Updated: May 5
April has arrived with some sunshine and a fair amount of wind and rain, triggering the growth of many spring wild flowers. I have noticed many whilst walking the country roads, woods and fields, such flowers as Stitchwort, Violets, Forget-me-nots, Bluebells and Celandine. One of my favourite flowers that are abundantly growing in the fields and most people's gardens are the bright yellow Dandelions. These wonderfully cheerful plants, that have been a frustration of many gardener's lives are popping up all over the place. On a dog walk, dandelions are easily spotted, shining bright, like little patches of sunshine. The Dandelion opens up fully in the sun and closes in the rain. As a child I remember sitting with my friends, picking the fluffy dandelion heads and blowing on them profusely to tell the time, getting the white sticky sap on my fingers and later forgetting, getting a bitter taste on my tongue, worrying that I had picked the dandelions and I may wet the bed! Watching the seed heads blow across the field as they got caught on the wind. I remember thinking, where are they going and how far will they get? I am going to share with you why these plants are definitely not weedy, but actually the superhero of the natural world.
The Song of the Dandelion Fairy
Here's the dandelion's rhyme:
See my leaves with toothlike edges;
Blow my clocks to tell the time;
See me flaunting by the hedges,
In the meadow, in the lane,
Gay and naughty in the garden;
Pull me up - I grow again,
Asking neither leave nor pardon.
Sillies, what are you about
With your spades and hoes of iron?
You can never drive me out - Me, the dauntless Dandelion
This poem has been taken from Cicely Mary Barker's book, Flower Fairies of the Spring, which contain some beautiful rhymes and illustrations.
The Dandelion is also known as Lion's teeth, pissenlit, blow clock, fairy clock, canker weed, priest's crown and swine's snout, or in latin, Taraxacum Officinale.
The Herb Almanac states that, legend has it that blowing fluffy dandelion clocks releases trapped fairies who will grant a wish, but only if none are left behind. Alternatively, if seeds remain, their number symbolises either one's number of future children or years of life left. Make sure you blow them on sunny days as the seed heads only open on dry days. Dandelion seedheads are also a barometer: if they fly off when there is no wind, it means rain is coming.
The dandelion is nature's great healer: a potent natural medicine recommended by Arab physicians in the eleventh century. Dandelions contain more vitamins B, C and pro-vitamin A than many vegetables or fruits and are rich in proteins, sugar, fat and numerous mineral salts including high levels of potassium.
Dandelions provide leaves for salads, soups or stir-fries, flowers raw or fried and roots as a root veg, or dried and roasted as a coffee substitute, which in the UK during WWII was widely used as an acceptable substitution. Dry the leaves for a herbal tea. I would advise that you should only use dandelions that have had no nasty pesticides or weed killer sprayed on them! Please be aware that in Britain there are legally binding codes that prohibit digging up any kind of root unless you have the landowners permission. If you decide to go foraging, do so with care and maybe consult an expert first.
Dandelions are particularly prevalent in spring but are available all year round. On the Eve of St John which is the 23rd June, you can pick the leaves to ward off witches.
As a gardener I have been guilty of digging the roots out of my lawn. However, this year I will be leaving them be as they are an important early source of food for birds and pollinators, providing nectar for bees, beetles and butterflies. I have already spotted a peacock butterfly basking on a dandelion and feeding.
According to herbalists, the milky sap that oozes from the leaf and stem bases can cure warts and pimples by applying the sap to the skin.
I drink an organic dandelion, burdock & hawthorn tea by Heath & Heather. An afternoon treat with a spoonful of organic runny honey stirred in. Dandelion is said to stimulate digestion and consequently benefit inflamed skin and joints.
An old wives tale suggests that getting children to smell dandelions on May Day, 1st May, will stop bed wetting for a year! Quite the opposite to my belief that if you picked one you'd wet the bed as it's a powerful diuretic and it has been named Jack-piss-the-bed, pissy beds, tiddle-beds, wet-the-bed and piss-a-bed.
New Card 'Bunny Magic' by Clare
Dandelion artwork using pen & wash by Clare
Whilst researching Dandelions and their magical uses I came across a lovely You Tube channel. The video is called 'The Power of Dandelions' and the channel is Danu's Irish Herb garden. Danu is a herbalist and a teacher, who provides herbal courses. I will leave her website link under resources.
Dandelion is a wonderful medicinal plant that can be made into salves, tinctures, teas and even honey. Mother Earth has provided us with everything we need to heal, so instead of seeing this plant as a weed that needs to be destroyed, maybe we should see this plant as a miraculous healer that helps us to become empowered when it comes to aspects of our health and well-being.
I have published this blog post a little bit earlier this month as I wanted to tell you about the next eclipse happening on 19th & 20th April 2023, depending on where you live. This is a rare hybrid eclipse but unfortunately if you are a resident in the UK then you won't get to witness it. The hybrid eclipse will only occur 4 more times this century, in 2031, 2049, 2050, and 2067. According to Pam Gregory, Astrologer, this solar eclipse will be particularly powerful and intense which will resonate for at least 6 months after the eclipse and through 2024. This is an exciting time for personal change and I like to write down my intentions and I will be visualising the reality that I would like to create. Is this really possible I hear you say? Well, it's a positive thing to do so why not give it a try. I like to use a pretty notebook and my fountain pen and just write down my thoughts, my new intentions and the things I am grateful for. Although I can't change what is going on in the world I can remain positive, peaceful and in control of my immediate environment. I am grateful for my individuality, my creativity and being able to get outside into nature to remain calm and harmonious. Pam talks often of staying grounded and the easiest way of doing this is by taking off your shoes and socks and getting your bare feet on the grass, April weather permitting. Have you ever heard of grounding or earthing? The health benefits of connecting with the earth, well, the list is endless. Bracha Goldsmith also gives a positive explanation on how the eclipse energies can affect us and how to go about navigating this time on Planet Earth. She offers uplifting insights and suggestions on what changes may be coming as the planets align. I will leave her details below if you feel you want to explore further.
Thank you to all my readers who continue to support me and to all the subscribers and members who have signed up to Purple Ladybird Art. If you haven't subscribed then just go to my website and I'll send to an invite to become a member of our community where you will never miss a post. I have designed a new card this month which will be going into my website shop. 'Bunny Magic' £3.00, free P&P to all UK residents. Your likes and comments are very much appreciated and I read every one of them. Thank you 🙏💜
Congratulations to last months winner of my spring giveaway. All my subscribers names went in to a hat and was picked out randomly by my lovely assistant (Husband, Graham). My subscriber received her pack of 6 greetings cards designed by myself at Easter weekend so the timing was perfect. She said:
"Thank you for the lovely cards I received yesterday, I am so delighted with them, I will be reluctant to send them to people."
If you would like to purchase any greeting cards and support a small business then please visit my website shop. www.purpleladybirdart.co.uk
Have a fabulous April, get your feet on the grass and enjoy dandelion hunting.
Sending you all love & Light,
Stay naturally curious...
The Earthing Movie: The Remarkable Science of Grounding - YouTube
Solar Eclipse in Aries 19/20th April 2023 - Pam Gregory - YouTube
Solar Eclipse in Aries 19/20th April 2023, A Rare Opportunity - Bracha Goldsmith - YouTube
The Power of Dandelions - Danu's Irish Herb Garden - YouTube
Britain's Wildflowers, A treasury of Traditions, Superstitions, Remedies & Literature by Rosamund Richardson
The Herb Almanac. A Seasonal Guide to Medicinal Plants, written by Holly Farrell
Collins Botanical Bible. A Pratical Guide to Wild and Garden Plants by Sonya Patel Ellis
Illustrated Guide to Wild Flowers by Stephen Blackmore
Photo - Dandelions in a jug by Dagmara Dombrovska, Unsplash