Crazy Finnish Weather: The agonizing wait for spring is REAL

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Whelp. Here we are again. Another round of, Where is Spring? currently underway.

Hello Friends!

Welcome back! We’re here, same stuff, just a different day – or in this case, different month nearly. Despite a few tickles of warm weather, we continually are blasted back into the arms of winter chill, only to slowly creep back upwards to single digits on the thermometer. Today, clear and cold with a high temp of 6c. That’s a Celsius reading thermometer, don’t forget! Clear and cold, that’s been the trend lately.

Yesterday, it was spitting rain and hail, making it impossible to do anything at all outside. We did manage to pop into one of our local nursery grower shops, Hankkija, formerly known as the Agri market. This outfit caters to farmers mostly, but they do have a well-tended garden center on premises. We were delighted and surprised to see one of our favorite conifers there for sale, Degroot’s Spire. Typically, this specimen is treated as a rather expensive specialty conifer and is not commonly found for sale. So, surprised and delighted to find it locally, and at such a great price, we bought 5.

Five new items to add to the growing list of items we have already received from my earlier plant shopping. An order from well-known and popular Finnish online seller, Viherpeukalot arrived this week, along with my order from a favorite seller of daylilies. At present, these daylily growers have accumulated one of the largest daylily collections in Lithuania and Europe, covering 2,000 varieties. Trust me when I say, they have you covered should you want plants!

And where are all these new items going to go, you ask? You might recall me mentioning over the last couple of years our desire to reduce the final large piece of grass, which is located smack-dab in the center of the backyard. This area is the sole remaining, undeveloped section of the yard, and the only area which receives full sun nearly the entire day. Such a shame we didn’t get around to doing something about this space sooner, but well, we’ve been busy you might say!

Consider me motivated! I’ve been extremely excited to design a new gardening area amid this large space. But considering the rather weird shape we have to work with, it’s kept us scratching our heads a bit. We’ve both drawn various ideas out on paper. Actually getting out there to reevaluate the space was an impossibility because there was simply too much snow on the ground! That is, until this week!

Last week, though, I tromped around the yard and eventually managed to get everywhere once the snow had melted enough to assess winter damage and start pruning. Pruning everything is rather exhaustive and tedious. For instance, last year, I’d not pruned the hydrangeas, and they’d grown enormous. They, and so many other items, were due for a much-needed snip.

I was on my lonesome last weekend, with Pekka away in Jyväskylä participating in a weightlifting competition. He didn’t bring home the gold, but he came back instead with lots of valuable experience and a bronze medal. The other two guys in his group are serious weightlifting contenders. The gold medal winner is none other than Olympian Arto Savonen. Pekka is in the big leagues now!

So while Pekka was away, I started pruning, and that was pretty much all I did for four days. Needless to say, there will be many trips to the dumpsite to drop off all this garden waste. Thank you roskNroll for taking all this stuff free of charge! With Pekka’s return, he began pruning all our remaining apple trees. It’s just amazing to me that we’re out there doing this in late April, when normally we are doing it in late February or early March. Cue: crazy Finnish weather!

There are currently huge piles of pruned branches and dead-headed perennials laying all over the yard. I will spare you the photo evidence of this, just trust me when I tell you it’s a mess out there!

I got the lawn edger out of the shed yesterday and fired it up to use it to define the edge of the new garden bed. Pekka and I will proceed to start the removal of all that sod over the next few days. And no time to waste either, as that huge box of daylilies and irises from Lithuania on the porch are already growing and must get into the ground soon!

Since it was rainy and cold yesterday, there wasn’t anything to do except go online and order plants! Despite the fact Pekka will be traveling to western Finland at the end of May, where this particular nursery is located, I took no chances on the items I want being sold out. We’ve visited Pori’s Paratiisin Taimitarha (Paradise Nursery) before, and it was memorable. They run a great nursery with a huge selection of plants. I was thrilled to find they had everything on my wish list.

This new garden space has been well-thought-out (years now in thought) It’s devoted to specific* perennials –and the odd Degroot’s Spire conifer! It is defined by a well-honed color palette and will hopefully provide bloom and color throughout our entire growing season. There are endless varieties of perennial plants to choose from, so achieving season-long bloom sounds much more difficult than it actually is. Making selections of which plants to choose, and which not to choose is a tough job, but I am striving on! hahah *(you’ll have to stick around to see what the items are and how they do!)

I’ll be much relieved when everything is finally in the ground. I’ve discovered through the process of designing this latest garden that I much prefer the design aspects of creating spaces and choosing plants much more than I do of the day-to-day duties of plant maintenance and care. But once in the ground someone has to take care of it, and for now, that someone is me. I can’t wait for Pekka’s retirement, so he can join me as we divide and conquer all the required and/or essential duties.

Of course, it will take quite a long time for all these new plants to establish themselves and fill out the space. It will undoubtedly become the latest of a long list of things to look forward to as the years go on within the garden.

I drew a lot of inspiration and motivation for our new garden from an article submission in Fine Gardening magazine’s GPOD section. A gardener in New York created a beautiful kidney-shaped bed in her yard, that she said developed over time, into a lovely oasis. I thought it was great. Have a look.

Our garden will be so similar to this as to be a near duplicate. With a few exceptions on shrubbery inclusion, etc. The use of daylilies, echinacea, and other common perennials are exactly the same. Ours will have those interesting Degroot’s Spire poking up and has a lot of irises and phlox and other stuff*. Most everything aside from the conifers will come in at various heights, with a max of approximately 120 cm (48 inches for you folks in the US.) Mainly I’ve chosen plant heights ranging from 30/40 cm, 60/90 cm and those to 120 cm. Staggered amid the design while considering height, bloom time, color and season of interest. So fun!

I’m also looking forward to the Avoimet Puutarha this year, and also some private visits to the garden we have scheduled. Should be a delightful time!

Here’s hoping spring has finally arrived for you and that everything in your world is bringing you happiness and joy.

Until next time,

❤ Vanha Talo Suomi