Thank you, City of Toronto, for banning pesticides and enabling joyful seas of yellow to dot summer lawns and fields. I love dandelions because they symbolize everything that is tough, tender, supple, resilient. And prolific. Dandelions should be Toronto mascots, second only to racoons.

Perhaps I love dandelions because they’re the only flowers I was allowed to pick as a young child. But this only got me started. Dandelions herald summer for me, a winter wuss. But my affinity for this sunny flower runs deeper still. I love everything about its aesthetic: the green leaves and buds, the fresh scent, the yellow heads, and the wispy seed crowns when they go grey.

We walk on them. Dogs pee on them. Yet, they endure and thrive. Some audaciously poke through cracks between cement sidewalk slabs. I applaud such tenacity and how they can disrupt the social decorum of an otherwise well-groomed garden. As much as they evoke my admiration, I know they attract ire from some who tend said gardens. Get over it! We’re all better off without pesticides.

I love dandelions so much that I cultivate them. Seriously. I dig up a few strong plants each fall and pot them inside to sing their spring songs in the thick of winter. January and February snows will pile high outside my window, but green buds swell inside, bursting to gold.

Given how they romp wild outdoors, you’d never suspect how finicky they are to grow indoors. They behave as the fussiest of houseplants. I invite you to take the dandelion cultivation challenge. If you do, here’s what you need to know.

Ensure that you pot them in a tall enough container to accommodate the tap root as it grows. And be prepared that the cutting will first wilt after being potted (or re-potted), but it will soon rally. Dandelions also wilt when they’re thirsty; they drink a lot. Fertilize the soil when you see new buds forming as you would any flowering plant. Roots protruding through the hole(s) in the bottom of the pot indicate that a taller container is needed.

Taraxacum officinale

Golden globes
sporting on

her windowsill
in the chill

of winter

in the key
of February

[from Mary Rykov’s some conditions apply, Inanna Publications, Spring 2020]

Mary Rykov, author of some conditions apply