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Hello & welcome! Tervetuloa kaikkile! Greetings from Vanha Talo Suomi! ❤

It’s beyond time to provide a status report of the doings & goings on at the Vanha Talo Suomi Gardens!  Thank you for your patience & enthusiasm.

August is now history – sadly, summer eluded us for the most part this year – summer 2017 was a dud for most Finns. Missing were the dazzling days of bountiful sunshine & blue skies. No matter how badly we longed for wonderful warm days, we received instead cool, languid, mostly cloudy days which brought abundant rain.

In some ways, all that rain made for an effortless garden. It was simply too wet to do much of anything! Routines were thrown out the window:

-weed pulling, cutting grass, watering

Not to say we didn’t have any sunny days at all! We did have a few luckily. Otherwise it would have been a total wash-out.  When the weather behaved we managed to get a few things done.  Pekka’s brother Velli-Matti stayed with us a few days in July to help Pekka build our driveway pergola enclosure. Together they knocked out almost the entire project. I pitched in too and we’re so grateful to have received the help! Thanks Vellu! ❤

We decided to use a ‘barn-door’ type rail system rather than the usual hinged gate door for the openings.  Luckily, the local hardware IKH carries a wide selection of nearly everything, including the solution to our gate!  One of these days we might finally get around to installing all the pieces, building the actual gate door and closing off the driveway for good to nosey deer & other unwanted guests 🙂 The weather held out for this project and thankfully so!

Meanwhile, July buzzed past in a blur. I did capture a few photos of the garden coming to life. I was especially enthralled with the peonies we put in last year. If you remember, I had gotten them from the Netherlands and Pekka planted them when I was visiting the states. I wasn’t sure they had survived the winter since they were so slow in making an appearance. But when they did pop up, they proceeded to dazzle with lovely blooms!

Man, that was sure a treat! I really couldn’t believe all the peonies put on a show with flowers their first season. Really looking forward to how they do through the years.

Irises were also a strong performer this year. Last season we purchased quite a few from the local growers club – and I’m happy to say all survived the winter & were lovely this year.

Our #DavidAustin roses provided wonderful displays all season – and they’re still going strong with buds aplenty which I hope will flower long into October like they did last year.



Also I was completely stunned when the gladioli bulbs I picked up for 5 euros produced this:

Wow! I’ve seen glads in a number of colors before, but NOTHING like these! Incredible.

I was up very early the other day & took this quick shot. The second photo was taken later that evening. Looking pretty lush after so much rain! Whenever the Rosk’nRoll starts making mulch again we can top up the landscape beds and finally cover the rest of the white weed barrier fabric. Looks like there’s a mulch run 5X in our forecast 🙂

Can you believe it’s almost Apple Festival time?? Me neither! But looky!

We pulled this off one of our trees this week. It’s a whopper – 323 grams!

Last week was Pekka’s final week of summer holiday, so he spent some of it clearing out the area under the large Linden tree in our side yard, near the berry bushes.  There’s a lot of potential for this area, but it requires a lot of intense clearing out first.  Eventually, we hope to re-claim this last portion of the property from disuse and neglect and turn it into another project garden.  Currently, we’re underway on making that a reality.

Pekka says, “We have no shortage of stones!” Many of those removed for planting were put back in other places, such as the rock wall along the property line. Pekka is standing in front of his rebuilding work in the first photo.  Many of the smaller stones were carted to other beds in the yard as landscape material.  We planted in a Japanese Maple, a red Hydrangea and assorted conifers.  Pekka has been adding all our newly acquired plant specimens to the ‘What’s Growing at Vanha Talo Suomi’ garden tab at the top of our main site page. We’re closing in on 200 trees!

We had a summer guest for a month which was a real treat. My sister and I traveled to Saint Petersburg, Russia for a little site-seeing, which was tremendously fun -(yeah Hermitage).  All three of us went to Tallinn, Estonia and also spent 5 days touring Sweden including Stockholm. We also drove her to what seemed a hundred (?) different places of interest around Finland – she was thoroughly shown around and even got to see both a hockey game and an American-style football game during her stay. August really went by quick! Ok… one photo inside the palace !! 😉spb_36234395732_o

And a word …or two about Greta!

We are very happy to let you know she has fully embraced life at Vanha Talo Suomi! She has been climbing trees all summer, caught 5 mice in one day! (setting a new personal best) & has been a real friend and wonderful companion for both Pekka and I.

Here she is up to her usual antics…

She definitely is not an indoor cat anymore! Not sure how well she’ll like winter, but her 05:00 daily wake up to go outside doesn’t seem to be letting up even as the mornings are getting darker as our daylight hours dwindle.  She’s in by 20:00 each night which is good for all involved.  🙂

Thank you for following our progress. We send our best wishes to all those usffering from flood & storm conditions & hope life can return to normalcy for everyone concerned VERY soon.

❤ to all. See you next time!