The Monochrome Garden: Dandelion Delight?


I know most of us gardeners curse dandelions, but don’t they look lovely in sepia? Little constellations. Firework bursts. Spreading those all too viable seed parachutes here, there and everywhere. You can’t keep a good weed down.

But these plants do have their uses too. Young leaves are excellent in salads. Dandelion leaf tea has long been used by herbalists to cleanse the kidneys and lower blood pressure, while the root is mainly a liver remedy, helping to boost the immune system. I do quite like dandelion coffee, perverse as this may sound, although it has to be the real roasted roots, and not the instant stuff, and it’s definitely improved with a sprinkle of raw cacao powder, and a pinch of cinnamon.

The plants of course can develop prodigious root systems. The main tap root drills down into the depths of poor soil, and so helps bring up trapped nutrients. This is one of the reasons why they are so darned difficult to dig up – they are so very busy nourishing the ground. Well that’s their story anyway. I have tried roasting the roots to make my own coffee. Very fiddly. A lot of scrubbing. And then I ate the crunchy roasted bits and didn’t have any left to make coffee. They tasted like root vegetable crisps – weird but vaguely compelling.

And I suppose I have to say  too (somewhat grudgingly) that the flowers’ bright yellow faces are very cheering, although I was a bit cross to find them already grinning at me up at the allotment. In February, for goodness sake? Please give us a break, dandelions. How about a September blooming instead?

Anyway this is my entry for the last week of Jude’s monochrome garden photo challenge. With this particular composition, I’m also thinking a little of Sue Judd’s negative space challenge over at  Paula’s. But please drop in at Jude’s The Earth Laughs In Flowers to see what she and others have been doing with their monochrome compositions. Next Sunday there will be a new  theme: garden wild life, and a chance to show off visiting my reptiles. Yay!

33 thoughts on “The Monochrome Garden: Dandelion Delight?

  1. Your edit made my jaw drop 😀 They look exactly like fireworks. Thank you for linking, Tish. And I agree with you – they have no business showing up in February 😀

  2. I did. Not get to join in the fen garden challenge but so enjoyed the posts going around – and even though your image rocks! For mono and negative space – and pure art!
    The fav of this post was all the dandelion chat- like coffee? Oh I would love to try it! And sometimes I add cocoa powder to our Java – with real milk and a dash of butter and it is great for the “running low” days – got the idea of butter from “bullet proof” guy – but I only use a dash.
    Anyhow – imagining you scrubbing the roots and all that was us fun. I have vivid memories of wrestling with a large dandelion and darn does that tap root anchor! They also leave a gaping hole and so early on I learned to nip these little weeds in the early phase. I have tried to snack on the greens and don’t mind the bitterness – but really want to try the coffee!

    1. Hi there, Yvette. Lovely to hear from you – it’s like a blast of energy through the ether. That dash of butter sounds really nourishing! I reckon it would work with dandelion coffee too. Could be just what’s missing. The Germans do very good roasted dandelion coffee ( you have to grind it and it’s rathery dusty). It’s marketed in the UK by Cotswold. But I imagine you get it in the States.

      1. Well I will check – I have a few things to follow up with this spring (including maybe reading that story of yours from a post last month) and well – we really like to try new things so dandelion coffee is on my list! Keep you posted!
        And quick question – where did you falters the dandelions for this photo? Out I the wild somewhere?

  3. This photograph is beautiful and shows the dandelion in a completely different light. I am a lover of wildflower meadows….and kid myself that dandelions fit in very well with the mix!:) Thank you for the image and interesting information re the dandelion coffee…a new one for me. Enjoy the day…Janet.

  4. Gorgeous photo Tish. Really, very lovely. I have them in my garden, but they don’t seem to go too mad, so they don’t bother me – and you have to love a dandelion clock because they’re just magical. The plant that drives me crackers is a wild onion – absolutely overruns the place and seemingly impossible to get rid of no matter how many I dig out! Mind you the flowers are pretty and at least the slugs don’t eat them like they do everything else. Grrrr!

      1. Actually, yes. I’ve tried the flowers, the leaves and the bulbs – all rather like a mild spring onion. Mabe that’s the answer – eat the lot!

      2. Good thinking, Tish! Or a nice wild onion tart, perhaps? I have a feeling they’ll be a lot of allium centred recipes in our house come the spring 🙂

    1. I seem to remember one of the cooking blogs on WP making fritters out of the flower heads.I thought at the time that this was rather satisfying, and on all sorts of levels 🙂

  5. My goodness, this is a fabulous composition Tish and I love the sort of sepia tint and the negative space. I always find it so difficult to photograph dandelion clocks so I am most impressed. And I always learn something from your posts, though I think I shall give dandelion coffee a miss… 🙂

    1. That’s a good question. A plant in the wrong place? and as you suggest this is very subjective prejudice. My lawn only has ‘weeds’ in it and has ambitions to join forces with the field over the hedge. I have to say I’m not very proud of it, but then the manicured look has ever eluded me, and on all fronts. Hope you’re having a good day 🙂

  6. Excellent shot of these beauties Tish and they do look magnificent with the sepia tint. I adore Dandelions. It’s a very good diuretic as well and I love it when they spring up on my lawn. They are cheery indeed and a lawn filled with dandelions and clover is a haven for honeybees (and other native pollinators. 😀

    1. I seem to remember you were a dandelion fan, Sonel, from one of my last year’s posts. In fact I think it was you who gave me link about the tap roots rooting up nutrients. It made me see them with new eyes. So thank you 🙂

      1. That I am Tish and I am glad you remembered. You make me feel special. 😀

        I am also glad you are seeing them with new eyes. They are so misunderstood and as long as there are people like you that appreciate them, it makes me happy. 😀

        You are very welcome. ♥

  7. Beautiful composition Tish and the monochrome is perfect. I do not get over run with dandelions as I don’t think they like our humid weather. So when I see them they always make me smile.

  8. Oh np! Not the reptiles! Alligators, Tish? 🙂 This is such a beautiful composition. Someone (Sue, or Jude?) had something similar with very fragile, delicate gossamer. Quite lovely 🙂

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