Welcome to Villa Emilia (My Woodland Garden), a photography blog with a slant towards gardening and nature. An amateur gardener and photographer, I hope to share beautiful moments with you through pictures. Let me know if you like them!

Kommentit suomen kielellä ovat erityisen tervetulleita! - Puoi commentare anche in italiano!

Thank you for your visit.

28/12/2014

2014 revisited


The temperature is about -20 degrees Celsius (-4 degrees Fahrenheit). The family members living further, and working tomorrow, have already left. Wishing a safe return trip to all holiday travellers...






2014 was a year of important changes in our family: a year of projects completed, new challenges accepted, new studies started, a year of "round" birthdays, removals and new homes. A good year. And... of course... I started blogging! (More about that in a later post.)

I would like to show you images related to those events, but since I mainly photograph plants and landscapes, my recap of 2014 is all about them:
















I hope your year has been a good one.
Wishing you and your family all the best for the new year 2015.



Participating this week also in "Wednesday around the World".
Do visit Pieni Lintu Photography for more links!

24/12/2014

Merry Christmas!





Merry Christmas!

Hyvää Joulua!

Buon Natale!






"Tomorrow, God willing, is the most gracious feast of the birth of our Lord and Saviour, 
and therefore a general Christmas peace is hereby declared, 
and all persons are directed to observe this holiday with due reverence 
and otherwise quietly and peacefully to conduct themselves, 
for whosoever breaks this peace and disturbs the Christmas holiday by any unlawful or improper conduct shall be liable, under aggravating circumstances, to whatever penalty is prescribed by law and decree for each particular offence or misdemeanour. 
Finally, all citizens are wished a joyous Christmas holiday."


(The traditional Declaration of Christmas Peace, read since the Middle Ages in many Finnish towns at noon on the 24th of December. 
Photo: http://wiki.pa-data.se/wallpaper/julgran-ute.jpg)


22/12/2014

Winter solstice



The winter solstice is celebrated around December 21 (in the northern hemisphere) since 1582, when Pope Gregory XIII introduced the Gregorian calendar.  (Actually, Sweden and Finland adopted the new calendar only in 1753.)


Winter solstice marks the shortest day of the year.


From this point on, the days will get longer...


... and the light will come back!


Hurray for Spring!

21/12/2014

Colours and wishes


Happy Fourth Sunday of Advent!



There weren't these wonderful self striping yarns, when I was young. :)  Had there been, I would have loved knitting even more than I did. One year I gave hand-knitted pullovers for Christmas to all the nearest family members. Nowadays I think that since you can find beautiful knit garments for sale, at a reasonable price, the handmade is not worth the pain in my old, aching shoulders. I do, however, also notice the health benefits (preventing and managing stress, improving your concentration) knitting provides. It, along with other forms of needlework, is highly addictive. You know: “Just one more row...”



Nowadays I knit only small items, socks, mittens, caps, and scarves. Using a self striping sock yarn, knitting stripy socks is great fun:



The yarn above is 75 % wool and 25 % polyamide. Sock yarns often contain some synthetic material, considered essential for durability. The one below is 100% acrylic:



The acrylic ones I use for other projects. Photos will be posted at some indefinite time in the future. :)



 Yarn-binging again!



Linking up with Judith for Mosaic Monday.






Dear visitors from all over the world,
and - especially - dear, dear members/followers and commenters,
I will post my Christmas greetings to you on the 24th, before a short "Christmas break". 
Just to be on the safe side, however, with this pretty card 
(from http://www.crosscards.com/cards/holidays/christmas/merry-christmas-lights.html),

I wish you and your loved ones a very Merry Christmas and a Joyful New Year!





14/12/2014

Donna's Photo Challenge: Christmas Scenes


For some time, I had been considering joining Donna's Personal Photo Challenge. This month's topic is lovely but not easy (for me), because we decorate the home and the tree only one-two days before the 25th and because we haven't really had snow yet. 

In addition, it is very saddening that Donna and her husband are going through difficult times.

However, yesterday it snowed all day long, and this morning I was able to take photos of the two small Christmas trees (in front of our home) with some snow. I'm not very satisfied with the photos, but at least they have colours and lights, two important and cheering things!

Some contrast has been added to these photos.

1/50 s, f/5.6, ISO 800


The colours of these lights are actually red, green, and yellow, but through the snow, the red looks pink. The spruces are not very fine specimens, and with the pink lights they do look... a bit "girly", but we don't mind, we love them anyway!

1/10 s, f/5.6, ISO 800


Our Advent Star. (This photo has already been used in a previous post.)

1/15 s, f/5.6, ISO 800


Do visit Donna's interesting blog A Personal Photo Challenge for more Christmas scenes!  Thank you, Donna!

Because it's Sunday, I will be joining also Judith at Lavender Cottage Gardening for Mosaic Monday. Thank you for hosting, Judith!



I hope you enjoy your Christmas preparations!
&
Have a blessed third week of Advent!

10/12/2014

More "Aquarupella"

Christmas Eve is two weeks away!

On a previous post of mine, you can see a Christmas/winter card I like very much.  Today I would like to show some more cards, all by the French Aquarupella. I think they have a magical, very Christmassy atmosphere. 

Photo: Keke ja Eevis

Photo: Jorma Jämsen

Photo: Imagina/Alamy

06/12/2014

Happy Independence Day, Finland!





NB The following mosaics have been compiled using photos from Kunniamme päivät: Suomen sota 1939-40 kuvina ja päämajan tilannetiedoituksina, published by Maan Turva (ed. Toivo Rautavaara and Juhani Konkka), WSOY, Porvoo, 1940.



Finland became independent on 6 December 1917.

It remained independent also 75 years ago, when the Soviet Union attacked it on 30 November. Vastly superior in number of soldiers, aircraft, and tanks, the SU expected a total victory within two weeks. 



However, making use of good tactics, hard weather conditions, and high morale in the Forces and among the civilians, Finland repelled Soviet attacks for several months.




World opinion largely supported the Finnish cause and there were plans for an international intervention, cancelled firstly by the refusal by Sweden and Norway to allow the British and French troops to pass through their territory and secondly by the end of the war.



Despite many difficulties, about 12,000 foreign volunteers – especially from Sweden, Denmark, Norway, Hungary, Estonia, and Belgium – as well as Finns from Northern America made it to Finland before the war was over. 



Hostilities ceased on 13 March 1940. Finland had to cede a portion of Karelia, four islands in the Gulf of Finland and other areas (and more than 400,000 civilians were hastily evacuated), but retained its sovereignty.



Remembering with gratitude.






Tomorrow, Sunday, I'll be joining the participants of Mosaic Monday at Judith's Lavender Cottage Gardening.

To finish with a flourish, some suggestions from exoticgarden.fi for the next summer. Don't these cultivars of Viola cornuta have wonderful colours?!

'Sorbet Phantom'

'Sorbet Pink Wing'

'Sorbet Blueberry Cream'




P.S. On the today's post of my blogger friend Laura, there's a link to a beautiful video by Oliver Goetzl, uploaded by Tarja M.  -  Definitely worth watching and listening... Click on the smaller photo!

02/12/2014

Colour therapy - My favourite flower pot





Here in the north, the sun is low at this time of the year. In addition to this, the weather has been cloudy in the last few weeks and blue skies especially hard to come by. In November, the sunshine around here was measured in minutes, not hours...

It's tiring. We do have a light box in our home (light therapy is believed to make up for lost sunlight exposure and, according to my experience, it really resets the body's internal clock), but I haven't used it yet. Colours help as well!

This glazed terracotta pot is my favourite. It also has a story. Where we lived earlier, we were very fortunate to live near to a retail nursery owned by a relative of my husband. Pietro takes his work seriously. We bought vigorous plants there at a good price and with an excellent service. Pietro's sister was sometimes helping him, and once she had planted orange pansies in this burgundy coloured pot. I loved the combination, but tried to control my shopaholism, always triggered by plants for sale.






When after some time, perhaps a week or two, nobody had bought the pot with the pretty pansies, she gave it to me as a gift, since I was able to appreciate its beauty! :)

In an old (scanned, low quality - sorry!) photo, you can see some primulas, too, another love of mine:






This spring, I planted a begonia in my pot.  It thrived through summer and bloomed until now:  






If you like orange, you can find some more pictures here.





Have a good day!






30/11/2014

Advent Sunday

Today is the first Sunday in Advent. In Finland, people are singing "Hoosianna, Daavidin poika" ("Hosianna, Davids son" in Swedish), a beautiful and much beloved Advent song and nowadays the first hymn in the (Finnish) Evangelical Lutheran Hymnal. It's lyrics are based on Matthew 21:9: "Hosanna to the son of David: Blessed is he that cometh in the name of the Lord!"




It's snowing weakly now; the ground is still bare. This is a winter scene photographed two years ago - exposed in two different ways:






Which one do you like more?




Sometimes I buy Christmas cards that I find so beautiful I end up adding them to my small collection, instead of sending them to somebody. The card below is one of those. By Aquarupella, it's actually printed in France, but the scene looks very typical of Scandinavia. My photo does not do the image justice (the colours should be more brilliant, and the glitter used is not reproduced very well), but it's better than my first effort with a scanner.

You can find this card ("Cabin in the snow") at online shops as well.


Photo: Jorgen Larsson


Joining Judith for Mosaic Monday. For more mosaics, visit her lovely blog!




Have a blessed Advent!




25/11/2014

On lichens, poems, and bears






Mosses and lichens are fascinating organisms, which embellish the rocks and the bark of trees in forests and woodlands. I have tried to take photos especially of the cup lichen below (it may be Cladonia fimbriata, but I'm not certain), because it always makes me remember a lovely poem by the Finnish poet Helvi Juvonen.






Pikarijäkälä

Jäkälä nosti pikarinsa hauraan
ja sade täytti sen, ja pisarassa
kimalsi taivas tuulta pidättäen.

Jäkälä nosti pikarinsa hauraan:
Nyt malja elämämme rikkaudelle.


-----------


Cup lichen

The lichen raised its fragile cup,
and rain filled it, and in the drop
the sky glittered, holding back the wind.

The lichen raised its fragile cup:
Now let’s toast the richness of our lives.



Photo: WSOY


Helvi Juvonen (1919–59) was a Finnish poet and translator. She published five collections of poetry in the 1950s, and a sixth one was published posthumously. Suffering from malnutrition and other health problems, she died young, but during her short literary career she wrote compelling poetry characterised by simplicity, humour, intensity, and inner peace. She studied small, apparently humble things, rocks, plants, and animals, and found the strength and value of them.  She also translated into Finnish poems written by Emily Dickinson, with whom she shared the interest in nature and spiritual concerns.

The translation above is by Emily Jeremiah (born 1975). She is a Lecturer in German at Royal Holloway, University of London. Her very interesting article on the poetry of Helvi Juvonen can be read at http://www.booksfromfinland.fi/2010/05/dreaming-a-dream-the-poetry-of-helvi-juvonen/.

Juvonen also wrote short fairy-tales. Pikkukarhun talviunet (“The little bear’s winter dreams”) was published in 1974, edited by a friend of hers.  To all of us that love bears, I highly recommend the following related material by the literary journal "Books from Finland":




 






A valid field guide to the lichens and mosses of Finland:






Kasvitieteen professori Jouko Rikkisen pätevä lajintuntemusopas Jäkälät ja sammalet Suomen luonnossa. Otava 2010 (2008).