The One Bouquet per Day Letters | March 2021
A warm hello from my neck of the woods to yours!

Time truly is flying, only five weeks left until the ninth season of my daily bouquets will start - and if a friend of mine wouldn’t have posted about it on her timeline, I would have missed out on the Spring equinox for the first time in years. My head is busy, books and papers are piling up on my desk, and I am the best example that one does not always practise what one preaches: Spending enough time in nature every day has come up short lately and I guess that I am not the only one who feels overwhelmed from time to time by all the cleansing, weeding, releasing - even in a metaphorical sense - that this second lockdown spring brings.
Have you ever come across the lines March comes in like a lion and leaves like a lamb? It is an old proverb that refers to the improvement of the weather during the month of March. After a mild February, month number three came dressed as a lion with a drastic switch back to winter with harsh frost nights and snow on the roofs, turned into a lamb for a couple of days, only to then turn back into a lion again with rain, stormy winds and a drop of temperatures. It truly tested my patience and there were days where I really struggled going outside to catch some daylight or leave my desk and get things done in the garden.

March is not through yet, and whether it will end on a kind and warm note or leave like a lion, the word that has led me through this month though is neither lion nor lamb but hope. Finally, the daylight hours have won over the hours of darkness and herald a new and fresh beginning. And although I missed out on Spring equinox this year, it feels to me as if someone has pulled a curtain. Nature is full of energy, full of abundance and enthusiasm - and slowly, slowly I am shifting my focus from inward to outward again. It couldn’t have come any timelier.
Last month some of you sent me personal messages curiously asking what I am working on while the theatres are closed. There are two projects that have my full focus right now. One of them is a series of texts and photos for a large collaboration of theatres and orchestras in Thuringia which I am eager to share with you in a couple of months. The other one is lectures that I am preparing for Erfurt University, where I will be holding a seminar on imaginary places and invisible friends in children’s literature during the Spring semester. And last but not least, I am mentally preparing for the 9th season of the flower project, starting the 1st of May.
I had also promised you to put more focus on edible wild greens in the coming newsletters which is why I am sharing a recipe for a ground elder quiche with goat cheese with you. It lets you combine an unpleasant garden pastime with a pleasant one - weeding and having an alfresco lunch if the weather allows. This month’s book tip for you is about finding new expressions for the changing world we are living in - and last but not least (since Easter is around the corner), I am also sharing a quick Easter decoration idea with pressed flowers with you, scroll down to read more.

See you in four weeks, please stay safe and healthy!

Warmly,

Juliane
 
Slow Flowers in March

Bright yellow is the colour of the month that is almost through. Winter aconites, coltsfoot and daffodils are popping up everywhere in the gardens and city parks. Although yellow is the colour I like the least in flowers, it couldn’t be more welcome at this time of the year. 

My favourite flower at this time of the year is The Bride, a delightfully fragrant narcissus poeticus variety with ivory petals. It makes an excellent cut flower, easy to grow in pots or in the garden, ideal for naturalising under bushes and trees.
 
Book Tip: Earth Emotions - New Words for a New World by Glenn A. Albrecht

Have you ever felt the pain when you realised the irrevocable transformation (or loss) of a place that once had been dear to you? The meadows where you played as a child where they then built a shopping centre. The river banks where you used to sit and read under an old willow tree, now straightened and concreted over in favour of a new motorway access. 

Solastalgia, formed by the combination of the Latin word sōlācium (comfort) and Ancient Greek algia (pain), is a term coined by eco-philosopher Glenn A. Albrecht that describes exactly that: The emotional distress we sense if we have to stand witness to such changes.
When I started to read Albrecht's book Earth Emotions - New Words for a New World last year, so much sounded familiar. Albrecht writes about our emotional bond with nature, about finding words for our feelings in a changing environment - and I was surprised by that even though I had indeed felt what he described, I had lacked a proper term for it before. Earth Emotions did not only bring a lot of clarity into this for me, it also is a book that shows roads to potential healthy destinations in our relationship with this planet. And if there is something we need more than ever, especially in the times of a pandemic where we start questioning the way we live, then this: Understanding our response to and our responsibility for nature. 
 
My March Bouquet

Narcissi, hellebores, last year's ornamental grass, cuttings from lavender, rosemary and corkscrew willow, picked behind our house and in the enchanted garden of my friend Antje where I took the photos for this month's newsletter. Isn't the vintage coffee tin beautiful, doubling as a vase (with a compote jar filled with water inside)? It is a gift I received from a former student a couple of weeks ago. 
 
Recipe of the month: Ground Elder Quiche with Goat Cheese

Ground elder (Aegopodium podagraria, also called goutweed) is a shade-loving and fast-growing weed that is hard to get rid of. We have lots of it in our garden and I have learned to simply accept its raison d'être. Among others, the foliage makes a great mulch to cover garden beds and can be used to make a great fertilizer. But the thing I like most about ground elder is that the leaves are edible and a great source of iron, magnesium and vitamin C. I like to use the young leaves in pesto, or like fresh spinach in soup or salads.
 
Disclaimer: Always ask an expert first before you eat any weed or other wild food. Only pick if you are 100% certain of the identity of the plant, forage responsibly and from spray-free areas only.
For the dough
200 gr spelt flour
75 gr cold salted butter
1 dl cold water
butter for greasing and flour for dusting
Round quiche tin (ø ca. 30cm) and parchment paper

For the filling
1 litre young ground elder leaves (if you can’t find any ground elder, use young nettles or dandelion leaves instead) 
1 onion, diced
100 g leeks, thinly sliced
4 eggs
200 g goat cheese, grated
100 g goat cheese in crumbs
2 dl cream
1 tsp salt
1 dl walnuts
pepper
Heat the oven to 220°C. Line the bottom of the quiche tin with parchment paper, grease the sides with butter and dust with flour. For the dough, sieve the flour into a large bowl, cut the butter into small cubes and mix with the flour. Add water, stir and then turn the mix onto a lightly floured board and knead until smooth, add more flour or water if needed. Refrigerate for 30 minutes. 

In the meantime, wash and drain the ground elder leaves. Fry the onion until golden, add the leek and ground elder leaves, stir and fry for a further minute, put aside and let cool for a bit. Whisk together eggs, cheese, cream, salt and pepper. Add walnuts and the fried ground elder leaves, blend well. 

Line the bottom and sides of the baking tin with the pie dough. Prick the crust with a fork and pour in the filling. Top with crumbs of goat cheese. Place the pie on the lowest rack of the oven and bake for 40 minutes. Serve together with a salad. 
 
DIY of the Month: Easter Eggs with Dried Flowers

A quick diy for the Easter table. No need go to the craft store: All you need is a handful of pressed flowers or leaves, some ribbon (paper stripes work just as fine) and a bit of glue.
Cut a piece of ribbon, glue it to the egg, then put a pressed flower or leaf on top. Done. 
If you don't have pressed flowers at hand, this is a simple trick that saves you plenty of time (I used it for this tutorial as well): 

Preheat your iron to the lowest temperature (that would be silk/ wool). Put a few flower heads on a sheet of silk paper or newspaper, cover with another sheet of paper. Press the hot iron on the upper sheet of taper, gently move it. Check the flowers after fifteen seconds, continue if needed. Usually it takes about one minute for the pansies or violets to dry.

I used brown eggs and find them beautiful just the way they are. If you would like to dye yours, I recommend red cabbage, blueberry juice, onion peel or turmeric as a natural dye. 
 
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Warmly, Juliane
 
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Juliane Solvång
The One Bouquet per Day Series
c/o Krämerloft Coworking Space
Bahnhofstr. 15
99084 Erfurt
Germany

email: hello@julianesolvang.com

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