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Perspective: Dandelion days and no-mow May

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It’s dandelion season, and while some of my neighbors are arduously digging them up one by one, I look out at my overgrown backyard and smile back at their sunny flower faces. One homeowner’s weed is another’s cultivar.

I’m into No Mow May, the initiative to reduce lawn mowing to help pollinators and the environment. My participation, however, is inadvertent. You see my yard service fired me. For years they squeezed their supersized mower through the gate, descending upon my little yard in a fury of buzzing and blowing.

But unlike the gardener I once had who also fired me, it was not because of my persnicketiness. Instead, the service decided that my biweekly mowing schedule no longer fit their business model. They have all those fertilizing customers whose grass grows faster than my weeds and needs a weekly buzz cut.

Meanwhile I’m just fine with my untamed lawn accented now by the colorful array of violets alongside the much-maligned dandelions. If I were more industrious, I’d be out there harvesting them. According to the Cleveland Clinic, their leaves are some of the most nutrient-rich greens we can eat, more so than even our beloved kale.

One morning soon I’ll look out and those dandy little lions will have transformed into fuzzy puffballs just waiting for me to make a wish and blow their seed parachutes over the fence.

I’m Paula Garrett and that’s my neighborly perspective.

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As a librarian, Paula couldn’t help making a summer reading suggestion about this most summery flower: Ray Bradbury’s “Dandelion Wine.”

In this NPR piece, she learned the crew of Apollo 15 liked the book so much they named a lunar crater after the book. And it’s not Bradbury’s “signature” sci-fi. He even wrote a sequel, Farewell Summer.

Paula Garrett is a transplanted Southerner and a former WNIJ Blues host. She's passionate about music, travel, research, open water swimming and film.