KINGSTON —The Kingston Conservation Commission is gearing up for our town’s second annual Bee-utiful Dandelion Contest! Won’t you welcome “Irish daisies” (another name for dandelion) in your yard? Dandelions play a crucial role in the life of emerging bees and butterflies in April and May, providing both pollen and nectar until trees and other wildflowers blossom out. Just as we did last year, we will enjoy a friendly competition with Durham and Chester, who also hold an annual dandelion competition.
Dandelions weren’t always considered an obnoxious weed! There were times when people dug up grass to make room for dandelions! The flowers and plants were highly prized for their culinary and health benefits until the mass proliferation of suburbs in the 1950s and '60s, when our taste for a manicured lawn (more perfect than our neighbor’s) outweighed our taste for dandelion greens. Americans now spend $15 billion a year on pesticides and fertilizers for lawns – billions of pounds of chemicals – only creating an ecological desert for our native pollinators and wildlife. To that end, we encourage you to let spring flowers thrive, mow your lawn high, and most importantly, please resist the urge to use toxic pesticides.
For the contest, the lawn judged to have the highest density of dandelions will receive Kingston’s top prize, a flowering plant or tree from one of their excellent “native plant” nurseries, and a rain barrel! The rain barrel is being donated by the Rotary Club of Amesbury, whose 2021 mission is water resource conservation.
To enter your lawn in the contest, send a note to the Kingston Conservation Commission via www.kingstonnh.org/conservation-commission. Include your name, the address of your lawn and a photo if you have one, and an email address or phone number. Judging will take place on the weekend of May 22. Good luck!