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  • Writer's pictureSofias Country Gardens

Five promises for the new year

Raseborgs castle

I love the new year! It is my favourite time of year, filled with the promise of new beginnings and a fresh start. Living in Finland I also love the fact that as each day passes, it gets lighter and lighter for months to come. While all the people around me moan about the lack of daylight and the cold, I skip about singing the praise of extended daylight hours and long blue evenings. In January the evenings already starts to lengthen and as winter progresses they just last longer and longer, bringing with it magical blue hues to the dusky twilight when night sets in. The mornings too are beginning to return; gone is the intense blackness of November when it never seems to get light. Instead the winter darkness gives way to the joy of morning light that each day finds me earlier and earlier. As much as autumn is all darkness and night, winter and spring is all about the returning light. With that comes new energy to fulfil all the things that were left undone last year. So here are my New Years resolutions:

1. I promise to get out more

I love walking. Boomer my trusted four-legged friend will verify that, as will most of my two-legged friends too. A few years ago I suddenly discovered what a lovely way to socialise walking is, and since then most of my friends have learned that if they really want to see me the best way to tempt me away from whatever project I am working on - or Netflix as it may be in the evenings - is to suggest having a walk. There is a rhythm to discussions held when walking, and if ever I have a problem there is no better way to find a solution than to methodically chomp through it over a long walk. An added benefit is that with all the fresh air and oxygen I get from walking an hour a day I get a natural giddy high. So this year I resolve to get out more and really drag both dog and friends with me to enjoy the wonders of the nature around us, regardless the weather.

The nature in Snappertuna is magic!

2. I resolve to read more

I love reading, but to me it is a luxury and not a given. Sometimes I don't read enough because I am too busy to read in the day, and too tired to read in the evening, but these last years I have lagged behind in my reading due to emotional reasons. I find that when I am unhappy or sad I simply can't read. Conversely, when I am happy reading is on top of my to do list. Last year I was intensely sad after my mother passed away, and almost all reading went out the window. Now that a year has passed, I find myself being drawn into the world of books again. Still, it is tentative and fragile, this feeling of peace and serenity and so I mostly reach out for my go-to literature: gardening books. I love gardening books! In fact, at Humlegård I have a whole bookshelf dedicated to nothing else but gardening books. So this year I will hold on to my happiness and spend more time reading, especially during winter evenings when it is too cold and dark to do anything else.

I love gardening books!

3. I will plant roses

As you probably already have gathered I only have one fault to my stars - which is that I suffer from plant envy. I love visiting other peoples gardens, and feel true joy at the beauty of perfect plant combinations, but still a small part of me shouts with longing to have it in my own garden as well. For many years I have been longing for roses, but felt they are out of my reach. Too difficult, too temperamental... they don't like the cold and are sure to need too much care. But then I had an epiphany while walking and talking with a friend. She was talking about handbag envy (something which I never really understood) and I blatantly suggested that if she really liked said handbag so much then why didn't she just save up and get one. She looked at me sourly and said "Well its the same as your roses. You talk about them all the time so why don't you get them?" Yes, why don't we? Why do we postpone things that we think will make us happy? Is it that we instinctively know that a handbag or a rose arbour is not the solution to our problems, or are we just too busy with life to make the effort required to see if, indeed, it were the solution to our problems? So this year I will give in to my lust and make a rose arbour in the garden at Humlegård. It might not be the magical solution to everything, but I bet you it will give me hours of happiness!

Inspiration for my future rose arbour

4. I will embrace the imperfect

As anyone who has ever met me will testify, I am a terrible perfectionist and pedantic. It is a joke amongst my friends that there is no point in trying to help me with loading the dishwasher as I will invariably re-stack it immediately. The same goes for weeding. After once allowing a friend to help me weed the kitchen garden and discovering they had pulled out all my garlic by misstake, I have never let anyone help me with weeding again. At most, I will place them with an enormous glas of wine on a chair and tell them to entertain me while I weed. This usually works out well as a compromise. (I do however let friends help with the harvesting - there is less that can go wrong and it gives people such tremendous joy to gather the evenings supper.) So, I end up frustrated at the imperfection of my garden as it ends up with plenty of weeds that I just don't have the time to get rid of. Even if I spend two hours a day weeding and mulch like a maniac, there is always more little buggers turning up to the party than I manage to get rid of. So this year I shall embrace the lack of perfection in my garden, and focus on the success rather than the failure.

I will focus on the beauty

5. I resolve to feel less guilty about taking small holidays

Perhaps I have a naturally guilty conscience, but I always feel bad for slacking. There are two types of people in this world: when told "We should rake the lawn." the one type thinks "Yeah, someone really ought to rake the lawn..." and the other type goes "Ok, lets go, where are the tools?". I belong to the second category people. Even when on holiday, my mind is always racing and thinking about all the productive things I should or could be doing instead. What a waste! So this year I have decided to really enjoy every moment of what I am doing, regardless of if I am being productive or slacking. That way I figure I will be more present in my life, and perhaps better at whatever it is I am doing at the time.

Raseborg Castle ruins in July 2017

With this I wish you a very Happy New Year 2018 and the fulfilment of all your New Years promises, dreams and resolutions!

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