Hortense Hoelove Returns to Answer a Question

Dear Hortense Hoelove,
    I know it's been a while since you published your advice column. I don't know if you stopped because of a lack of questions or if you decided you didn't want to answer questions anymore.
   Regardless, I have a most interesting question/situation that I think you will find irresistible, that will make you come out of your retirement to answer, that will simply change your perception about what is possible in a garden.
   The other day while mowing, I spotted a very tall dandelion flower stalk. After I finished mowing, I got a yardstick and did my best to measure it while it was still in the ground.  Then I pulled it and measured it on the ground.
   Hortense, my dandelion flower stalk is almost 36" tall.  Do you think it is a world record?

Mowing in the Midwest

P.S. Another picture...

Dear Mowing in the Midwest,
   First, let me address my perceived retirement. Ha! Retire? No, I just didn't find any questions compelling enough to take the time to answer them. But your question piqued my interest.
   Is your dandelion a world record? No, not in terms of how tall it is. I did a quick online search, which you could also have done before bothering me, and found some over six feet tall.
   So there is your answer. No, it is not a world record. Not even close.
   Now, let me address some other issues I see.
   First, what kind of gardener lets a dandelion grow so tall without pulling it? I think we both know the answer to that. A lazy one. For shame.
   And second, I presume because you didn't show the roots, you didn't get many roots when you pulled it. I know I'm right. I bet you just yanked it out without using a dandelion fork or digging knife and barely got any root at all. So that dandelion is going to grow back as you well know because you never get much of the root any time you weed out dandelions and so you are always weeding them out.
   Repeat after me. Surface weeding is weeding that has to be repeated, over and over, time and time, again and again.
   And third, all the seeds are gone from the seed head. This can only mean that this super-tall dandelion has already spread its progeny throughout your garden. You are now doomed to a lifetime of dandelions. Whine all you want, or make wine out of it. Either way,  good luck as more dandelions sprout all over the place.
   Yours in horticultural wisdom,

   P.S.  Please let people know I will address other questions if submitted in a respectful manner, if they interest me.


  1. It may not be a world record, but maybe you can claim the state title!
    Have a wonderful day!

  2. I am glad you had pictures of this 36" dandelion. It would have been hard to believe otherwise. It must be a record someplace.

  3. Just dig them out and mow them down. My mother used to pay me 25 cents an hour to dig dandelions. Another thing I like to do do is plant a crocus bulb in dandelion hole. Enjoy!

  4. That's quite a weed! I would take a more positive outlook and say you must have amazing soil. Good job!

  5. That's one huge dandelion. Mine are all short suckers. I leave them for the honeybees. Don't tell Hortense. She sounds rather cranky this morning.~~Dee


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