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Hello to our friends, fellow renovators & gardeners! Happy New Year!

The big story here is the weather

Caught in an unusual pattern of near-continuous snowfall, southern Finland has been blanketed by heavy snow, which while being quite beautiful, is also a bit unusual. A Foreca-Suomi weather post yesterday tells the whole story in a three image graphic.

Foreca: Lunta on tullut viime päivinä! Etelässä lunta on selvästi enemmän kuin tähän aikaan vuodesta yleensä. Kuvassa lumipeitteen paksuus ma ja ke sekä vuodenajan keskiarvo. #forecasuomi #sää #Lumi Translation: Snow has come in the last few days! In the south there is clearly more snow than this time of year in general. In the picture, the snow cover thickness Monday and Wednesday and the year average.

Take a look at some recent photos of the snow accumulations around southern Finland. First up, Helsinki –

DiscoveringFinland.com also maintains a #Pinterest page where they’ve collected wonderful scenes & images about Finland. Their gallery of images titled, ‘Finnish Winter Wonderland‘ deserves a look!!

Here’s how it looked around Vanha Talo Suomi

December 24th – Christmas Eve – 12cm (nearly 5 inches) of snow
January 17th, 2019

One of my favorite sites, Time and Date.com has loads of information. Take a look at Helsinki’s data for the month of January 2019 HERE. To sum up:

High temp 3 °C (1 Jan, 07:50)

Low temp -28 °C (22 Jan, 05:50)

Average temp -7 °C

Another data site: ‘Current Results’ web page carries weather data for most European countries. See it HERE

HELSINKI (AP) — Winters in Finland are often frigid but meteorologists say the Nordic nation’s Lapland region has produced Europe’s coldest temperature this winter at – 38.7 degrees Celsius (-37.7 degrees Fahrenheit).

Meteorologist Ari-Juhani Punkka, from the Finnish Meteorological Institute told Finnish public broadcaster YLE on Sunday that Finland and northeastern Europe were now hosting the continent’s coldest air masses, ones that “are Arctic in nature.”

This winter’s coldest temperature in Europe outside of Russia was measured early Sunday in the Sodankyla municipality, 250 kilometers (155 miles) north of the Arctic Circle.

Frigid temperatures are common in Lapland, the northernmost part of Finland, which covers one-third of the nation’s land mass and is a popular tourist destination.

So to all of you reading this who happen to live within the northern hemisphere and are being affected by the ‘Polar Vortex’ weather system – We feel your pain!

And going back to the first graphic, Monday through Wednesday we saw an additional dump of snow which netted us with more than 10cm/5 inches of fresh powder.

In addition to snow, we’ve also had a few periods of extremely cold temperatures, which in Finnish is referred to as #pakkanen (sub zero/freezing cold) -but thankfully those periods were short-lived and temps returned to near-normal after a few days. The usual days, at or above 0c have been ZERO so far, which is why we have so much snow to contend with. Normally, we get a few brief warm ups which cause significant compression & melting. If we get any rain now, or when things DO begin to thaw out – it’s going to be a real mess. Crazy Finnish Weather!

January 31, 2019

I found the following blog posts to be especially on point regarding bird watching in winter, maintaining feeding stations & nest boxes for birds, and for understanding how animals/birds/wildlife cope with winter in general.

Karen writes about Bramble Garden and has a post titled, Nest Boxes and Feeders for the Garden. Read Karen’s post here.

Claire Jones Landscapes blog titled, The Garden Diaries posted, Extreme Weather Strategies for Birds. Read it here

An interesting article written by The Conversation, recently published, Is Winter Miserable for Wildlife? Read it here.

There are several robust Bird Watching community groups in Finland. An especially-user friendly site for Finnish bird watching is Wildlife Safaris Finland. The site also has package tours available and a full range of information about birds, and Finnish nature.

A recent Scricfinia blog post by Jouni Laaksonen titled, Delights of Living in the Middle of Nowhere, focuses on animal tracks left in the snow & how to identify tracks. Read it here. Jouni has written several books on Finnish nature, and his passion hiking & skiing in Finland. Read about his latest book here.

The Finnish Environmental Institute published this in 2016 about the goal of establishing one million nesting boxes for birds throughout Finland. Here is the story. We participated in the drive to add bird boxes by adding & registering 3 new bird boxes during the campaign at Vanha Talo Suomi.

January has been a long month. For me it’s also been #Veganuary – a month-long journey of dietary, environmental, and wellness consciousness. Pekka has participated, although he really hates it. I’m not a red meat eater like him to start with, so I’ve found going #Vegan not too difficult. As a Twitter user I’ve followed along for @ChrisGPackham’s daily consensus of what going Vegan has entailed for him and how others are relating to Veganism. You can learn more about Chris & his journey here.

Since January has been such a long month, it’s allowed me AMPLE time to shop and plan for the spring 2019 garden. Over the last three years we’ve introduced several hundred large and medium-sized plants and trees within several growing areas & beds. Establishing trees & bushes first meant masses of perennials and border plants weren’t given too much thought – until now. I located a Lithuanian grower specializing in daylilies who offers over 1600 various kinds as well as a few other perennials like Phlox & Hosta.

It’s pretty daunting searching amid 1600 possible choices, but lo and behold I found eight kinds I really liked and ordered several of each one. 70 daylilies arriving in May will make a small start on establishing border plants to nestle among the conifers. I really wanted a rather common white variety called, Joan Senior because of it’s color and long blooming period. I will have to search for it locally though. Here they are.

In addition to the daylilies, we’re awaiting several new #DavidAustin roses which are scheduled to arrive in April. We’re looking forward to receiving:

And finally, the wonderful folks at Pioni.fi, who I’ve purchased several other peonies from in the past, will be sending these select peonies in May:

I recently joined an online Peony group called The Peony Society! More about them here. I think the site is informative. It’s global and should be appealing to everyone who enjoys/loves/has a passion for peonies.

There are several more traditional border plants on my list. We’ll be able to purchase many of them during the annual Tahvoset public sale. This year I will learn all about propagating. With hundreds of plants needed, we’ll have to start growing some of them ourselves.

The What’s Growing at Vanha Talo Suomi site pages have been updated with all plant specimens growing here, including all the upcoming arrivals. (To other blog users, I have a question. How do you like the new BLOCK editing format? I hate it!)

!There’s not much left of January 2019, hopefully it’s been a good month for you. February arrives tomorrow – the day’s are really going to start flying now! Stay warm! & best wishes for a wonderful New Year!!

❤ Vanha Talo Suomi