Last week’s rain has done wonders for the grass and it would appear the dandelions too! When I see dandelions in the spring I immediately think of Grandma.
My sister and I dreaded the first warm weekend in May: that’s when Grandma would inform us that we were going to pull dandelions.
I remember walking to my bedroom window one Saturday morning to assess the job at hand only to see a carpet of green. There wasn’t a dandelion in sight. By the time we got dressed and joined Grandma for breakfast, the news got even better. Grandma told us we would not be pulling dandelions today because there was rain coming. Sure enough, it rained later in the day.
Here’s why: When the weather is fair, the flowers extends to full bloom, but, when the humidity is high as is before it rains, the flowers close up like little umbrellas. They do this to preserve the pollen and keep nectar from being diluted.
You might have also noticed that dandelions close up at night too? They open up after the morning dew has passed and things begin to dry out. Grandma she used to refer to them as weather barometers. Like many of us, dandelions react to the weather.
Grandma didn’t like to see dandelions on the lawn, but they have an important role to play. Nectar and pollen from dandelions are used by honey bees for valuable energy and feeding their spring young.
I remember so clearly the day I figured out that the name “dandelion” means “lion’s tooth” - because the plant’s leaves have jagged tooth-like edges. That day, I ran around the school yard sharing my newfound knowledge with everyone.
If you look around, you might find a local dandelion festival in your area: a day for everyone to get out and celebrate the unofficial start of our summer season and honour that beautiful plant.
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Cindy Day is the chief meteorologist for SaltWire Network.