Vanha Talo Suomi – Summer Edition

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Hello friends!

Been a long time since the last post, but really there wasn’t much to share.

Here we are, mid-June 2022, and I’ve just got to say it! Can you believe how fast this year is going by??!! Seriously, it should be March or something but SURPRISE, it’s June! I really cannot get over it. I wish I could say it’s because I’ve been having so much fun, but I doubt that’s the reason!

Currently, this is the stack of identification tags from plants we once grew, but is now only a heap of tags from dead plants we have had to dig up and throw away. It’s been another bad year here at the Vanha Talo Suomi garden. Surprisingly, many of the plants that died were junipers! We’ve run through the gamut of loses though, with everything from roses, junipers, perennials, pines, weigela, etc – the list goes on and on – nothing was spared. Even a few plants that we’ve had 5 years or so, kicked the bucket somewhere between the weird winter conditions and the insufficient watering/rainfall.

Rainfall this year has been inconsistent, and we’ve been operating under grass fire or forest fire warnings off and on since the snow melted. There was a rain event a week or so ago which really doused everything nicely over a two-day span. But sadly, we’re back to parched. I started that new garden in the middle of the backyard at likely the worst possible time! Lugging buckets of water from the house is not a maintainable process!

With the shed still out of order, the well water we once had access to for watering is not available. I’m sure that most of what has died could be from insufficient watering, especially a whole host of items that were added last year. Some plant losses were definitely casualties of an early winter that hit us before plant & trees had completely hardened off. Either way, it’s very disheartening to see so much failure and plant loss.

In this photo of the front of the house, you can see a very dead tree quite prominent at the bottom – our beautiful flowering almond has officially gone over the rainbow bridge. Last year it was already showing signs of distress. Several of the branches had started to die back. This year, it’s all done.

Not sure what pushed it over the edge. It performed great since we planted it a few years ago, but it started failing last year. It will be sadly missed. Actually, there were a few real surprises amongst the dead items – namely a few of the Canadian roses which are supposed to survive hardiness zone 2 in the USA. So I have to attribute those losses to insufficient watering. While our previous winter started rather quickly, it really wasn’t any colder than usual.

Not to say everything has died! We still have quite a few wonderful items strutting their stuff. I’m really looking forward to our newest garden which I’ve now dubbed the ‘GEM GARDEN’ developing in the coming years – it’s our latest, and likely final garden. Both are perennial gardens, one is a semicircle and one is a full round. Here’s a photo of how that turned out now that it’s been planted up. The round one is approximately the same diameter as the center of the un-planted, graveled semicircle.

Still a lot of the original packaging in the photo, most of which is being held down by rocks as placeholders until we can print up the labels, affix to the tags and permanently identify the plant items.

In the round bed we have a peony variety called, ‘Red Charm’ – some amethyst colored Salvia, along with red Monarda Didyama, Hardy Geraniums and 5 hydrangeas called ‘Silver Dollar’. The trellis is holding two tiny clematis that will one day smother that entire structure. The semicircle includes 113 various perennials including iris, daylily, peony, etc and 5 Degroot Spire conifers. Colors in the semicircle range from white through dark purple, but no red. That color was saved exclusively for the round bed.

Here are a couple other highlights now that we’ve jumped into late spring, early summer temperatures.


The cherry and apple trees have finished blooming and are now busy making fruit. The pear tree was covered in blossom too, so I’m hoping for some juicy pears later in the year. The peonies are covered in buds which should start popping open next week. The rhododendrons and azaleas are stunning right now, with lots of color and loveliness there. Many of the rose bushes are pumping back up from a lot of dieback and heavy pruning to get into live cane tissue. It will be a bit longer until they start blooming. The rose shrubs on the other hand, which are much hardier, are doing just fine and some are already blooming. All in all, I’m content with how it’s going. What other choice do I have? :/

Hopefully, your weather is bringing you some joy. We are going to be celebrating Juhannus Day -Mid-Summer soon. Juhannus is always a summer highlight and something to look forward to here. What will you be doing to celebrate? I think I will imbibe and enjoy the bonfire!!

Stay well all. Happy gardening! See you again – Until then ❤

Vanha Talo Suomi