The seed blizzards have well and truly begun!

The annual dandelion seed blizzard started here about ten days ago. It’s the second of the quartet of natural nuisances here each spring.

annual seed blizzard
It’s hard to photograph, but if you can see lots of white specks, those are seeds!

I love this time of year. The days are getting longer, the bluebells are flowering, so are azaleas – and all sorts of fruit trees. The broom (cytisus) is not only dripping (and drooping) with pink-white flowers: it smells wonderful.
However, late April/early May also brings a triple whammy for gardeners.

Nuisance one: ash seedlings

Ongoing from my previous post, I’ve lost count of how many I’ve pulled up in the past week.

Nuisance four: willow catkins

The willow tree that hangs over my back garden looks beautiful at the moment: silvery green, from its leaves and catkins. Couple more weeks, and they will ALL be in the garden!
Before that, they are responsible for nuisance three.

Nuisance two: the dandelion seed blizzard

The cold start to the year has delayed it this year. And I was waiting for it to begin, as lawns and grassy banks and so on became a sea of golden blooms.
There’s no point sowing flower seeds directly outdoors till it is over, as you need to clear any bare soil of dandelion seeds BEFORE sowing anything you want to grow.

dandelion, annual seed blizzard
Dandelions thrive in awkward places

I’ve given up tackling dandelions in my gardens. They have deep roots, secure themselves in cracks in hard surfaces… and quite frankly, what is the point?
You may as well try to stop a river flooding in heavy rain by bailing out two cupfuls of water.

Dandelion clocks

‘What time is it?’
Pffff (you blow at the dandelion, sending some seeds into their air): “One o’clock.” Pfff. “Two o’clock.” Pfff. “Three o’clock.” And the stalk is bare.
Multiply the seeds from one dandelion by about a million, spread over days, and the result is the annual dandelion seed blizzard.

This is twinned with (and actually less dramatic than):

Nuisance three: the willow seed blizzard

Because before the catkins fall, they shake out clouds of seeds. Fluffier and softer than the dandelions, and with a smaller seed attached to the fluffy bit.

willow, annual seed blizzard
Willow seeds are fluffy

At its peak, the air is thick with them. On Sunday, eating my lunch in the back garden, I was picking them out of my salad, my coffee, brushing them off myself. Though this year, it seems to have been more spread-out, dragging on for ten days (and counting) of flurries. In previous years, it has been really blizzard-like, but all over in four or five days.

dandelion, annual seed blizzard
Drifts of seeds

Dandelions for dinner

As a footnote: it is, of course, possible to eat dandelions. If you fancy it, you can read more at Mark’s blog.

To be honest, I was put off the idea in my teens when I learned the common French name for dandelion. Yes, ‘dandelion’ = ‘dents de lion’ (lion’s teeth). But, they are also known as pissenlits, ie ‘wet the beds,’ because of their diuretic properties.

dandelion, annual seed blizzard
With grass verges and lawns teeming with dandelions, it’s a waste of time worrying about them


2 thoughts on “Annual seed blizzards

  1. The cottonwoods contribute to the willow blizzards.
    In an unrelated matter, the fuzz from the sycamores is SO nasty, and it is only MAY. I seriously think that the London plane is actually worse than the native California sycamore!

    Liked by 1 person

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