Spring Hygge Anyone?

Spring

Raindrops and puddles

Laughter, dressed in yellow coats,

Umbrellas in hand

Yeah. Right.

Have you seen any kids lately wearing those Hallmark-style yellow raincoats? Me neither. Spring here in Wisconsin seems to be one wet, cold, windy day after another. Kids still love their umbrellas, but we all seem to be wearing damp jackets and holding our breath…just waiting for summer to arrive.

Have you heard of Wisconsin’s eleven seasons? Winter, Fool’s Spring, Second Winter, Spring of Deception, Third Winter, Mud Season, Actual Spring, Summer, False Fall, Second Summer (one week), and Winter. 

Spring is sooooooo long. We feel impatience. There is a restlessness in the air. 

So, how do you get your mind in a place of appreciation, mindfulness, and gratitude?

“Hue-Guh”

Many people have heard of the Danish word for coziness, contentment, and well-being by appreciating a simple life–hygge. But I’m learning that the concept doesn’t end when the snowflakes stop flying, the cozy blankets are put away, and the hot chocolate is all gone. Yet, I’m still feeling the need to consciously cultivate gratitude in my life… for my life. The Danes actually have seasonal variations for hygge throughout the year.

  • Forårshygge – Spring-hygge
  • Sommerhygge – Summer-hygge
  • Efterårshygge – Autumn-hygge
  • Vinterhygge – Winter-hygge

Here in Wisconsin, spring is in full bloom. After the wet, dreary, grey days of early spring, every sunny mild day is a sign of approaching summer.

When I taught First Graders, we would regularly struggle to keep the kids in their coats at recess in the spring. Once it was sunny and above freezing, the kiddos would toss their outerwear on the pavement as they played catch&run with the football or swung from the monkey bars.

One of my favorite activities from teaching was exploring seeds and growing things with my class. We studied the germination of lima beans and started sunflowers in recycled milk cartons.

One of the reasons I’m feeling so good about my post-teaching life is that I am still planting seeds and growing stuff.

This growing stuff and appreciating growing things is a huge part of Forårshygge for me. (Side note: Do you have any idea how to actually pronounce this word? As I write this, it’s really bothering me that I don’t.) 

I’ve seen a few other posts about what people are doing in the spring to experience and live “Forårshygge”.  The common thread that I see is honoring growth and renewal. 

Here are other ways I am growing things and renewing my life this spring…

Grow Dammit!

I planted seeds in trays weeks ago and set them by my basement window on heated mats. The tomatoes are a disappointment, it looks like somebody sat on the coleus, but the peppers look strong and healthy. It was a month ago that we moved the flats out into my little greenhouse. I’ll transplant them into the garden as soon as it stops raining outside.

Spring Cleaning Anyone?

Open the windows and clean spider webs out of the corners at the ceiling. When I was teaching, I either didn’t notice the cobwebs when I cleaned up in the evening–or, it was too much effort to get them down from the high corners. Well ladies, now. is. the. time! I also open the windows to let in the spring air, the house feels fresher. This can totally be ramped up if you hang washed bedsheets out to dry. (I actually hang mine on the deck railing since I don’t have a clothesline.)

Is it still alive?

Move and group houseplants from inside to outside. Most of the greenery in my house is more than a decade old. They thrive from May to October outside and then rather hibernate in a north-facing breakfast room during Wisconsin’s frigid months. 

A Little Vase of Something

But the most important of all the Forårshygge in my life is located on my nightstand in the bedroom. Beginning at the end of April, I bring a small, fresh blossom or mini bouquet and put it in a tiny vase. Spring begins with yellow forsythia twigs and in quick succession leads to pink tulips, yellow daffodils, miniature lily of the valley, and fragrant lilacs. This little display, along with a lamp, a pile of books, reading glasses and the vase makes me happy. 

It is like a neon sign to my brain reminding me to pause, smile, and breathe when I glance at it

Spring is finally here and there are no raincoated kids holding umbrellas in my life. Are these real for anyone? Instead, I have shrimpy seedlings waiting to be planted, soggy jeans drying for hours on my porch railing, and dirt circles on my carpet where a pot sat through winter.

We can only do what we can, moment by moment, to cultivate coziness… contentment, and…well-being.

Breathe.
Who is Lisa

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Fern Gardeners…Beware!

Years ago when I realized I had inherited the gardening gene from a favorite uncle of mine, I lived in a different house, on a different street, and had different sun exposure.

There was full sun on all sides of my just-built house. It was fun planting flowers such as snapdragons, marigolds, zinnias, geraniums and I achieved a profusion of flowers and consistently brilliant colors. I spent hundreds of dollars every spring purchasing annuals to accomplish this result. 

Then, we moved, and guess what? I now live in a house with mature maple and birch trees. This translates into a yard with almost no sun. Can you say…gardening challenge?  As noted before I was used to lots of sunlight and could grow almost all sun-loving plants. 

So now I am limited to impatients, begonias, hostas, and whatever else thrives in shade…ummmm,(mushrooms anyone?). Unfortunately, I find this rather limiting, not to say, quite boring and rather unrewarding.

I decided that the areas that I created were far too extensive for annuals, and most annuals need…say it again, SUN.  So, a perennial shade garden would be the way to go. 

To make a long story short, I was gifted a couple of beautiful ferns. Probably two or three and planted them. I enjoyed the fact that once you planted them, you didn’t need to stake, fertilize, or replant yearly. In addition, they added a lushness, a cool, soft, green to my garden.

Sounds good.

I’m in.

Bring on the ferns!

Well, now several years later, guess what? I have so many ferns that I don’t know what to do with them. And, once ferns take over, they produce so much more shade that they block other shade-loving perennials from flourishing. Now, this could be pretty if you don’t like a variation in your garden, but since I need variety, this just doesn’t work for me. 

Another problem… they are beautiful in the spring, most of the summer, BUT when it gets to the “dog days of summer” they turn brown and look like shit – really ugly, brown, dry, crumply leaves. The result, a really uninviting garden. 

So, this spring I have been trying to keep on top of this problem by digging out ferns by the bag,  bucket, and garbage can full. So far, I have dug out around a hundred and fifty ferns and there appears to be no end.  Just a note–this needs to be done when the ferns are first coming up otherwise they tend to flop over and look quite stupid for the duration of the summer.

I have a feeling that I am doomed to have this be an unending problem. So gardeners beware… don’t plant ferns unless you want a “fern garden”!

Or, look more on the positive side and trust gardener and blogger Janet Kilburn Phillips at cronesgarden.com when she says…

 

“There are no gardening mistakes, only experiments.”



Who Is Sandy
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Sandy’s 9 Tips for a Beautiful Garden

Here are some of my gardening tips:

When to Plant

Iceman Days.  Do not plant annuals or vegetable plants until after “Iceman Days”.  Iceman Days seem to be different every year, but when I looked it up for this year it says they are May 11, 12, and 13.  It has something to do with the moon.  (This is taken from the Farmer’s Almanac).  If you are really interested in the history of this just go to Google as Google knows everything.  Not being a farmer, just an unknowledgeable girl, this saved me quite a bit of money.  It really seems true and I follow it religiously.  One year I put out impatients the first week of May and it actually snowed on them.  So much for pretty plants.  They don’t like to be frozen!!!

Hostas

Don’t plant (most) hostas in the sun.  Read the labels and make sure if they will tolerate the sun or not. They will grow, but the leaves have a tendency of burning.  Unfortunately, I don’t believe burned leaves is the look you will want to achieve.  (Reading the labels for all plants is essential to proper maintenance)

Mulching

I don’t mulch around annuals as this seems to stunt their growth.  Mulching around other items in the garden does provide a clean appearance and helps retain moisture.

Overcrowding  

Overcrowding is another way to prevent plants from thriving.  Allowing space between your plants is beneficial for their growth.  This is something I fail at miserably because I prefer immediate gratification and want to see full planters and gardens.  

Weeding

Weeding, of course, is really important.  For some of us that don’t mind weeding, if taken an area at a time, it can be rewarding.  Lisa and I actually tend to weed anywhere we are; restaurants, stores, other people’s houses, wherever we are standing and notice weeds.  It might be considered a mental problem by some!! (Michelle thinks we are nuts)

Fertilizing

Fertilizing is a must, even though this is something that I don’t do as often as I should.  This is especially important for container planting.

Larger Pots

I used to do a lot of planting in little pots.  I have now gone to fewer, but much larger planters.  The flowers thrive much better.  This creates less fussing over.  

20-minute gardening

Don’t overdue.  Don’t do it all in one day if you have a lot of gardening.  By taking 20 minutes each day to do your garden maintenance you’ll enjoy the process more.

Edging

A nice crisp edge to your garden completes a finished look.  Even if there are weeds in the middle, a clean edge makes your gardens look cared for both far away and close up.

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Gardening – ‘Chelle

hqdefaultEveryone has decided to write about gardening.  What do I have to write about gardening?  I hate gardening!!  Mom always tells me that as a kid, I loved to garden.  No – I loved to plant a few flowers for her.  That is what I liked to do.  I don’t like the weeding, the soil preparation, the watering.  Ugh.  It’s a never-ending job!!  Now, granted – I DO love the end result when someone else does it for me.  (aka Mom – “Thanks Mom!!”)

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Gardening – Judy

2nd summer garden picI was never much of a gardener. As a kid, I usually got stuck out in Mom’s garden in the prickly raspberries picking berries or weeding between the brick walk in the back yard. To me gardening was hard work and no fun.

When my sister got married and bought her first home, these beautiful gardens starting popping up. How did she do that I wondered?

When I left home I lived in apartments, condos and townhouses so I concentrated on indoor plants. I actually got quite proficient with them.

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Downshifting – Judy

Bench

Beaver Dam has become a member of something called “Blue Zones”. I am a beginner in

what that means exactly- but with time I’m sure I’ll be on board. One of the elements that resonates with me in the “Blue Zones” information is something called “downshifting”.

What does that mean exactly? To me, it means letting go of all the crazy things that make me grumpy, psycho and just plain bitchy.

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