Balmy Start to Spring in Southern Finland

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Belated greetings everyone : Happy Easter! – Buon Pasqua! – Hyvää Pääsiäistä! – Frohe Ostern!

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I colored a few eggs this year (on blue stands,) the wire basket is filled with some of the hollow plastic novelty eggs my sister bought last Easter and brought with her last summer. The hyacinths/mini daffodils were purchased from the Prissma supermarket and I snuggled them into a wicker basket we had on hand. Boy, they sure smelled great! I hung several dozen of the plastic eggs by string outside on a few of the trees and it looked wonderful!! Just what I wanted 🙂 Thanks Kris!

I finally found my way to the computer to prepare this post – it’s something I said I would do for at least the last two weeks! We’re having a bit of drizzle this morning which preempted our plans to head back outdoors.  Pekka is on holiday this week and we’ve got a long list of gardening plans we hope to knock out.

Weather-wise, we couldn’t be more pleased, March was cool and there was snow right up through Easter, although only in patches. April on the other hand has been above average in warm weather and sunshine. We enjoyed near summer temps in the 15-19c range (60s F) for the better part of 2.5 weeks, with the weather only returning to more ‘normal’ seasonal conditions this past Sunday – just in time for Pekka’s holiday! haha 🙂 Weather outlook: details here.

With the warm weather we were hopeful that stuff would really start popping up – only blooms so far though are crocus – which are welcome!

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There are still quite a few leaves from last year blowing around, and in some places the ground is either extremely soggy or is still frosty about 6 inches down, depending on where in the yard you happen to be.  The past couple days we’ve been cutting down a maple tree and enlarging a couple existing beds to make way for roses, conifers and few deciduous trees.

A before & after glimpse of the area where we removed an existing maple tree, extended an existing bed created last year, and planted in a few new items. New items purchased this spring will be added soon to the, What’s Growing at Vanha Talo Suomi specimen list

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BEFORE (summer 2017)

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AFTER (spring 2018)

There’s a bit of work yet to do on the enlarged bed. A couple loads of mulch to spread & cover the white weed barrier fabric, plus planting in the remaining newly purchased shrubbery. The open black dirt portion is for three (3) of the arriving rose bushes – due later today in fact! What a difference leaves, green grass and the sun make in the two photos of nearly the same exact view. That maple really took up a lot of space. It wasn’t note-worthy for its autumn leaf color. We agreed we could definitely improve the overall aesthetic by taking it out and replacing it with something with a lot more interest. We’ve chosen a couple special birch trees. One is called Spider Birch (photo below) it has very distinctive twisted branches and trunk growth. The other is a uniquely white barked birch, which is presently still sitting at the Porvoo nursery awaiting us to pick up and bring back to its new home this weekend! :0)

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We rounded out a few of the other additions to include a standard form Japanese Cherry, as well as conifer and other small evergreen flowering shrubs. This bed gets a taste of both sun and mixed shade, so a little color and lightness will really ‘pop’ visually once everything gets situated, leafs out and puts forth blooms.

Unfortunately, due to the above-average temps some of our conifers with a direct southerly exposure took a bit of browning this March/April – not likely life threatening just unsightly. With a few years we hope the browned growth is replaced with healthier color.  This situation is not unique to our garden alone. It seems even the nursery growers experienced, what I refer to as *Freezer Burn* that same browning on partial areas of the plant specimen – most limited to certain types of conifer specie.

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  • Likely this browning was not solely due to temperature, and can partially be due to a combination of seasonal events. There was a lot of cold wind this spring off and on during the period of warmth, which desiccated the tips of some of the affected items.  And in addition, there were still some below average temperatures in March, even thought the overall winter temperatures were considered mild to historical Finnish winter conditions.  I’ve since belatedly sprayed everything with a product called BALSAMOL made/distributed by NEUDORFF which advertises it as:
  • organic nitrogen fertilizer solution (9 % N)
  • with 55 % natural amino-acids in water solution
  • particularly quick, direct absorption through leaves
  • for foliar fertilization and strengthening of spruce, fir, pine, yew, white cedar, cypress, juniper and other evergreens such as rhododendrons, laurel and holly
  • revitalizes and strengthens conifers suffering damage from pollution, frost, drought or poor environmental conditions

Time will tell – hope for the best!!

I wanted to include a photo I took while we still had snow and also show you what I’ve been doing while waiting for the ground to unfreeze.

 

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A birch twig sinking into the melting snow

 

 

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A new shirt I sewed for Pekka

 

It stopped drizzling and the sun is starting to gain some ground on the cloudy overcast. It’s a good day to plant roses – I hope they get here soon!

Sorry we don’t have gobs of photos showing spring flowers in bloom – it’s lucky we have the crocus! Won’t be long now and things around here will be very colorful, cheery & full of blooms. Take care gardeners! I have been following your spring progress with envy!

Best wishes for a happy spring everyone! See you next time ❤ Vanha Talo Suomi