The lions of Dande

They are constantly at it. Even if you cut their heads off, they refuse to die. Their brilliant yellow manes wither and wilt but transform into a zillion seeds waiting for an unsuspecting heel to crush them into the dirt. Or they wait for a breeze to lift their silvering mane into disrupting the dessicated remains, airborne, to land in scattered bundles of reproductive generations.

I uprooted about fifty of these entrenched, persistent roots yesterday; loosened the earth, gathered its green skirt and headdress, wriggled the embedded legs of it from the softened soil and gently but firmly pulled. About ten of them came out more or less whole and were relegated to their yard waste grave, a clear plastic bag with yellow tie. The remaining forty managed to snap somewhere an inch below the surface. It is so hardy that this determined fragment of root, this tiny keeper of DNA and the juice of its life, will regenerate, continue to grow and reproduce once more, triumphant against the hand of man or woman.

In this day and age of “Save the….” mentality, chemical warfare is no longer permitted; eco-diversity frowns on changing the biodiversity of any earth location. Natural methods are all that are allowed. Acetic acid drops might kill a worm or a nematode and upset the balance. And so I dig, and wrench. I cut off their heads to defer their uprooting to another day, buying time while preventing these aggressively successful plants, these insidious invaders of my garden from spreading even more seeds.

Last week, I did only that. I plucked every yellow head, every budding head, every seeding head, every leaf I could easily yank so that the darned things, even if I hadn’t eradicated the weed, had at least set it back in its reproductive cycle so that I could regroup, re arm and re attack on a more level playing lawn. I gathered an entire garden waste bag! It’s twice the size of a normal garbage bag! I suspect the lions of Dande will divert my dreams of gardening into a nightmare of unplanting.

Two days later, the cheeky muggers are brandishing their gold pennants with lions rampant in the field, laughing in the springtime wind. Ha ha! Ha ha! We’re winning!

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4 Responses to “The lions of Dande”

  1. biggroovyworld Says:

    This is how life should be spent, taking the time to engage with nature and to appreciate it in all its detail. And then, like yourself, taking time to chronicle the experience so that you can share it with others. Thank you for this (and also for the wonderful and much appreciated comment you left on the sites I put together to celebrate my late mother’s work – http://www.patgunning.wordpress.com and http://www.patgunning.com
    Best wishes, Siobhan Gunning

  2. canadada Says:

    Two things. Dandelion in salads, and dandelion wine …
    One must extract the ROOTS, otherwise them ‘lions’ will be every dandy.

  3. suburbanlife Says:

    LFB – we have to try feasting on a salad of Dents de lion. I have a hellowa crop coming up, and no chemicals. What say we give it a go one of these shared meals? G

  4. lookingforbeauty Says:

    Siobhan, Canadada and Suburbanlife,
    Thanks for bringing your thoughts to bear on my dandelions.

    Yesterday as I was out cutting the grass, I noticed that the ‘lions have taken to guerilla warfare. They are staying very low to the ground, hiding beneath the growing blades of grass so that when I mow over top of them, the hidden lions burst open their seeding heads – just one more ploy on their winning side. Even if you pick up these mangled seed heads, it’s too late. Enough have escaped to start new babies. Survival’s the name of their game!
    K

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