Talk about conflicting interests. When I’m at work on my allotment I continuously wage war on dandelions. They are shown no mercy, bar resorting to pesticides. And yes, I know they are very helpful plants – the roots plunging deep into the soil strata and releasing otherwise inaccessible nutrients into the topsoil.
On the other hand, on the way to the allotment, camera to hand, I have a lot of time for them. They are of course in the farmer’s field, and not on my plot, which helps to foster a little appreciation. I find their seed-head ‘clocks’ endlessly photogenic. Looked at closely, they have a mysterious and mesmerizing quality: the perfect design of their parachutes, each one programmed for relentlessly unavoidable procreation.
And so, even as I feel my spade-hand twitching towards a ruthless uprooting, I’m also thinking ‘live and let live’. There are other good reasons to love dandelions. I’ve mentioned in earlier posts that these plants possess great therapeutic qualities. Herbalists have long used the roots for healing liver conditions, while the leaves and flowers act more on the kidneys (not for nothing is the dandelion’s country name piss-in-the-bed.) You can use the young leaves in salads, while the roasted roots make a passable coffee. Meanwhile, the dandelion in the photo is also auditioning for a special effects role in Star Trek.
Things are often small, up-close and entomological over at Ark’s place in South Africa. He’s always leading me up his garden path to take a look at crab spiders and such like. At least that is his story, and I’m sticking to it. Now he’s led me to Kenneth McMillan’s blog where there are more close-up bugs, this time of the Canadian variety. That is to say in his latest post, Kenneth has a very fine shot of a Bald-faced Hornet heading for the cotoneaster.
I gather that fennel has been featuring in Ark’s and Kenneth’s recent photographic exchanges, but I have no bugs in my fennel, or even bats. Instead, as I was traipsing up the bean field to the allotment, I caught these very tiny beetles in a dandelion clock. And since Ark said we could join in with the bug shoot, this is my effort. I hope I am not expected to know what these tiny insects are. They are rather cute though.
copyright 2015 Tish Farrell