And should we listen to them?
Spring means lots of time outdoors walking to school/kindergarten along rapidly growing pathways, verges…..well, rapidly growing everywhere actually!
William especially likes picking flowers, leaves and other interesting looking objects to be found along the hedgerows. As he brandished yet another bunch of bright yellow dandelions in my face for me to take, I got to thinking about when does this bright little flower that so delights him, become a ‘weed’?
At the moment he is completely unaware that this fascinating little flower is actually despised by most people as a nuisance….who will be the first to tell him I wonder?
Especially when you think that there is no logical reason for it. The dandelion is obviously incredibly well designed and needs no help from us to propagate itself. It produces a fairly pretty and bright flower and a fun seed ball.
Whats more, herbalists consider it to have lots of culinary and medicinal uses too, being rich in vitamins A, B complex, C, and D, along with minerals such as iron, potassium, and zinc. You can even add its leaves to salads, sandwiches, and even teas. (according to the Dandelion Page on Wikipedia).
If you, like me want to learn more about ‘weeds’ such as the dandelion, try Christopher Nyerges book, the Guide to Wild Flowers and useful Plants, you might get a few surprises about some of our common plants (note I don’t want to call them weeds anymore!). I also have the little Collins Gem book about Food for Free by Richard Mabey; which lives in my day pack so that I can appear knowledgeable about the woods to the kids on our walks!
On reflection I think that maybe we are too quick to listen to others opinion on what is beautiful and what is not. Following the herd is an instinct I guess but I am willing to believe that very possibly, everything is beautiful or useful in some way, if you take the time to look for it.
Especially when you consider that weeds are not a class or type of plant but merely a plant growing where it is not wanted. In New Zealand then, climbing Roses were our ‘weeds’, as I certainly couldn’t get on top of them!