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Greetings to All!

We are now into the second week of June and Finns everywhere are counting down to Juhannus Day on June 21st. To help you countdown, click the time & date reminder  🙂

http://www.timeanddate.com/countdown/party?iso=20160621T00&p0=101&msg=Juhannus+-+MidSummer+Celebration&font=cursive&csz=1

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A good example of what to expect. Finns are bonfire making champs!

All that fun awaits. In the meantime there’s hundreds of  some things happening  at Vanha Talo Suomi – May was fleeting but so were all the previous months leading up till today…Time is really flying. Maybe you’re also feeling like days are ticking off the calendar with great speed.  ?!

Never a disappointment, our crazy Finnish weather always keeps us guessing. It  put us about a month early this spring with unprecedented heat causing all the trees to leaf out and plants to emerge long before they normally do. Also it’s been a very dry spring and early summer here in southern Finland – Uusimaa. There has been rain, but just a couple times -hardly worth measuring.  Forest fire warnings were issued in May for most of the country. Today is no, exception despite having a major weather system bringing rain, thunder and lightning yesterday, we are now ‘day two’ of high wind warnings. Much of the country has been affected by some form of severe weather this week.

When I last wrote about our garden landscaping project we were mostly done removing grass and had prepared the beds for the arrival of our new trees and bushes. They arrived, we planted and planted! I’ve tried and failed to capture the magnitude of the garden beds. Photos don’t convey the actual length and depth.  Maybe this will help.

A football field is 100 yards long. Our back bed is just over 70 yards and the side portion is 35 yards long.  The width changes throughout – 2ft at the narrowest and 5-8 yards at the widest.

When it got time to take out the final portions of sod, Pekka came up with a great idea. He stacked the pieces he removed, on the other side of the bed edge (which happened to be much lower.) The area of our yard where the side bed is (along the farmer field)  was about 2 feet lower in the middle than the highest points. Yes, a bowl effect if you can picture it in your mind.  By stacking the sod he created this:

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Which completely eliminated the bowl effect, brought the middle section to the height of remaining yard and gave all that removed sod good purpose! Bravo Pekka!!

We had two dump trucks of new soil to fill in this area and bring all the beds to same height. We are currently on our third load! and have filled many of the dipsy-do ankle-twisters that lurked in the lawn. Those piles of dirt are huge but never seem to last 😀

We got to chipping and spreading soon after the final tree was planted. We haven’t yet gotten the entire landscaped area covered in mulch yet. Me thinks we need to order in a delivery of about 75 cubic meters of mulch to top everything before it’s completely inundated with weeds.

Here are photos to show our progress:

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End of April

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Mid May

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Mid May

Then this happened!

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You can’t image what a difference this makes to the whole yard. It’s a visual and aromatic rush!

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Wow. Note to self: Seed those former berry patch spots in the lawn

There are numerous places where the berry bushes once were that are now sprouting little grass seedlings. It shouldn’t be too much longer and those dirt patches will be all green instead of brown!

In this photo you can see the lovely old apple trees delighting us with abundant blooms and great fragrance. Also in the landscape bed directly to the right you can see 3 Blue Arrow, 1 Acer Negundo ‘Flamingo‘, 5 Berberis Thunbergi ‘Red Admiration‘, 5 Cornus Alba ‘Elegantissima‘, 1 Forsythia, 1 Malus T. Sargentii.  In the immediate foreground are a couple of the David Austin roses and in the background are some of the 7 Picea Glauca ‘Conica‘, 3 Picea Pungens Glauca, 9 Thuja Occ. ‘Smaragd‘, 3 Taxus M. Hicksii, and 100 Annabelle and Limelight hydrangeas…

 

There was no shortage of color and charm to brighten our springtime days. May was a great month for us and the plants.  The Finnish Meteorological Institute has prepared a wonderful summary of our recent month’s weather here

By the end of May this was the view from what remained of our last second load of soil..

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Once enough dirt was hauled over to the side bed to level it off, we began putting the finishing touches in place. A wooden pergola/trellis for 1 each of Lonicera Caprifolium and Lonicera ‘Dropmore Scarlet‘ on one side and additional climbers on the other. I moved a clematis from another spot and have room for 1 final climber 😀

Here’s Pekka putting posts in place, and the nearly finished structure. All that remains is the top beams and trellis top so the vines can grow over. Oh! and a garden bench 🙂

May and June also had Pekka cutting down a few more trees along the fence line. Yes, the fence is now up along the front, back and all sides! We stopped just in front of the house. We’re undecided on what to do about the stairs & small entryway (needs a gate) and the portion along the driveway… We’re still scratching our heads trying to think of a good idea that will allow easy access in and out of the driveway in all seasons, yet be a barrier to the wildlife…

To wrap up the landscape beds I should mention a few of the other trees and shrubs that ‘made the cut’ to be included in our project:  If you take a few moments to open the links and put your mind to imagining our space and these items you might just be able to get an idea of how it all will look.   haha.. good luck!

Needless to say, a hot dry month is never a good time to be planting trees and shrubs! It’s about the worst possible time in fact. Weather systems are completely unpredictable anymore. I’m sure you can relate!  I’ve been doing my bit to keep them alive until Mother Nature can deliver some soaking rain, until then, it’s just me and hose. 🙂

Sunny days of May also proved to be a good time to tackle washing the windows inside and out. After  preparing a bucket of suds (car-washing liquid) I took a long-handled brush to all the outside windows and a good scrubbing worked like a charm. Insides were more complicated due to having the extra set of interior storm windows on the original old windows.  Lots of extra glass!  Between the removable storms, fixed windows and a couple doors I washed 82 LARGE panes or is that pains!  😀 haha

Well, the effort is wonderful now that it’s done!  Just take a look for yourself!

I thought I’d never finish washing..or drying those windows. I hope they stay clean a V E R Y long time! 😀

We’ve been busy here if you haven’t yet figured it out!  Hauling dirt or mulch, pulling weeds, cutting trees, building stuff, tearing stuff out, chipping wood, mowing grass, watering, pruning, fertilizing, etc, etc.

Pekka’s latest building project was a new gas grill. After he got it assembled we christened it with my famous hamburger patties! Yum.  We are ready for Juhannus!! Now where’s my countdown timer…..  !

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All the best to you from both of us at Vanha Talo Suomi! ❤   Happy Juhannus Day!!   ❤

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