Thank you, City of Toronto, for banning pesticides and enabling joyful seas of yellow to dot summer lawns and fields. Let dandelions join racoons as unofficial mascots.

Perhaps I love dandelions because they’re the only flowers I was allowed to pick as a young child. But this only got me started. For me, a winter wuss, dandelions herald summer. I love everything about their aesthetic: the green leaves and buds, the fresh scent, the yellow heads, and the wispy seed crowns when they go grey.

We walk on them and dogs pee on them, yet dandelions endure and thrive. Some audaciously poke through cracks between cement sidewalk slabs. I applaud such tenacity and how they can disrupt the social decorum of an otherwise well-groomed lawn. As much as they evoke my admiration, I know they attract ire from some who tend said lawns. Get over it. We’re all better off without pesticides.

I love dandelions so much that I cultivate them. I take them in to sing spring songs in the thick of winter. January and February snows may pile high outside my window, but green buds swell inside, bursting to gold.

Given how they romp wild outdoors, you’d never suspect they are such finicky house guests. They behave as the fussiest of houseplants. I invite you to take the dandelion cultivation challenge. If you do, here’s what you need to know.

Nurture them in a tall pot with good drainage to accommodate the tap root. The cutting will first wilt after being potted (or re-potted) but soon rallies. Dandelions drink a lot; they wilt when thirsty. Fertilize the soil when new buds form as you would any flowering plant. Roots protruding through the hole(s) in the bottom of the pot indicate that a taller container is needed.

Taraxacum officinale

Golden globes / sporting on

her windowsill / in the chill

of winter / improvise

in the key / of February

[From some conditions apply, Inanna Publications, 26 May 2020]

I adore these buoyant, hardy blooms. Embracing my inner dandelion, I aspire to be tough, tender, supple, resilient. And prolific.

Dandelions? Yes!

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