As we close in on late fall and the days get shorter, I am considering ways to bring more light and joy into my life. I decided to decorate my greenhouse with lights. Not grow lights. (They have to be placed 15 cm above plants to make a difference.) No, I am thinking about decorating generally and decorative lights specifically. Lights to stretch the beauty of my greenhouse through the upcoming social season and spread a bit of cheer.
Just where to begin is the problem with any new task, and I am looking for inspiration far and wide.
Embracing Hygge: Transforming My Greenhouse into a Cozy Oasis
The Danish obsession with getting cozy is called Hygge. To summarize from my searches, it means “taking time away from the daily rush to be together with people you care about - to relax and enjoy life's quieter pleasures.”
This sounds perfect in my greenhouse this winter and I am immediately thinking of adding from blankets to chairs, overhead branches jazzed with twinkling lights and candles propped on planters. Basically, imagine sitting in my cozy greenhouse, under a blanket, when the wind is blowing hard outside. Most of my winter plants, like spinach and arugula and mustard greens, tolerate a lot of cold. I’ve moved the tender plants out to the compost or into my warm house, and I don’t want to spoil my hardy plants by heating my winter greenhouse excessively.
Instead, to get the full Hygge experience, day or night, I wear a coat in the greenhouse as I sip tea or watch candles burn down. I look to sources such as Pinterest for images, like the one below, of decorated branch displays inside a house and adapt these ideas for the greenhouse.
Collaborating with Crafty Friends
I am never going to win the “crafter” of the year award, so I bet on someone I know is good at bringing beauty to space. Basically, I turn to my friend Lori for ideas. Nurse by day, decorating fiend on weekends. Lori takes seasonal decorating seriously. Her greenhouse has a round table in the center and it is the visual focal point year-round. It is also practical, used as a potting bench or for spontaneous coffee parties. Come late fall, Lori’s collection of potted evergreens replaces her summer pots, and she decorates them with lights.
While Lori’s backyard greenhouse is food centered in summer it is all seasonal joy in winter. Suddenly, I am thinking ahead to holiday entertaining and imagining my greenhouse view from my kitchen window in the darker days of the year. It is too late to buy seasonal evergreens where I live but lights are still available so I put on my thinking cap.
From Storage to Radiance: Reviving Christmas Lights for a Cozy Ambiance
Because I moved recently, I have boxes and boxes labelled “Christmas” inside my garage and after getting inspired by Lori I am delighted to find a 21’ string of rope lights. Helpful husband stands on the ladder while I pass up 8” long, clear zip-ties. He ties the light string to the inside framing of the greenhouse where it faces my house. I plug the lights into an outdoor-rated timer, so it won’t be affected by humidity. Inside my greenhouse lights come on automatically at 4:00 PM and go off at 10:00 pm. I’ll never have to run outside to turn lights on or off again.
I also plan to hang a hygge-inspired swag of branches from the center of my greenhouse peak and decorate it with tiny fairy lights. But I’ll wait for Lori’s visit to build my branch swag and then I’ll connect it to the same timer as my rope lights so everything comes on and off together.
Cultivating Growth and Comfort: Balancing Plants and Decor
In winter I do continue to grow hardy food in boxes, trays, bags and containers of all sorts. But seasonal lights are not grow lights. They are too dim, too high and will not affect the growth of my greenhouse plants.
And this year, I am reserving some of the greenhouse space as “Me” space. Yesterday, it was one of those fiercely windy November days outside when the leaves no longer drift off trees; instead, they blow about briskly. But when I showed friends my new greenhouse and they enjoyed my spinach taste test (Yukon spinach, seeded September19) their favorite part was just sitting in my sunny greenhouse on my comfy chairs.
While watching my friends all Hygge cozy in the shelter of my greenhouse, with gale winds blowing leaves uphill outside, I am glad I can extend the greenhouse pleasure beyond food tasting to the beauty and comfort of the space.
Whimsical Delights: Tips for Extra Coziness and Warmth in Your Greenhouse
And one last tip from Lori: hang small lights tangled in big, knotted balls or purchase oversized decorations for an extra whimsical treat. When I dig lights out of the last of the boxes, I see they are already in a big, tangled ball so it’s perfect! They are ready to use as is - if only I can find the plug end!
Adding a little Hygge and light and warmth to the dark days of the season brings pleasure and happiness to my backyard greenhouse and I hope it brings you seasonal joy too!