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Hello to all you sweltering North Americans! Greetings to everyone, everywhere 🙂  Welcome to another Vanha Talo Suomi update.  ❤ Sit back and relax & enjoy a cooling beverage!

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Here in Uusimaa and basically throughout much of Finland, it’s rather cool and rainy! So much for Hot August! We’re not feeling it!! The Finnish Meteorological Institute as usual has a wealth of weather data. Here is their July report about Lapland  and it’s noteworthy – Pekka and I visited parts of the Lapland region in July – it really was sunny and hot! 🙂 More on that trip later…

So while many of you are dealing with 90ºf days, we’ve got rain almost daily and have the heat on at night. We’ve already had a low of 9ºc (48ºf) last week. I hope you get a break from the heat soon and get some weather you can enjoy before summer is finally over.  Kids here are back to school which makes the daytime hours a bit quieter…or maybe it’s the rain that is keeping everyone inside for the most part.

Luckily for us, and for everyone here who had projects outside, June and July were excellent months to get a lot done. We knocked off some big items from the ‘To-Do’ list and took a well-deserved vacation in the midst of it all, and still accomplished a great deal.

As I mentioned last time, Pekka installed a pergola. Well, since then the climbing plants went completely nuts and have already climbed over 6 feet! One side is planted with two honeysuckle (Lonicera ‘Dropmore Scarlet'( and (Lonicera Caprifolium) the other side is planted with two different colors of clematis (blue and pink)

From the way each side has grown to the top already, it seems all the plants are happy! 🙂  I ordered four new peonies this spring for delivery this autumn, they are to be planted on the ‘inside’ portion of the pergola and will provide a little lower coverage for the climbing plants.  The peony are: Coral Sunset, Coral Charm, Mary E. Nichols, and Sorbet.  With the background composed of so many hydrangea, I think the peonies and climbing vines are going to round-out this small area for exceptional enjoyment!

We plugged along on the projects, but went into warp-drive once Pekka started his summer vacation! Between trips to the Stark lumberyard, Rosk N’Roll for mulch or various nurseries for yet more plants (!) we got all the deck railings built, installed and painted and even did the side porch and front stairs! It was a lot of lumber, sawing and assembly. I think they look wonderful! Pekka did an outstanding job!

Once they were attached to the deck posts, I painted everything! 😦 That’s a lot of rail spindles! It took a long time, but progress was made, slowly but surely…

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In addition to the monumental deck railing assembly/installation, Pekka also dug out the limestone construction/drainage stones to prepare a walkway using patio stones!  The patio stones start at the side door stairs and run along the entire front of the house, up to a wooden elevated walkway leading to the driveway.

I think we’ve run out of time this year to get the sand and complete the walkway, but the really hard part has been done. Pekka was working on this a long time. It’s going to be really great not to have to trudge through the mud and rocky uneven terrain this winter, coming and going to the car and back.

The wooden portion traverses the sloping distance from the driveway to where the patio stone portion ends. Here are some photos showing the project.

The woodland garden that borders one side of this wooden walkway has been extended to where the low stone wall is now positioned. The row of stones will be straightened, lengthened, and be raised a little higher when it’s all finished.  The grassy side already has some bushes we planted last year in anticipation of the walkway. It sure is good to have a plan!  We still need to position the bushes a little further back and raise them up to with a bit with landscaping. Lighting is planned along the length of the walkway, which will eliminate scary dark stumbles! 😀

Speaking of the woodland garden, (BTW all our gardening spaces are ‘tagged’ with little nicknames) we’ve decided to remove the wild roses and Juhannus roses and transplant them to another location. They are taking up a lot of room in the present space, are unruly and I think we can achieve a much better look with other plant material in their places.  Although that bit of moving will have to be postponed until next spring.

Once the railings were up and painted we high-tailed it out of here on a Finnish road-trip up north.  Pekka planned a driving route and picked spots of interest along the way to stop and see. He incorporated a linen factory, a rosarium, a couple arboretums, which all got us to our main destination up in Lapland. We stayed at a mountain resort – much-loved and sought out during the winter ski season, Pyhä. The summer off-season has a lot of interesting things to see and do also and we had a great time!

I made it to the Arctic Circle and even farther north! Saw lots of reindeer and other interesting places including some Bronze-Age  settlements and burial grounds, and even some Finnish ‘potholes‘ – a glacial occurrence during the Ice Age.  And to top it all off we went to an amethyst mine and dug our own gems at a place within the Finnish National Park! A great trip! Lots and lots of driving :/

When we got back home, we commenced to make a bee-line for our favorite nursery yard, Taimiteutari . We discussed making a new bed while driving in Lapland, and this is what we came up with.

Included in this newest area are some repeats like Picea Glauca ‘Conica’ (3) another Larix, but this one is ‘Diana,’ Hydrangea Pan. ‘Wims Red,’ dwarf Picea Pungens ‘Erich Frahm,’ Acer Shirasawanum ‘Aureum’ and Acer Circinatum, and finally a Berberis Thun.’Coronita.’

We also added an Acer Griseum (paper bark Maple), Betula alleghaniensis (yellow Birch) and a really tall Prunus Virginiana ‘Schubert’ to the front/side area near the walkways.  Pekka has ordered signage to help with identification – all the trees will be marked 🙂  I am ordering plant markers for the perennial items.  He has also purchased a landscaping program and is currently setting up the total plot with the numerous landscape beds and gardens. It’s labor-intensive getting all the measurements for accurate plotting, and then uploading, creating and filling the spaces. Pekka is doing a great job, and it will really be a treat when we can upload a video of the complete latest plans! hahah 😀

We may or may not, be done planting this year hahah….this of course does not include the latest tulip order from my Polish supplier (250+) or the peonies (4) previously mentioned which are both due sometime later this autumn. 🙂  Good grief the yard is turning into an arboretum!

Pekka’s holiday time away from his paying job is now over and he’s back to the comforts of his office chair instead of slaving away at the garden work camp 12hrs a day. If it ever stops raining now long enough, I dash out to mow the grass, cut back spent flowers, and do a little weeding.

I can’t begin to express how glad I am about all the many projects we tackled and completed this summer. It’s really amazing. We even had some wonderful visits from Pekka’s family here to see all our hard work and our first guest in the guest bedroom reports it was, “a good night’s sleep.” The door is always open should you fancy a vacation in Finland!

I’d like to share a few of the beautiful blooms that graced our gardens this summer. First some of the roses. Wow, I’m impressed. The 8 different types of David Austin roses I planted this spring have out-performed my expectations. Such lovely blooms and fragrance, here are just a few examples.

We had the help of the ground squirrels in getting quite a number of sunflowers in various places…

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And of the 100 Hydrangea planted in the ‘oldest- newest’ landscape bed, I lost one (1) the rest are doing stupendous. This one is off the charts!

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Crickey, just look at that bloom head!  And a wider view of the pergola, walnut tree and other items.

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I think we have a genuine success on our hands! Much love to you for your continued support and enthusiasm. It really feels wonderful to see the results of hard work pay off so quickly and with some promise of what the future holds as these simple plants and trees continue to grow and provide even greater enjoyment down the road.

Goodnight from vanha talo suomi ❤ See you next time!

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