By Larry Hodgson
Many years ago, some local officials asked me to take a dignitary from Haiti on a tour of nearby gardens. Apparently, she loved plants and gardens and, being from a tropical country, was eager to see what gardeners in my cold, snowy part of the world could possibly grow. Arrangements were made with a few gardeners known to have lovely private gardens and off we went for the day, into the countryside to visit these charming places.
The weather was perfect, the sky was deep blue with beautiful fluffy white clouds, and everything was green and lush, colorful as in any land that has just sprung out of a long, cold winter can be. Also, the garden owners were charming and so proud of their beautiful gardens. It was really a perfect day from start to finish and it just flew by.
On the way back, she seemed very pleased with her day. “But what I loved best were those incredible fields of beautiful yellow flowers!”, she insisted. I must have looked stunned. I couldn’t figure out what she was talking about. There had been flower beds, a formal French parterre, a rock garden and two water gardens, a greenhouse and … well, the list just went on and on. But fields of flowers? We hadn’t visited anything like that. What in the world was she talking about?
Beauty Beyond the Garden
Seeing my confusion, she tried to explain. “You know, not the gardens, but the fields, on all those rolling mountains, as we drove along. All those wonderful yellow blooms! They were just stunning!”
I still didn’t get it … at first. Then it dawned on me. She meant the fields full of dandelions. Yes, fields of weeds!
“Oh, Madame,” I answered. “Those would be dandelions. They’re considered weeds. Nobody likes them! We spray herbicides on them to try and kill them. Most gardeners loathe them!”
It was her turn to look astonished. “Well,” she said. “I’m shocked! If you could put those flowers into pots, you could sell them by the thousands in Haiti! You’d make a fortune!”
And then we had a good laugh!
Something So Simple
And do you know something? She was absolutely right. Those fields were breathtakingly gorgeous. How blind I had been never to have noticed before.
Now, wherever I hear gardeners make disparaging remarks about dandelions, I remember that day. And I dream about opening a dandelion nursery in Haiti!