A short while ago, I changed the background on this page to reflect something a bit more cheery and spring-like. And i chose this background of Dandelions, which makes me happy every time i see it. But I am informed it is not to everyone's taste...
An anonymous woman wrote me that there was a mistake on my website. She flatly stated that "dandelions are not flowers - they are weeds." Well. My initial impulse was to fire back a terse reply along the lines of, "Oh yeah? Some of us think differently so suck it up, bitch," but fortunately manners kicked in and I restrained myself. But it did make me think.
First of all let's get it clear that according to my Oxford Unabridged Dictionary, Dandelions meet all necessary botanical requirements to qualify them as flowers. So there. And naturally later on in that same volume, weeds are described as "unwanted plants". But who, I wonder, could really not want a Dandelion...?
Perhaps it's an odd choice but Dandelions have long been my favorite flower. This puzzles many people but then they might forget that I have always had rather unusual opinions as to what constitutes "beauty". It is clearly inferred that perfumers should prefer something a bit more predictable along those lines - the rose, the lily or at least something exotic like an orchid. I think these flowers are perfectly lovely and I am very fond of them and many others besides, but when it comes to favorites I still choose the Dandelion.
I love them because they are beautiful. Their fierce yellow is so cheery and unashamed sprinkled across a green lawn. This simple beauty always gladdens my heart. Incidentally, some of my favorite works of are are those created by Andy Goldsworthy and are made entirely from Dandelions...
I love them because they are innocent. Dandelions can be such fun. Picking them in mason jars, popping off their heads to see who can go the farthest, getting the fingers sticky while making crowns and chains and of course later on when they've gone to seed, there is the small thrill of telling time on a "dandelion clock". These are such brilliant childhood pleasures.
I love them because they are fearless. Dandelions will grow anywhere and will go where they please. Although I prefer to see them in the country, I am delighted to meet them unexpectedly in the middle of my industrial neighborhood here in New York. I find something inspiring in the courage of a single yellow adventurous head sprouting from the cracked concrete.
I love them because they are resilient. Dandelions survive the harshest conditions. Beat them, burn them, poison them, rip them out by the roots - these flowers will return. To war on Dandelions is futile. Defeat will never bow their fuzzy heads.
And i love them because they are simple and humble. Dandelions are the most unassuming of flowers and perhaps I love them best because their beauty so often sneered at or overlooked.
All of these are highly admirable qualities in anything don't you think?
Frankly I also love Dandelions because they are delicious. It is the custom every spring in my part of the world to go out into the fields and cull their young leaves. These are then cooked up in a delicious sauce served over boiled potatoes and ham. I have had dandelion salads and even dandelion fritters made later on in the season with the flowers. Also delicious.
Naturally everyone is entitled to their own opinions and welcome to go to hell their own way - including that rather rude anonymous woman with her "weeds". Still I find it somewhat sad that there are so many who cannot appreciate the simple unassuming beauty that is often found right under the nose. But that's the way life goes. There will always be those who insist on seeing "weeds" instead of "flowers". Well these sad people are not my concern. I am only interested in those who will take the chance to see life the other way around.
So whatever others claim, I will still think of Dandelions as one of the most beautiful of flowers and I will continue to strive to be more like them.