The first signs of spring are beginning to show, and while you’re planning on how to decorate your garden, could you please do the bee’s a huge favor this season and leave the dandelions alone?
Dandelions play a vital role for bees and other pollinators that emerge from hibernation in early Spring when other flowers have yet to blossom.
Jane Memmott, president of The British Ecological Society, has stated:
“It’s the start and end of the season when pollinators most struggle to find nectar…Pollinators need food in February through to November so try have something flowering throughout the year”
Dandelions are a common “weed” found in abundance in the wild as well as in gardens; however, they are often taken for granted and disregarded all too easily.
Memmott said that she ensures there’s enough dandelions in her own garden by leaving patches of flowers and grass when mowing the lawn:
“By leaving lawns to grow to ankle height, daisies, dandelions and clovers all get a chance to flower,”
The knock-on effect of killing off weeds like dandelions is dangerously ignored, and it doesn’t take a lot of effort for us to alleviate the stress on other areas of nature if we simply leave them to grow.
Memmott suggested that you can even help by placing a garden pot in your yard, garden or balcony, which provides bees, butterflies and hoverflies the chance to pollinate.
Simply planting single flowers with easy access to pollen centers, and avoiding double flowers where pollen becomes harder to reach due to the many petals, can have a positive impact on the nature around you.
“There’s nothing for pollinators to eat in plants bred to look like pom poms.”
Dandelions aren’t only great for insects; the medicinal properties of Dandelions can give humans a much needed health boost. We shouldn’t be treating them like any other nuisance weed to be exterminated, but rather cherish what Mother Nature is offering us.
Dandelions contain high amounts of vitamin D, vitamin K, calcium and magnesium, which help maintain strong bones. Just by breaking the stem will ooze out a substance that’s great for skin infections such as psoriasis, eczema, or ringworm.
Dandelion tea or juice can even help diabetics as it can stimulate more insulin production in the pancreas, and therefore lowering blood sugar levels.
So, you can be a force for good this spring: ease off the weed killer, let the grass grow more than you usually would, and you’ll have the bees buzzing with joy.