Our lawn won't get any prizes.

If there were a contest for worst-dressed lawns, we'd have a winner.

When warm weather arrived this spring, a bumper crop of dandelions sprouted on the lawn's edges and smiled up from the cracks in on our driveway.

Before the concept of the lush beautiful lawn — the perfect turf — became popular, dandelions were considered a prize unto themselves.

Over millennia, these golden plants were valued for their medicinal properties as well as for their place in the salad bowl. Dandelion wine is still sold today.

But in recent years, we've been knocking off dandelions as if they were little toy soldiers. It seems so simple. Just a squirt of an herbicide — and the dandelion is history.

But believe it or not a dandelion-dotted lawn may be good for you and your neighbors.

It helps to remember that dandelions are one of the first links in that magical chain of events bringing dinner to our tables.

This sunny flower is one of the first spring foods for bees. If bees survive the winter, they look to dandelions and other wildflowers for nutrition — so they can begin the work of pollinating our fruits and vegetables.

As you know, the bees are in a pickle right now. Their population is dwindling. Let's not kill off anything that helps the bees.

Another reason to let dandelions survive rests in the fact that the same herbicides that are deadly to dandelions seems to be harmful to humans — especially the unborn and perhaps young children.

One popular herbicide contains an ingredient with a tongue twister of a name: polyethoxylated tallowamine, or POEA. According to Scientific American (June 23, 2009) POEA is linked to damage to the developing fetus.

Another lawn product contains the compound 2,4-D — one of the same chemicals contained in Agent Orange during the Vietnam War. While 2,4-D was not the most deadly chemical in that defoliant, do you really want your kids playing on an Agent Orange lawn?

Certainly, this research needs replication. But what if these herbicides continue to prove dangerous?

Are you willing to take the chance?

Retired psychologist Valerie McCullough and husband Bill have lived in Loveland since 1964 and have raised four daughters. She writes a blog on the Reporter-Herald website. She welcomes readers to share their own experiences or feedback on her column by responding to her blog.