March 22, 2014

 

earth-full-disk-first-day-spring

Earth on the 1st day of spring

March 20th marked the first day of spring for us here in the Northern Hemisphere.  Known more scientifically as the vernal equinox, derived from the Medieval Latin word equinoxium (for Latin aequinoctium), meaning “equal nights.” This seasonal event is not only cause for a festive mood and invigorating spirit for most after a long, hard winter, but it actually marks one of the most tremendous astronomical events of the year!

 

On this day the sun moves from south of the celestial equator to north of the equator. The days, which have been getting longer since winter solstice on Dec. 21, now equal the nights in length.  From now until the summer solstice on June 21, the days will gradually get longer as the sun moves higher in the sky, giving more hours of daylight – and eventually warmer days!

 

After the winter we have experienced here in Chicago, we are all very ready for some much needed warmer weather, and I know the residents of The Danish Home sure are!

 

newvanOn a recent visit to see Mormor she reiterated this sentiment wholeheartedly.  I sat with her and a few of her friends and we chatted about everyday things.  They told me about how some residents recently participated in the St. Patrick’s Day parade in the new Danish Home bus, and how fun it was!    They also told me how they are all so excited to be able to start work in their garden again when the weather warms up.  Mormor explained how relaxing and calming it is to work in the garden and be outdoors in their beautiful neighborhood.

 

Lincoln Park Conservatory 1900Speaking of beautiful neighborhoods and gardens in Chicago, all this talk about the changing seasons, the weather and gardening got me thinking about what a Chicago spring must have been like back in the late 1800-early 1900’s.  Did Anna have a garden in her backyard where she grew produce for her recipes?  Did the women have a gardening club?

 

Chicago City Hall Green Roof

Green roof at City Hall

Chicago has such a rich history of world-renowned gardens, and parks.  Their conservatories were described as “landscape art under glass” because they were so unique and marvelous. In the 1830’s Chicago’s emerging government even adopted the motto “Urbs in horto,” a Latin phrase meaning “City in a Garden.”  This motto still pertains to this beautiful City, which is home to hundreds of green roofs, gorgeous tulips that line the streets each spring, and the magnificent Millennium Park.

Tulips lining Michigan Ave.

Tulips line Michigan Ave.

It is inspiring to live in a city that appreciates such beauty, and I’m sure those women felt the same!  Did they visit the famous conservatories, gardens and parks of their time and marvel at their beauty?  I like to think that they did and we have that to share that with them.

 

Now that the first day of spring upon us, our green thumbs are itching, and dreams of  gorgeous and fruitful gardens are on the horizon we can cross our fingers that the snow has subsided and that warmer days are bound to come (someday soon!).

 

I can’t wait to see what the residents of The Danish Home have in store for their community garden this spring and summer.  Stay tuned!  I’ll be talking with them and getting some pictures of their progress.

 

Do you have any gardening tips that you would like to share?  Leave a comment below.  I’d love to hear them and I’m sure others would too!

 

For some great gardening ideas and inspiration visit our newest Pinterest board!