Hibiscus, Prosecco, and Friluftsliv

It’s almost 2018.

Just three sleeps away and I am just now writing my first entry of 2017.  It’s not that I didn’t have any gardening adventures.  It’s just that for various reasons I didn’t type my thoughts on visiting the Royal Gardens of Kew and St. James’s Park.  I didn’t lament on the back pain I experienced when building a retaining wall or the mistake of feeding my (would have flowered beautifully) lilac bush with food that was meant for azaleas.  I certainly didn’t strike keys to the joy of watching little birds raise their new families in my tree branches.  I just didn’t this year and I’m not exactly sure why since it was a very green year.

Maybe it was all the rain.  Endless rain it seemed.  On vacation.  At home.  Monsoons or so it seemed.  I still went outside to be amongst the greenery and even though I’d come back inside wet and muddy, I was always a bit happier.  My mind a little less chaotic.  When the sunny season arrived, I slathered on sunscreen, attempted a veggie garden, and watched the flowers (and weeds) grow.  My love affair with nature has been blooming more and more each year it seems.  I worked hard in that wild backyard of mine battling blackberry vines, giving the ivy haircuts, and powering the push mower.  I guess I just was too tired to fight my failing laptop when I came back inside.

Now that I’m armed with a new laptop, I suppose I have no more excuses other than the hibernal solstice, which is the much more appropriate name for winter solstice.  Hibernal must be a form of hibernation.  I refuse to look this up, because I want to believe that this is the reason my body has had no energy these past couple months and has been trying to hibernate.  Now that the solstice has passed, I (want to believe) that I can look forward to more energy and eventually spring when mother nature will wake the earth (and me) again.

In the dead of winter (I am prone to dramatics and apparently parentheses), the only flowers in my presence are the various shades of pink from the Christmas cactus my mother gave me as a housewarming gift and the syrupy hibiscus flower currently residing in my flute of prosecco.  Confession: my cats have nibbled on a good deal of the cactus and I am on my second hibiscus flower.  Those flowers are edible and taste like raspberries.  At least that’s what the package says.  It looks like a sea anemone and the first one I ate tasted of mostly prosecco.  Chewy prosecco.  Now I’m wondering what wild hibiscus flowers taste like.  I plan to Google this since trial and error in the plant consumption realm can be quite risky.

One risky thing worth mentioning here is that my husband and I very recently sold our house and purchased a new one with a yard almost twice as big, but without all the trees.  I will surely miss all those established trees and the hill where the wild things grew, but I’m very much looking forward to spring to see what this new green space reveals.  I’m hoping some pretty flowers will breach the surface when the weather warms, but other than the few bulbs I planted, I’m not overly optimistic.  Garden fabric is everywhere.  I’ll be spending a lot of time outdoors soon I think.

At the close of this year I’ve finally found a word for that happiness I feel with the sun on my face or even the rain pelting my head.  It’s friluftsliv.  It’s a tribute to my Swedish heritage and I plan to fully embrace it.

Whatever comes in 2018, I hope there are flowers.  Lots and lots of blooms even if there are some weeds interspersed.


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