Dandelions, Sunflowers And My Yard

A Few of My Dandelions. It is a cloudy day and they are not fully open.

A few of my dandelions. It is a cloudy day and they are not fully open yet.

I’ve been thinking about putting an ad on Craigslist. It will say, “Free Dandelions — You Pick.” I have thousands of dandelions on my 4 acres of yard. They come up every year and I don’t have to do anything to make them grow. In fact, they are just about impossible to kill. I have pretty much made peace with them and just accept them. They are kind of nice, especially when they are in tight bunches. I ran across an interesting website called the Northwest Coalition for Alternatives to Pesticides (NCAP). They have an article about dandelions and their benefits, including the fact that the long roots of the dandelion help to aerate the soil.

I don’t use fertilizer or pesticides on my lawn. I use some pesticides for cracks around the parking lot and on some concrete walkways, but that is all. I think I will even stop doing that and use vinegar. Vinegar will kill dandelions, but it will also kill the grass around it if you use it on your lawn.

The official name of the common dandelion is Taraxacum officinale. The United States Department of Agriculture Natural Resources Conservation Service has an awesome Plants Database with a lot of pictures of dandelions in their various stages.

On the other hand, the things I want to grow I have to plant and water. My brother came over today to plant some sunflower seeds for me. I was fairly successful last year and grew a half a dozen large sunflowers that looked wonderful. I am trying to grow more this year. My brother grew some seeds indoors to get them started and he planted them today. He also started a few pumpkins and watermelon for me and planted them. He has a green thumb. I don’t. I can mow the lawn. That’s about it.

One of my sunflowers from last year.

One of my sunflowers from last year.

I do enjoy all of the different plants that grow around my property. I’m less than 100 yards from the Hudson River. A small stream crosses my property and lots of things grow near it. I also have an old pond about 50 feet in diameter. It doesn’t have water in it anymore, but it does have lots of plants, small trees and other things growing in it. I wrote briefly about the skunk cabbage in a previous post. There are also some beautiful yellow flowers that grow across the street in a very wet, swamp type environment. When they bloom they are as beautiful as any flowers you will find. I have not identified them yet. When I do, I will update this post.

The Connecticut Botanical Society also has an excellent web site. This is the first place I go when I am trying to identify a plant or flower that I find.

Here are a few flowers that I have identified on my property using the website of the Connecticut Botanical Society: Pokeweed, Turtlehead and New York Aster.

When I find a plant and I don’t know what it is, I look it up on the CT website. I then copy the link into a simple text file that I created along with some identifying information. The next time I forget what the plant or flower is, it makes it easier to find. Going forward, I am also going to take a picture of the plant with my digital camera and put the name of that file in the text file also.

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