weeds” to my place, plants that everyone else appears to loathe. You could say I have a weird lawn, given the amount of weeds and other unpopular herbs that I have gone to lengths to establish. But for me, that’s the soul of enjoying nature. The more the merrier.
Although I don’t really expect anyone to follow my example, one thing is for sure. That is, it’s easier to cooperate with nature rather than to try and fight her. Nobody, no matter how fastidious, dedicated or diligent, will ever totally keep the “weeds” at bay.
An avid writer and naturalist, Tom writes four regular columns and a multitude of features. He wrote a long running award winning column "Waldo County Outdoors" and a garden column for Courier Publications