No April Showers Here…

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Hello from Vanha Talo Suomi! Happy Spring greetings to you!

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No showers lately, and we’re under a grass-fire warning.  There is a chance of precip in the forecast but we really could benefit from a good soaking.

Pekka and I have been busily attacking the garden since early April. Everything thawed out due to what is being described by meteorologists here as an, ” early spring.”  I call it Crazy Finnish Weather!  With daytime temperatures of +7-10c (nearly 50 degrees F) we got the shovels moving a little sooner this year.  Dirt and sod have been getting the heave-ho ever since!

Temps haven’t been warm the whole month though, of course not! Last week we were back to lows of -7c overnight which hardened everything up and made working outside a bit grueling and harsh. Some days last week the daytime temps weren’t enough to loosen up frozen ground. In cases like that there’s nothing to do but wait it out.  Luckily, this week we’ve seen a slight improvement and temps are on the rise again, making shovel work possible.

You’ll think we’re mad as hatters for creating new garden beds and enlarging the ones we already have – but that’s exactly what we’ve been up to! For Pete’s sake it’s hard not to do it  when you have soil as good as we’re fortunate enough to have.  I look at it like this; it’s either a great-looking weed-free lawn or garden beds!  We’ve yet been able to create a weed-free lawn, so the sod comes out to make way for something a lot better to look at! Plus, I cut the grass with a push mower – I figure any reduction in cutting time is a WIN!

Pekka dug trenches and ran power & water to the greenhouse via the old sauna building/shed. It necessitated the removal (yeah!!!) of the decking on the front.   If you’re in the market for an old tub, please let us know!  But you’d better act fast – I’m sick of looking at it & here’s a strong chance it might just get hauled to the salvage yard soon.

The siding on the sauna building is rotten through and through, I don’t think there’s any saving of that heap. The roof leaks & the siding is rotten…hmm… if there were only enough funds to get this thing torn down and rebuilt – it would be this year’s project… but there aren’t, so I just hope it can hold out for a few more years without collapsing until it can be fixed or… maybe collapsing would solve a myriad of issues… hmm.??!!

It’s been a long wait on the arrival of the David Austin Roses – in spite of delivery issues they finally arrived yesterday, late afternoon. Upon inspection, I’m a bit bewildered. There were 14 roses ordered but 4 arrived with no tag/label to identify it! Also, 1 rose was tagged with two labels!

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For those who bother to consider color, size and that sort of thing when planning and planting a garden, an unlabeled plant is tantamount to catastrophe, and at the least chaos.  I don’t know if the rose (pictured) will be apricot or dark pink… and of the others with no label at all I just have to hope for the best.  All of the shrub roses (10) are different in size and growth habit, and that becomes very important at planting time. Tucking the short one in the middle and surrounding it with taller, bushier specimens is not the way it’s done.  David Austin, I feel really let down and discouraged.

The rest of yesterday afternoon and evening was spent planting the shrub roses, leaving 4 climbers/ramblers for planting today.  I will say, the roses are robust and healthy looking.  Now we must wait to see how well they grow and hope the mystery shrubs got placed in the right spot! <sigh>

On to the woodland garden area…

The previously planted shrubbery which ran alongside the wooden walkway needed to be moved further away.  Upon further discussion we realized an opportunity to eliminate the whole slope from the blades of the lawnmower.  We dropped the boundary of this area much lower towards the flatter part of the yard.  Defined a much larger garden area by incorporating the previously planted trees allowed us to create a harmonious scheme for this side of the walkway.  Eventually, the little trees on this side will grow to create pockets of shade, substance and color.  We think the new area will eventually tie in rather nicely to the huge pines on the opposite side which we call our woodland garden.

Holes were dug for new arrivals including additional conifers then landscape fabric was cut and laid in place to deter underlying grass growth.  We included a few granite pieces amongst the bed for appeal.  Once everything is planted in, the entire bed will be top-dressed with landscape mulch, like the other side of the walkway.

A few shrub roses were tucked along the new side so we can enjoy lovely blossoms as we come & go.  One of the ramblers was placed towards the bottom of the slope, which I hope will enjoy the trellis Pekka is going to build (hint hint) a happy place to ramble!  The Ghislaine de Feligonde rambler is situated near a copper bark Acer Griseum and the deep crimson of the Faassen’s Black Acer which should be a stunning display once all of the items get a little growth on them. Looking forward to that!!

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The greenhouse interior siding was installed and all was later stained.  I picked out a brown color for inside, the outside will get painted black once it warms up enough to do so. We’ve got our large capacity growing tubs and soil in there ready for the seedlings I started this winter. Hopefully the weather temps stabilize soon for us to plant in there. Still a bit too unpredictable overnight to do so safely -come on warmer weather!!!

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The porch on the front of the house got cleaned out and all the mishmash was finally sorted through.  It’s amazing what a small space can hold!!!  One wall got stained so far (same color as interior of greenhouse)… but the remaining walls are still unfinished, I don’t want to do it!  We picked out great-looking vinyl plank flooring for the porch and it can be put down once the staining is done.

Sadly, the chipper won’t start!  There are huge piles of sticks and branches waiting nearby which just keep growing in size and number. Don’t know when the chipper issue is going to be sorted, hopefully sometime soon.  It’s currently hiding under the white plastic tarp surrounded by the piles! I’m  not looking forward to having to haul that all out to the recycling center! Yikes….let’s cross our fingers the chipper comes back to life!

We have our plans in place for the driveway enclosure.  It won’t be a typical carport with sides all-around as originally I’d pictured, but will instead be a long L-shape tying in to both edges of the fence line -at front and side. Openings for access to the the walkway and a small side access alongside the water feature and path Pekka put in last year will be enough to get in and out.  The whole point of the structure is to eliminate possible access to deer and to provide more privacy from the roadside traffic.

Not sure when the plan will be put into action, but probably soon. With much of the gardening tasks already done: beds enlarged, re-edged or newly-created , there isn’t much in the way of that to do except fill them with wonderful plants!

On the project list, there is the completion of some siding work on the terrace facade, and access door which still needs to be done before it can be painted.  The greenhouse needs a bit of tweeking yet and we’ve got the shade garden tweeking to do – I forgot about that!   We have local garden visits to look forward to this spring and early summer and with that, there’s always the chance purchase of something new to find a place for. 🙂

I’m especially looking forward to visiting Ilolan Arboretum in Salo. What a fantastic place! Also, we have a sunny holiday in Portugal coming up in a few weeks.  Things are looking fantastic at Vanha Talo Suomi! ❤

Happy Spring Everyone!! Until next time…