Friday, May 6, 2011

Thistle-Down-Angels

Children know what most grownups see as pests of lawns, the lowly dandelions, are really the keepers of the wings of wishes. For a child knows that if you blow on dandelion puff and all of the fluff flies away, your wish will come true. "Thistle-down Angels" is what we used to call them. How did the world ever get so messed up that it tries to persuade us that anything as yellow, as cheerful, as independent and as inspirational as the flowers that make Thistle-down Angels can be something to despise?

My husband, who is a beekeeper, says that when he sets up to sell his honey the number one question asked by concerned customers is, “Where have all the honey bees gone?” or “Why are there no bees on my lawn anymore?” He will answer them with more questions, “ do you spray your lawn for weeds? Do you let the wild plantains, clovers and dandelions bloom?” He reminds them that it is not only pesticides that affect honeybees but herbicides and fungicides take their toll on honeybee colonies as well. Honeybees are not at all attracted to the golf course type lawn that many Americans think we have to maintain. Birds, butterflies and other wildlife cannot survive on our deserts of pristine green. Just like we need a varied diet, the wild ones also need a variety of food sources in order for them to be healthy and survive.

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