Watercolour in Moleskine 200gsm Watercolour Nature Journal
“It gives one a sudden start in going down a barren, stony street, to see upon a narrow strip of grass, just within the iron fence, the radiant dandelion, shining in the grass, like a spark dropped from the sun.”
Henry Ward Beecher
My lawn (and the fields surrounding our house – Tarlton, South Africa) is absolutely covered in Dandelions! In one spot it looks like a yellow carpet – wonder what the soil configuration is that makes them so rife in certain spots? I have always picked dandelions for a small vase I have, but it is only upon very close inspection when I was sketching them that I realised what true little beauties these small flowers are, each a masterpiece aster in miniature. Can you believe that Dandelions are from the Aster family?!
Did you know that Dandelions can be beneficial to a garden ecosystem as well as to human health? Dandelions attract beneficial ladybugs and provide early spring pollen for their food. In a study done at the University of Wisconsin, experimental plots with dandelions had more ladybugs than dandelion free plots, and fewer pest aphids, a favourite food of the ladybugs. Dandelions long roots also aerate the soil and enable the plant to accumulate minerals, which are added to the soil when the plant dies.
Not only are dandelions good for your soil, they are good for your health. According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, a serving of uncooked dandelion leaves contains 280 percent of an adult’s daily requirement of beta carotene as well as more than half the requirement of vitamin C. Dandelions are also rich in vitamin A, Dandelions are also used as herbal remedies. The white sap from the stem and root is used as a topical remedy for warts. The whole plant is used as a diuretic and liver stimulant, and the fresh juice of Dandelion can be applied externally to fight bacteria and help heal wounds. A friend of mine even makes Dandelion wine!
Dandelion seeds are carried away by the wind and travel like tiny parachutes.