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Dandelions

The gardening bug crept up on me slowly. I bought my first house at age 28, and after a while, I started paying attention to the flower beds that were already established.

I remember my friend, Jennifer coming over to help me one day and I was amazed that you were supposed to pull grass out from the flower beds and cut in a defined border. I honestly never thought about it before.

I didn’t have a whole lot of success with my own plantings until I learned that plants require extra water in the summer. Who’d thunk?

Segue to my purchase of five and a half acres of swampy hillside, a dozen years later. When I left my home in Portland, I couldn’t leave my two huckleberry plants I had just established. I had a beautiful sword fern I contemplated digging up, too.

After I planted my huckleberries down here, I looked around. My hillsides are covered in huckleberries and sword ferns. (Remember, I am not a complete idiot, but I sure feel like one sometimes.)

Every couple of years, I read an article about how wonderful the misunderstood dandelion is. It has medicinal properties, it tastes great in a salad, it’s root will break up compacted dirt.

Portland is a very green city, and as a budding gardener, I was exposed to a lot of thinking about organic gardening, preventing erosion, using native plants to avoid the need to water, etc.

Maybe I’m not so much an idiot as naive, but after we carved our homesite out of a hillside, there was an incredible amount of bare dirt contrasting sickly with the amazing, abundant green all around us.

If you’ve ever been to the Pacific Northwest, you can imagine. If you are from the arid Southwest, you would be awed. There are many beautiful things in nature, and Oregon’s green is at the top.

Knowing that we receive substantial amounts of rain in the winter, and with my Portland mind set, I began to worry about erosion. So when the first dandelions came to colonize my bare slopes, I welcomed them.

Gah! Makes me want to take the “not” out of my blog title!

Last year I declared war on the dandelion and I curse the day I ever worried about erosion here in rural Southern Oregon. A little erosion is a fact of life, whether you build, or a hillside decides on it’s own that it needs to slide and slump down.

I plan on doing much blogging about my thoughts on gardening, but now, after some rain, it’s a good time to start pulling dandelions!

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