Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Welcome May Flowers!

from the Edmonton Naturalization Group's Newsletter
Lawn care time is upon us, but before you reach for your weed hound or industrial vinegar, consider celebrating your dandelions and leaving a few as an early food source for bees.

In fact, providing honeybees with an important food source doesn’t require any effort at all, just don’t mow down your dandelions. As a non-native plant, dandelions are a weed by almost every definition, but honeybees are not native to this continent, either. Dandelions bloom early in the spring, when there are few other flowers. They are a vital source of both nectar and pollen at that time of year, when the bees’ food stores are at their lowest.

A healthier environment for this important and welcome non-native species includes plenty of dandelions.

Dandelion Blossom Tea
Since there are more than enough dandelions for everyone this year, here is my method of preventing some of them from going to seed.
Pick 5 or 6 dandelion blossoms (no stems), check for ants etc. and place them in a mug. Pour boiling water on them and let then steep for 5 minutes. Sweeten to taste and drink. This is a very mild tea, green tasting but not bitter. Dandelion tea is a great liver tonic.
I usually pick a year's supply and dry them on a screen. Once the blossoms have dried they can be stored in glass jars.

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