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Move Aside Daffodil
by Dan Clost
by Dan Clost


First serious garden earned 25 cents from the Kemptville Horticultural Society when I was 12. Have been poor in horticulture ever since but rich in spirit.

Went to work writing the Good Earth column (over 500 articles published in newspaper, magazine, website and journal.) and learned that what was printed wasn't what I wanted to say and certainly not what Gentle Reader understood me to say. Subsequently have developed a certain clarity and economy of words.

Day job- nursery and production manager for a large nursery/garden centre
Side job- Garden restoration and renovations, design consultations, remedial pruning.
Night job- garden writer and communicator (overnight success in another 20 years)

Dan gardens in Canadian Zone 5b

May 11, 2014

Move over daffodils, there is a harbinger of spring making a name for itself all across Ontario. There is much to recommend this remarkably easy to grow introduction. It's true you did not see its name posted at the professional landscaper gardener's Congress. You did not hear it's name spoken in glowing terms by the gardening gurus at Blooms. It has been left on my plate to present to you, and I am overwhelmed by the responsibility. It gives me the greatest pleasure, perhaps a crowning moment of my garden writing career, to tell you about this wonderful spring flower. It will thrive in cultural conditions that challenge the toughest of weeds. A selfless self-seeder, it allows its children to waft away on eider-down umbrellas to settle down in new climes. With the exception of the ox-eye daisy, no other plant has so often been presented to moms, usually held in the chubby-fisted hands of a five year old child. Set in a glass by the kitchen sink for surreptitious replacement the next morning before breakfast, so the young giftee can give them again. It's glowing flower, held under the chin of a possible suitor, accurately determines fealty.

With it's deeply serrated leaves it has been given the sobriquet of Dente de Lion, The Teeth Of the Lion. How noble is that Gentle Reader? Mind you, us Anglophones have altered the pronunciation just a bit. From the days when Le Fleuve Rideau was pronounced the River Rye-doo, we christened this cheerful chappie the "dandy" lion, aka dandelion.

You scoff at this GR? Are you not aware of its effect over the years to the religious and artistic communities? Let me quote you a few examples:

Consider the dandelions of the field, how they grow; they neither toil nor spin, yet I tell you, even Solomon in all his glory was arrayed like one of these. (A considered adaptation of Matt. 6:28-29).

....When all at once I saw a crowd,

A host, of golden dandelions;....

Ten thousand saw I at a glance...

And then my heart with pleasure fills,

And dances with the dandelions.

(A less considered adaptation of "I Wandered Lonely As A Cloud", William Wordsworth.

My luv is like a buidhe, buidhe dandelion that is newly sprung in June- (no citation needed here, everyone should know of this one.).

Floating thistledown

Urged by vagary

Tickles grass blades. (hort Haiku by moi)

Do ye ken what is happening here Gentle Reader? I am ushering in the new paradigm of horticultural acceptance.

This past Mother's Day, my wife and I went out for our traditional Sunday drive and found ourselves in Napanee. Let me state unequivocally, that everything I'm about to ascribe to that fair town has also been seen everywhere else I've gone. I just noticed it there first.

Some of the care-takers of this Good Earth have yet to wrap their minds around this new paradigm let alone accept the necessity of legal commandment. We saw quite a few verdant swards with nary a drop of sunshine dotting their emerald carpet. We reckon this was because of clumsy folk who, whilst removing the proscribed products to a regulated disposal facility, accidentally spilled the contents all across the yard. All attempts to rake it up were in vain.

Seriously, if you don't like dandelions, this year will be a trying time for you. By next year, all will be sorted out (mainly your acceptance of a less than mono mono-cultured front lawn. Get out there with your hoe and nick off those cheery yellow flowers at ground level. Winkle them out. Keep doing it. Eventually you'll get them and their progeny and their progeny's progeny.

One more snippet of a poem for you GR, just to introduce the next lawn perennial. From Calling Card by Lisa Shields:

Just a day or two

from pussywillow down,

crocus crouched

with johnny jump up impatience.

Welcome to the new paradigm.

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