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Greetings friends!

As I prepare this post on Easter weekend, I’d like to extend warm wishes to all who celebrate and or observe the holiday – oh and BTW, Happy April!

We here at Vanha Talo Suomi are riding out the final throes of winter. It’s at times thrilling, with excitement and anticipation playing dual roles as each, and together they create and fall into a pattern of momentum. It’s a period of time, when longing gazes out of the window somehow merge into mental lists of projects to do. At some point during this process of waiting for winter to subside, optimism and determination comes to a full froth. Some years there’s a slow momentum build, but other years it’s at a very rapid pace. Without fail, at some point during all of this yin and yang as winter ebbs and flows, you encounter this thing called, Spring Fever. In mere minutes as I gaze through the window evaluating the scene with a critical eye, the Spring Fever dreams swirling in my brain somehow channel my thoughts and focus my vision upon the must-needed alterations, improvements, and tasks to perform. Ultimately, the transition from winter to spring and the moment our gardening season truly commences is an extremely slow process – a literal waiting game of patience. For just when it seems we’ve finally turned the corner, put some distance on old man winter, does he sneak back upon us to reprise that winter wonderland theme of his by covering everything in centimeters of fresh fallen snow.

That’s what happened to us last year, and that’s again what’s happened this year. Be gone winter! Shoooo! Yes, it’s true, my hopes were dashed once again this year for a timely spring arrival. In a near exact repeat of last year, the month of March began like a typical March and by about the middle of the month the benefits of increasing daylight hours upon the winter landscape were undeniable. Retreating snow, increasing temperatures, and longer daylight hours all contributed to an overwhelming euphoria that spring had arrived. Then, it started snowing. We ended up with more than 10 centimeters of new snow. Hopes dashed. Another setback. Oh, don’t get me wrong, the view was transformative and quite lovely, but as I looked upon the snow my only thought was, hmm I hope you’re the kind of snow that’s gone in 4 days. It’s now the first week of April and there’s still quite a bit of that last snowfall still hanging around. Bugger! But it’s patchy out there where some snow has melted fully away – kinda reminds me of how it looked in March! Sure hope old man winter is done playing tricks!!!

Yeah, he better be good and done! I’ve got roses on the way! After the snowfall, I panicked and hastily wrote emails to plant suppliers with April deliveries pending – in one of those ‘stop the presses’ kind of notifications complete with attached photos for their commiseration. Luckily, now that everything has been sorted, our orders are still on the way, just postponed or with alternative planting methods at the ready to deploy, if needed.

So what is all the panic about? Let me share with you what we believe to be possibly the final large incoming rose order for us.

We’re adding one more of each David Austin rose Winchester Cathedral (1) and William and Catherine (1) – these will fill in areas where the others are planted around our back patio terrace. Rounding out the arrivals of David Austin roses are an additional two Gentle Hermoine (2), and three Lady of Shalott (3). We’re trying out for the first time a Latvian rose called Agra (1), a Kordes rose called, The Alchymist (1) and an old French rose called, Parfum de l’Hay (1). Other newcomers to our collection are; Gloire des Jardins (1), Madame Hardy (1), and Henry Hudson (1). Also arriving are old favorites Margaret Merril (2), and Madame Issac Periere (1).

Sweet sixteen – that’s a lot of roses, or in some cases a spectacular sports extravaganza. All joking aside, I’ll leave the references to basketball behind, and stick to gardening! As previously mentioned, this is most likely the final large order of incoming new roses. We’re hoping any additional finds can be sourced within Finland, and purchases wind down to the minimum, to the occasional ‘must-haves.’ We’ll see how it goes!

For those of you not familiar with Rosenhof Schultheis, they are a 150-year-old family-owned rose supplier located in Germany. We had the good fortune of discovering them a few years ago, and they’ve become a go-to source for us, and other Europeans seeking plants after the BREXIT debacle. With such a wide selection of roses as well as other items, they surely have something for everyone. Every rose in blue hyperlink above has been linked to information and photos from the Help Me Find garden resource, which also offers resources about clematis and peonies. It’s a free site which offers member benefits. Their resource pages are filled to brimming with facts, photos and details useful to beginning, as well as experienced master gardeners.

Our delivery of Lithuanian day lilies has been postponed until May due to the unexpected snow. HOPEFULLY, by then we are snow-free! This order is likely also to be the last of the large orders – not because we don’t need any more plants, but because little old me is going to give it a go by collecting seed and propagating daylilies from the stock already growing here. I’ve had a round of better than mediocre success this year in the seed growing department!! hip hip hooray! Daylily seed growing is another gardening adventure just waiting to be explored. I found the advice and process described by a gardening duo in New York called, Guiding Green Thumbs, to be uniquely helpful. Their YouTube channel offers loads of information and several videos of their lovely garden transformation, which can be viewed on one of their garden tour videos. It was after watching one of the tours, when I realized THEIRS was the garden in Fine Gardening Magazine from which I’d found inspiration when deciding to making our circular gem garden last year! It truly is a small world!

Confidence is a great motivator. Discussion and plans are underway to set aside a larger dedicated area for seed growing next year. It is hoped the effort and setup will ultimately boost our odds of success in the seed germination department so that we are able to fully plant up portions of our garden beds with hardy perennials and annuals. Filling up a garden with plants grown from seed is a very slow process, but thankfully most of our garden beds are now well on their way to being considered fully-established. The final touches and flourishes of seasonal color that perennial plants and hardy annuals bring to a garden, really are the icing on the cake, as well as the cherry on top, at least in my opinion.

Perennials have been added throughout the garden for a few years now, but in order to achieve a very lush display A LOT of plants are required – especially if your garden happens to be in the larger, rather than the smaller size range. I’m happy with how certain selections of plants have performed, favorites have emerged while some others have been disqualified – some were fads, some just didn’t grow well. No sense dwelling or insisting upon certain finicky varieties, when there are so many other plant possibilities to consider.

I’m a believer of the ‘Less is More’ approach to gardening, and life in general, BUT, I still have one foot in the ‘More is More’ fan group. Yes, it’s a conflict, but what can you do? Let’s not even get started with the notion of ‘go big or go home! Oh boy, a real can of worms!! Towards gardening, I wholeheartedly admire and prefer a refined color palette rather than one which is busy with ‘some of everything.’ Now that I know what performs well, it’s my goal to create many more of those plant varieties through seeds instead of additional plant stock purchases. I’ll keep you updated on how this side project develops. Now that spring might actually be settling in around us, our efforts immediately will be towards garden cleanup, pruning, assessing the winter damage, and removal of any items lost during the winter.

We’ve noticed a few crocus have already popped up, so that’s a real treat to see. So far, no sign of the Easter rabbit. As much as I like candy, I’m hoping no bunnies of any kind make a visit to the garden! The neighboring Finnish kids dressed up as witches and visited us last weekend, bringing plenty of decorated willow branches in exchange for chocolate and candy treats – so we’re off to a good start there!

We’re hoping you’re off to a good start too, wherever you are! Take care and best wishes during the Easter holiday!

Hyvää Pääsiäistä kaikille!!

❤ Vanha Talo Suomi