Hair dryer

Today was one of those odd days you get here in southern Bavaria, where the wind comes from the South – föhn they call it here, which in my book translates to hair dryer, which makes total sense. If that happens and the skies are clear, the sun gets quite warm, and it can suddenly get quite comfortable spring weather. We are quite far South compared to where I used to live in the Netherlands, and you notice that the sun has a bit more power in this place. If only we would see it more often… Sometimes this föhn happens in December, January or February, and it’s just that little break you need. A little boost if you will. This winter, it seemed that the hair dryer wasn’t plugged in.

My winter depression is now in full swing. The months without much sun and the short days have taken their toll on my happiness and mental health levels. I love being outside when the weather is good. I don’t mind cold, but I do mind cold and humid. I also very much mind the lack of sunlight. My current home town may not be ideal for me in that regard. This town is built on top of a swamp, pretty much, so winters are foggy, cold, humid. Absolutely gloomy. This year, the winter felt extra long. Maybe because of the continuous sickness that kept haunting us. I don’t know. I’m really done with winter. I need sun.

Today I got what I wanted. A day of spring, despite frost at night, the day temperature was almost twenty degrees centigrade. At the end of the afternoon I used the beautiful weather to be outside. I pruned my roses, and bit by bit I’m making our new home’s garden into my own. It’s an old garden, and those roses were ancient and in desperate need of removal of old dead wood, and a trim by someone that actually knows how to prune them. So I did that. These are going to be amazing this summer. The magnolia tree is about to burst, too. And the previous tenants apparently went all out with spring flowers. Bulbs are sprouting everywhere. I can’t complain. I love it. A bit of color during my winter depression does not hurt.

Unfortunately, as usual, föhn ends. Tomorrow we should be back to rain and misery. But it was fun while it lasted.

Published by Robin Heinen

Father of two | Husband | Entomologist and Ecologist | Postdoctoral Researcher @ TUM | Traveler | Coffee Addict

7 thoughts on “Hair dryer

  1. It’s blustery but sunny here in the Touraine too. The season is slowly changing. But we are off to the Netherlands on Saturday. It’s only just dawned on me that the weather may be grey and cold. Just because I’m on holiday doesn’t mean the weather is good — doh!

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    1. Well, I’ve lived in the Netherlands and the weather can be pretty undetermined in March haha. They say ‘March stirs his tail’ to say that it’s unpredictable. About April they say ‘April will do whatever she wants’, which is equally unpredictable. It’s a good time to go though. If you go to the West, I’m sure the tulip fields will be flowering :).


  2. I know what you mean! Snow melting here in Helsinki, and that means deep puddles covering ice. So slippery. And grey. And cold… Sigh. I have no idea how to prune roses! But I’d love to have a garden. Like you said, the colours can cheer you up

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    1. I love the Nordic countries. But I would be very unfit to survive the long winters. I was hired for a job in Uppsala a couple of years ago. Winters were among the reasons for not accepting the nice job.

      Pruning roses isn’t difficult, but many just prune all twigs at equal height. The bush will still grow and flower, but it will suffocate itself if you don’t thin. Much better to reduce the number of stalks substantially, and all energy will be devoted to those remaining beauties. Faster growth, more space, lush flowering. Many also forget to remove dying flowers, which is another waste of energy towards fruit production. The ‘art’ in rose pruning is in knowing how a plant will grow when you cut at a certain node, and selecting the right node for optimal rose bush architecture. And of course to not be shy and prune and thin rigorously! I used to maintain a rose garden, and the elderly owner always told me she had never had a gardener that kept the roses as nicely as I did. It’s been 18 years, but it’s a skill I think I will not lose easily haha. I love roses. (The fun thing is that I moved in here in winter and have no clue what kind of roses I have 😂. Spring will be full of surprises!)

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      1. You make it sound so easy! I always feel bad about clipping dried parts off my houseplants, not knowing if I should be doing so! As for the Nordics, I’m not really made for this weather. I grew up in Australia (with Finnish parents) and I never really liked it here in Finland, to be honest! But I’m here now because of family and the school system is good (and free) and it’s still a relatively safe place to raise kids…. (Though, alarmingly, youth violence has been on the rise lately…) How did you end up in Germany and NL? I wouldn’t be able to survive Uppsala!!!!!

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      2. Most plants like to be pruned every now and then. Many house plants will look much better a few months later.
        Yes, I see the appeal of the educational system in Finland. I’ve only heard good things. Violence is probably up everywhere. The pandemic made a whole lot of people very frustrated for different reasons. I think it exacerbated violent behaviors and will continue to divide and feed this pattern.
        I ended up in NL by being born there, so that wasn’t hard. I moved to around Munich three years ago, thinking I would stay as short as possible. In academia it’s the norm to move abroad for a number of years. I did the same, thinking it would be until other opportunities came. Better ones never came. And the area has grown on me. The Alps are amazing! We’re not sure where future will take us, but for now this is nice.

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