Yesterday I took the international playgroup to enjoy the early spring in the forest. There’s a special place I know of where you can find the beautiful and rare spring flower Anemone Hepatica (blåsippa). We spent the afternoon in a natural clearing, enjoying the sun, nature and of course fika (fruit and biscuits). Climbing tree trunks and rocks, picking flowers (the non protected vitsippa) and learning about the Swedish nature made a great start of the weekend.
The Swedish Environmental Protection Agency (Naturvårdsverket) issues national protection orders for wild plants and flowers. Additional regional rules may also apply. Together these regulate how you may handle certain protected species; pick but not collect to sell, no digging up by roots, no picking at all.
The Anemone Hepatica is protected in parts of Sweden. In some counties it must not be picked at all. The blåsippa is a rare and cherished spring flower in Sweden. It even has its own children’s song “Blåsippan ute i backarna står”!
Link to protected plants and wildlife in Sweden; Swedish only.
My selection for #worldcolors April – yellow – is a poor one. But I decided to post a few of my photos rather than none at all!
This time of the year us Swedes grab our mugs,
sit outside on a bench,
wrapped in blankets,
faces turned to the sun like sunflowers,
enjoying the first warm rays of light.
We are all probably side by side in a row,
pressed against a house wall sheltering us from the wind.
The coffee is long cold.
It doesn’t matter,
as long as we can take our fika outside we are happy!
Soon the grill will be out too.
In October I passed by a pre school. The kneeling gardener (yes they actually had one!) was planting bulbs. She told me she wanted the kids to see a heart of snow drops first thing in the morning when spring arrives. Isn’t that just adorably lovely!
A little bird told me spring flowers are the best.
Read about Swedes craze for tulips here. Not to be mixed with a tulip craze.
Tulips are my favorite flowers. The first sign of spring during our long dark winters; the first pastel colors after the intense reds and greens of Christmas. I love them! But I´m not alone – tulips are popular in Sweden. Swedes buy most tulips per person in the world, adding up to one million per day. US is still the largest market but the buying pattern of the Swedes- often a bunch per week – is far from matched. So even buying flowers can be culturally different, as well as the value of the flower. We happily buy them for ourselves when we do our weekly grocery shopping, whereas in other countries they might be considered more exclusive. Today– Jan 15 – is the Day of the Tulip in Sweden – “Tulpanens dag”. And yes, I bought some today! In spite of my admiration for tulips I haven’t grown many of them in my garden over the years. You see, it is not only Swedish people that can’t resist them; they seem to be favorite food for part of our wildlife. Last fall though I planted quite a few which I will guard vigorously when the time comes. Actually, due to the mild winter, one or two are peaking up already. As an expat I was lucky to enjoy smaller, botanical tulips in one of my rented gardens.
Read more about tulips here, Tulpanguiden in Swedish, or just enjoy the pictures!
Small Swedish lesson:
en tulpan – a tulip
tulpaner – tulips
en blomma – a flower
blommor – flowers
en bukett – a bouquet
att slå ut – to bloom/to enter the flowering state
en utslagen tulpan – a blooming tulip
att sloka – to wilt, to flag
vissna – to wither, to shrivel
vissen – shrivelled
en rabatt – a flower bed
en dag – a day
Tulpanens dag – the Day of the Tulip