Overnight, my yard has exploded into a sea of yellow.
Rather than go through my usual, futile, efforts to eradicate the dandelions this year, though, I’m turning them over to the bees.
Dandelions are among the early plants that provide pollen and nectar for bees when they emerge in the spring. Increasingly, more people are using them as a food source, as well.
Many years ago, my mom tried to entice us to eat dandelion greens, and recently, it’s become chic for local foodies to forage for their dinners, with dandelions tops among the food choices.
My dandelion eradication method has been a great little device designed to yank the dandelions out of the ground – I don’t use chemicals on my lawn – but this year, my old-fashioned reel mower will have to do, once the flowers are nearing their end.
Other groundcovers that many view as invasive weeds, such as creeping Charlie, also serve as early food sources for our important pollinators.
The purple flowers of creeping Charlie, as well as the growth habit of the plants, are similar to those of the lamium groundcover that I intentionally planted, so why not let creeping Charlie add to the color of our lawns, as well?
I’ve heard from neighbors who disagree, but beauty, in this case, is in the eye of the bee-holder.
The University of Minnesota Extension offers other tips for growing a bee-friendly yard in this article.