Dandelion bouquet

jenlibrarian is gathering a bouquet of virtual flowers for her birthday, and asked us to report on some of our favorite flowers. There are all manner of lovely desert flowers here, but when she asked this, my thoughts leapt quickly to a non-desert favorite instead:

I loved dandelions all through my east coast childhood. I watched them grow, from tight bound buds, to half-open blooms with a core of still-tight yellow florets in the center, to bright open flowers, to dandelion clocks that I’d blow and make wishes on. I welcomed the return of the dandelions in the spring and summer, and gathered bouquets of them to bring home.

It was a source of great indignation to me that the adult world considered these flowers weeds, and a source of real sorrow when a lawn filled with beautiful yellow flowers would get mowed down to green blandness.

It turns out there are very few real dandelions in the Sonoran desert, though we do have false dandelions here. Those I’ve never come to love. Perhaps it’s because I met them as an adult, when I had to weed them from the ground myself. But I rather think it’s more because they have thorns, and unlike my childhood dandelions, can be pretty painful to pick without protective gloves. I wouldn’t put a false dandelion in jenlibrarian‘s bouquet.

Though I was so struck by the idea of dandelions having thorns that I stole it for Bones of Faerie, where I decided that after the war with Faerie, the changed plants in our world would include eastern dandelions that had thorns, too. Because after meeting thorny false dandelions I no longer quite trusted any dandelions the way I once had, and also because with all that lawn-mowing, it was about time my childhood dandelions got some defenses of their own.

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