Even though you wouldn’t know it from the weather, Spring is upon us. So, I thought this was a good time to remind everyone about the importance of dandelions. Yes, dandelions! For some reason, they have gotten a bad rap over the years, but are few plants which are so useful to all of us. First of all, dandelions are one of the first flowers that bloom every Spring, giving bees a chance to get some much needed nourishment. Did you know that 25% of our food supply is dependent upon bee pollination? When planning your garden, look for the following flowers: aster, Black-eyed Susan, blazing star, calstrop, creosote bush, currant, elder flower, goldenrod, huckleberry, joe pye weed, lupine, Oregon grape, penstemon, purple coneflower, rabbit bush, rhododendron, scorpion weed, snowberry, stonecrop, sunflower, wild buckwheat, wild lilac, willow and woodland sage. Steer clear of the big box stores and get your plants and seeds at a bona fide garden center which sells untreated goods.
Avoid using the following chemicals: acetamiprid, dinotefuran, imidacloprid, thiamethoxam. They are harmful to our little winged friends. The list of products containing these ingredients can be found on http://www.beeaction.org.
Regarding your lawns, save yourself a lot of time, money and work. An all-green lawn has no benefit for anyone or anything. We’ve let our lawn go natural and we share our enjoyment with the bees and the birds. It’s not an overgrown weed plot, we mow it and tend to it, it’s just that my husband has graciously allowed clover and dandelion to mix with the grass. And guess what? The bees and butterflies like them just fine . Maybe we need to adjust our idea of beauty. As they say, “Beauty is in the eye of the beholder.” Dandelions can serve many uses: you can eat the greens, raw or cooked like spinach, you can make dandelion wine and the tap root helps loosen the soil.
Prolonged pesticide use can have disastrous effects on bee population, resulting in depleted crop yields. In China, heavy pesticide use has killed off so many bees that many farmers have resorted to hand population, using feather-tipped sticks to pollinate each and every blossom. That sounds like an a recipe for an arm cramp. I have written about this before, but I think that this is an appropriate time for a reminder.
Bees have worked as volunteer pollinators for thousands of years. They will continue to do so as long as we work with them, not against them.
Till the next time.
“I have a huge belief in the importance of bees, not just for their honey, which is a healing and delicious food, but the necessity of bee colonies that are vital to the health of the planet.” Trudie Styler