New guest blogger Clean.Living.Clare is here to help us get that cosy feeling using plants, nature and the outdoors:
Did you know that Denmark is the second happiest nation in the world? So what makes the Danes so happy? Well they put it down to ‘hygge’.
With a name like that, you could be mistaken for thinking that perhaps everyone in Denmark runs around hugging each other especially on those cold, long winter nights.
But no, ‘hygge’ pronounced ‘hoo-gah’, means creating a nice, cosy atmosphere where you can enjoy the good things in life with good people around you, finding little pockets of happiness and pleasure in your life and living for the now.
I must admit that since I came across the term ‘hygge’ a few months ago, I have been keen to find ways that I can adopt more of it into my lifestyle, home and my garden.
So here’s 7 ways that you can add a bit of ‘hygge’ to your garden.
#1 Sunshine, sunshine, sunshine
A bright blue sky on a sunny day gives us all a spring in our step. As long as your sun exposure is safe, then it allows your body to make vitamin D, a vitamin that many of us are deficient in these days yet is linked to numerous health benefits. A summerhouse in your garden positioned for optimal sunshine allows you to safely make the most of sunshine all year but particularly in the winter if your summerhouse is heated.
#2 Candles and lanterns … and firepits
On summer evenings as dusk falls adorn your garden with gorgeous candles and lanterns. They will create a gentle glow whilst you are socialising with your friends outdoors. At the height of summer you might want to use citronella candles to ward of insects. Firepits are great for adding heat to the garden on summer evenings but how about toasting marshmallows in the winter – hold on, what about s’mores!
#3 The first signs of spring
I know that it happens every year, but after the depths of winter I never fail to get excited seeing the first flowers of spring bulbs. Whether its snowdrops, crocus, daffodils ….. it’s a sign that warmer, brighter days are on their way. These early spring bulbs need to be planted in the autumn ideally by the end of September, with tulips being planted in November. When the rest of the garden is looking bare, the cheery blooms of these spring favourites definitely create a pocket of happiness.
#4 Fragrance isn’t just for the summer garden
Did you know that you can get shrubs that flower in the winter with amazing fragrances? Some of the most fragrant include Sarcococca hookeriana var. digyna, Sarcococca hookeriana var. humilis and Sarcococca confusa, Daphne odora ‘Aureomarginata’, Viburnum x bodnantense ‘Dawn’ and Chimonanthus praecox ‘Luteus’. In addition to delicious fragrance these shrubs are also evergreen, great for adding some life to the winter garden.
#5 Attract wildlife to the garden
There’s lots of discussion these days about planet Earth’s reliance on bees and rightly so. But they aren’t the only beneficial wildlife in the garden. There are lots of ways to attract wildlife both from the choice of plants in your garden to the food and shelter that you can provide. Of course some wildlife is more welcome than others but for the ones that we do welcome who doesn’t love the joy that the sight of these garden friends brings.
#6 Bring the outside in
Make sure that you grow some flowers that you can cut to bring indoors. Choose varieties wisely and you can have a supply of blooms for weeks on end for example with dahlias. If you have the space, then have a go at growing your own vegetables or salad leaves. If space is limited then many varieties are suitable for containers. There’s even revolutionary plants for containers such as the Tomtato™ where you can grow both tomatoes and potatoes on one plant! Whilst few of us can achieve the likes of Tom and Barbara’s self sufficiency (The Good Life sitcom from the 1970s!), if you’ve never grown something that you can either eat or use in your home – do it! It’s special.
#7 Take the inside out
Make your outside space a place that you want to spend time in. Whether it’s cosy furniture (ok maybe not a guitar like the lady in this image!) or an extra special comfy seat. Or maybe wrap yourself up in blankets on a clear night to stargaze and try to wish on a shooting star.
Your garden is your little bit of nature, however big or small – make it into something special – just for you and the special people in your life. #hygge
Join Clare and her no-fuss, clean living lifestyle by visiting her blog here.