Sondra's Dandelion Jelly

You either love em or you hate em. I don’t think there’s any in-between here. The Dandelions can surely become disrupters of the manicured lawn. If that’s your jam, they’ll be a menace to you every single spring. But have you considered this? Before the lawn culture began, the Taraxacum Officinale, also known as the Dandelion, was a well loved and cherished plant. Its packed with medicinal, edible and numerous other benefits. Of course, it’s wide spread, easily foraged and sturdy ways were only a few things that made people of ancient to modern civilizations love Dandelions. It was the lawn, the lush green uniformity of the unproductive fields, that redefined this herb as a most obnoxious weed.

The History of the Lawn

In 17th century England, the lawn became a badge of wealth as only the rich could afford to have land that was kept solely for its beauty and not for production. However, the Dandelion, with its 5,000 seeds per plant, wasn’t going to exit the scene quietly. Not a chance. After the yellow bloom comes to the end of its life cycle, it closes back up for a short period of time before reopening with the grand display of white seeds. The winds gladly spread these determined darlings across the country side up to five miles away with one fell swoop. That is, if there were any left after the children had made a wish upon them and blew the seeds to smithereens.

Better Living Through Chemistry

In 1945, Weed Done was released in the U.S. as a weed killer that would take out the weeds leaving the grass unharmed. This arch enemy would certainly take out Dandelions upon contact. But if any of her seeds or any part of the plant remained untouched, it would make a come back. Do you remember the Great Gatsby? Nick Carraway says, “we both looked at the grass…there’s a sharp line where my ragged lawn ended and the darker well kept expanse of his began.” Nick’s lawn surely harbored a Dandelion or two in the spring. Sharing those wonderful seeds with his neighbor whom I’m sure appreciated them so deeply.

Unfit for Lawns But Benefits Remain

The benefits of the Dandelion herb (most botanists agree with this category as opposed to weed), range from medicinal to the first post-winter nectar for the pollinators and bees. The flowers are very sweet when they’re young (they grow bitter as they age) and are delicious in a salad. Apparently, you can also make wine out of Dandelions, but I haven’t taken it that far. The roots are ground for coffee or tea and they are a great detox for the liver and kidney and aid in digestion. It’s loaded with vitamins (A, C, K, Iron and Zinc). These menacing plants have been used by many cultures and generations as an anti-inflammatory and diuretic. So you see, this one has many jobs to fulfill. Could that be why it is so plentiful upon the earth?

Anatomy of a Dandelion

Once Loved Now Hated

Let’s recap the timeline of events that brought the demise of the reputation of Dandelions. This self cloning species was sought by ancient cultures for its numerous gifts to mankind. However, its ability to spread its seed and take up residency where it pleased caused a major frustration for the shifting culture.

The many uses of earth, dirt, land and space shifted. It shifted from useful and productive to merely a visual pleasure to be controlled and manicured. Thus, the birth of the lawn. Suddenly the long admired herb was seen through a new lens. This lens redefined the Dandelion as uncontrollable and wild…too wild to be of use. I mean its name does mean tooth of the lion.

The new classification for the Dandelion didn’t change its purpose, its benefits, or its nature. Weed killer would kill a plant, but a new one would soon pop up in its place. Its gifts remain regardless of how we see it or think of it. Accepted and cherished or shunned and attacked, the Dandelion is steadfast in its nature no matter what.

If dandelions were rare and fragile, people would knock themselves out to pay $14.95 a plant, raise them by hand in greenhouses, and form dandelion societies and all that. But, they are everywhere and don’t need us and kind of do what they please. So, we call them weeds and murder them at every opportunity.

-Robert Fulghum

Dig Deeper Like the Roots of the Dandelion

What we think about a thing does not determine its purpose or value. Have you ever felt like an outcast, a throw-away, a misfit? Consider the Dandelion. The Dandelion is just one of the seed bearing plants that came from the spoken word of the Lord with purpose and value. Cultures may shift mindsets and attempt to redefine a thing. But they cannot change the purpose and value of what God creates. As other plants have gone on to fame and fortune, the Dandelion’s reputation has suffered at the creation of the beautiful lawn. But the lawn does not have the power or authority to override the purpose and value of the Dandelion. This truth is self-evident in the fact that the Dandelion remains wide spread today.

A weed is just a flower growing in the wrong place.

George Washington Carver

Think About It

There’s an origin of the creation of the Dandelion that determines its purpose and value. This truth stands for all of God’s creation. When God thought of the Dandelion, He knew that man’s lawn would cause the love for Dandelions to be lost. When God thought of you, He knew every challenge you would ever face and how those challenges would try to attack your purpose and value. What you think about your value and purpose does not change the fact that you are a creation of the Creator and your value and purpose was set by an unchanging God.

Why doesn’t constant trampling defeat the dandelion? The key to its strength is its long and sturdy root, which extends deep into the earth. The same principle applies to people. The true victors in life are those who, enduring repeated challenges and setbacks, have sent the roots of their being to such a depth that nothing can shake them.

-Daisaku Ikeda

Your purpose, Your value is unchanged. Mindsets shift and our ability to see things as they really are will become skewed, but the nature and value of a thing does not change. I have lost sight of my purpose and value in the past, but that doesn’t mean they changed or ceased to exist. This is good news for you and I. Not the world, nor circumstances, nor life, nor death, nor satan or any other living creature on earth has the ability to change your purpose and value. That power lies in the hands of God and God alone. To find ourselves again, we must first return to Him who created us, return to our First Love who set our purpose and value before the foundations of the earth, return to the One who never lost site of this truth.

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If you like this post, you might enjoy Thoughts are the Seeds to the Life we Cultivate.

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