Smooth Sailing: without a Sailboat!

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Welcome Friends of Vanha Talo Suomi! ❤

We endured a very turbulent time this month with the death of our faithful friend & garden companion Viiru. We appreciate everyone who showed us ❤ & compassion. Your kindness was felt and we thank you!

Viiru was a trusting & much-loved companion. She joined this incredible home remodeling journey early on, and made enduring the most harrowing & challenging parts so much easier.  It’s a great sadness to us she didn’t live to see the journey to completion.  Here in spirit always ❤

What we did do while grieving was to put energy into the garden. For a few days I didn’t really want to do anything at all.  Pekka inspired me through his actions and together we set about ‘getting through it.’  I talked to Virru a lot those first few days and saw her everywhere I looked. It’s getting easier now. I have a few tokens to remind me; a stray whisker, a favorite string toy she loved to play with that’s now tucked inside my bathrobe pocket.


Pekka got started back outside a little faster than me.  He began to increase the dimensions of our garden plan.  He broadened the areas of current development to other new beds so we could include even more decorative & exotic conifers.  In a nutshell=We are losing more grass.  In the matter of a couple of weeks, he carved out 6 new large beds. We started to run out of places to put the outgoing sod!   Pekka started mounding to create mini ‘berms’ in a few of the beds.  We had a few plant items sitting in pots we could plant right away. But with all that new space we decided to hook up the trailer for a day in Estonia.

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starting on the new beds

We went on a Monday, and by Wednesday we had all the beds filled with new items.  Pekka started taking individual pictures of beds and tagging them with labels – if you want to head to the “Garden Plan” header at the top of the Vanha Talo Suomi page you can see just what we have growing here.

We added lots of conifer evergreens including exotics and uncommon varieties as well as many deciduous flowering shrubs, even a few perennials.  Of course there are still a couple of spots open for that ‘special something’ that might catch our eye.  We’d been carting trailer-loads of mulch a week before Estonia, so everything could get planted and mulch ASAP.  June weather provided us with a dip in temperature as well as lots of rain which eliminated any need to supplement. Yeah! No hose-watering!

We stopped to take it all in the other day. In 14 months (including the unproductive winter months) we’ve totally transformed our property – major landscaping, and a nursery-full of garden plant stock later – it’s WOW. Beyond even my expectations!  It REALLY will be the gift that keeps on giving.  Our springtime was delightful with the colorful displays of tulips & daffodils.  Lilacs, rhododendrons, iris, peonies are all in their various stages of greatness. The flowering Weigela are new to us this year, and are a great addition.  The roses are budding and soon they will bloom alongside hundred+ hydrangea. Can’t wait!

Even with all the work and outdoor activity, it was pretty empty & quiet here – so much so we decided to begin the search for another furry friend to fill our home & bring in some joy.  Our search ended when we found this tiny bundle named Greta from a very nice family in Helsinki.

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She’s teeny-tiny, but she’s a full-grown 3yo cat. Softest fur ever. You just can’t stop touching it. 🙂 She’s pretty feisty for being so teeny. 🙂  She lets you know when she’s had enough! ouch-sharp claws.  She’s been with us a week now, taking that whole week getting comfortable in new surroundings.  I think she likes all the windows we have.  She sits in many of them at various times throughout the day checking out the wildlife.

She seems to like finding little nooks and out-of-the-way hiding spots. We looked all over before Pekka found her sitting on the sideboard cupboard. (photo above)

Here she is sitting on a bookcase shelf watching us and the TV with one eye open! haha 🙂

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Every cat has a unique personality. Greta seems to doing just fine and we are enjoying her being here with us very much. Last night she slept on Pekka’s lap the whole movie!

Besides attending to our own garden, we often like to see & enjoy other beautiful places. One of our favorites is: Ilolan Taimisto & Arboretum in Salo, Finland

We went recently to see the beautiful rhododendron’s in bloom. Wow.

In addition to lovely rhododendrons, there are 10 hectares of landscaping, lakes, ponds, walking paths and bedrock outcroppings to enjoy. It’s a magical place.

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This recent visit is our 3x there this season! We’ll be visiting there again when my sister comes to Finland to visit. I know she’s gonna love it!

I’m happy to celebrate Finland’s 100th anniversary of independence-1917-2017. The whole year has been marked with special occasions, observances, and activities to mark the achievement.  I never realized when I put all these things together that I ended up making a Suomi 100 garden display with my blue and white flowers ! But that’s just what we’ve got! 35566086555_88a45d3499_o

The Juhannus celebrations of last week carried over this week ever so slightly – I hope everyone enjoyed a wonderful midsummer celebration. We took it rather easy & decided to forego the crowds decding to just relax in our own backyard.

Weather seems a bit cool. Let’s hope there’s an uptick of a few degrees so we can all finally put away jackets & sweaters until Sept. Let’s hope!:) I’m sure for some of you in N. America it feels like the heat just won’t quit. Here, we can’t seem to get it started. 😉

We’ve been smooth sailing through June without a boat or sail. We hung in there, and things did get better.   Pekka and I have each other which makes getting through life’s difficulties a whole lot easier.

Best wishes and hugs to all. Hopefully your summer is smooth sailing too and life treats you well. Until next time! ❤