The Dandelion Dilemma

In my mind dandelions have pretty yellow flowers.  They’re deer resistant.  Long blooming. Survive drought & famine.  They’re tasty as salad greens.  And even make wine.

To C, that’s just not enough.

C carries a big grudge against dandelions.  He harbors dark thoughts & plots their demise.   He’s carried bucket loads away from the lawn after battle.  But still he lives in fear that the common dandelion will win the war.

This fall I initiated a new plan.

After having some success during wet seasons past, I decided to have another go at digging the dandelions out – and this time replacing them with crocus.

spring crocus
photo by SVSeekins

Fall is the proper time to plant bulbs. Considering I’ve dug the hole to get the dandelion out, I might as well take advantage of the effort, right?

My good friend AT planted the idea in my mind years ago.  When she was very young, her dad had employed the same reasoning in his yard: replace dandelions with crocus.  I’ve never seen that lawn, but in my imagination it is wonderful.

The crocus of choice promises to grow no higher than 4 inches tall.  They bloom in mid February.  Even if they’re still blooming when C brings out the lawnmower, they should be safely below the blade.  Cross my fingers.

After some rain in the fall, most plants can be dug out quite easily.  The soil is moist, and therefore softer, and easier to dig.   Dandelions however, have multiple, deep, sometimes cork-screwing roots.  If any section of root remains in the ground, it’ll happily renew itself.

planting crocus in lawn
photo by SVSeekins

For this project I chose the dandelion patch just outside the fence-line.  It was especially resplendent in dandelion.  It’s also a high visibility area that C is the most embarrassed about.  I gave special attention to get as much root as possible.

Working an hour or two at a time, I slowly made progress.  There was so much digging that the lawn looked pretty rough for the first while.

Well over 400 crocus bulbs were planted.

I’m hoping that by spring there will be a colorful blooming meadow.

So much of gardening doesn’t seem to be about having a green thumb.  Having a strong back is certainly a plus.  So is crossing fingers.   Wish me luck.   🙂

-30-
© SVSeekins and Garden Variety Life, 2012

PS – here’s the follow up post a year or so later:

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9 thoughts on “The Dandelion Dilemma”

    1. Jack kept me company on this project.
      Here’s Iris’ comment:
      I love the dandelion blog idea – you’ll have to post pics when the crocuses (croci?) bloom. I think a sign stating “here once lay a dandelion paradise” would be appropriate! It’s like each new flower is in memory of what once was… My yard suffers from this same plague and I have filled about 30 brown paper grocery bags full and taken them to the municipal yard waste site. I find digging them up quite satisfying and therapeutic, but frustrating when a piece of root breaks off and hides itself (almost like worms, digging deeper to avoid discovery!).
      One of my clients gave me a recipe for homemade “RoundUp”. My neighbour found the same recipe in the waiting room at her GP’s office, and it said to use with caution because it will kill everything it touches. I wonder if a few drops down the hole of a removed dandelion would be safe for the surrounding grass? But it means no crocus bulbs could go in there… Here’s the recipe in case you want it sometime:
      1 liter white vinegar
      1/4 cup table salt
      2 teaspoons liquid soap
      I may try it on my gravel driveway, where dandelions seem to thrive in spite of the hard packed dirt.
      Keep up the great work!!!
      Iris

  1. My attempt was not too successful. I think the soil is so bad that the bulbs just didn’t do much. I planted what seemed like dozens but I only get a couple spout up and they look pretty miserable. Each year they have got worse and worse. I also think that part of the lawn does not get any sun in the summer, what little bit we do get so they are nearly starved out each year. I had hoped they would spread but that didn’t happen. Again, I am blaming lack of sun and lousy soil!

  2. Why get rid of the dandelions? REALLY look at their name! Use your imaginations! Plant good dandelions and reap the benefits. Lots of bees buzzing to take care of pollination the rest of your garden,plant them close together and the beautiful yellow carpet will cheer you up,enhance your salad green(little new leaves before the flower are best),stir your imagination with delicious wine,eliminate any weeding there as they choke out competition,and put a pretty spot of colour on your table. Pretty efficient plant and butterflies and hummingbirds will thank you!~~c.c.

    1. So true. For me, it’s really about trying to get that little twitch on C’s cheek to relax… C is all about lawns – likes green – seems OK with some of those tiny white daisy flowers in it, but goes into convulsions over the dandelions. C does seem to be enjoying the tiny crocus that have been blooming for the past few weeks now. Big relief. Maybe it’s because those flowers don’t spread to the neighboring lawns quite like the white fluff…… The lawn mover is still in the basement 🙂

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