Boise Art

The Big Dandelion -- Coming to a Yard Near You

Chamber of Commerce Description

This piece of metal art, which is actually a weather vane, depicts a native plant (Agoseris glauca or mountain dandelion) found in our surrounding mountains.

Although it might look similar to the common dandelion (Taraxacum officinale) that litters the typical suburban yard, the two are not related. This art is so realistic, we almost want to wait around for the next big breeze to scatter the metal seeds over the Learning Center's grounds or into your back yard. However, if you look closely in the picture above, you'll see that the wind has already done that, and the evidence is on the roof of the building.

My Description

I know a dandelion when I see it. This thing looks just like the dandelion balls that are in my neighbor's yard, the ones that will eventually find their way into my nice grass. I've got to call out the artist on this one -- you can't draw us in close and then pull the ol' switcheroo on us. Not fair. There are only about five people in this valley who even know what an agoseris is. Everyone else is going to call it like they see it, including me.

I don't poison Geum triflorum

Sure, I get it; it wouldn't be kosher to glorify an invasive species at a place meant to bring attention to our local ecosystem and native plants. Great. I'm all for that. But there are hundreds of other plants you could've picked that don't look exactly like the bane of every lawn owner in the civilized world. Yep, it's a very cool-looking piece of art, but at the same time I'm admiring it I'm remembering all the time I've had to spend killing those bastards. Normally I like art's ability to mix the good and the bad, but in this case it just ruins a good walk.

Here's an idea: how about going with Old Man's Whiskers (Geum triflorum) instead? I've seen it not far from here, they disperse their seeds in a similar fashion, and they look just as cool. Even better, I don't cuss them out every weekend during the spring, summer, and fall when I have to spray them with Weed B Gone. See, no negative associations! That makes me feel super.

Particulars
Boise-the-Great Name: The Big Dandelion
Real Name: Aero Agoseris
Type: Metalwork
Artist: Mark Baltes
Completed: 2008
Where: Foothills Learning Center (up 8th Street)

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