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.


October ends

That autumn eve was stilled:
A last remains of sunset dimly burned
O'er the far forests, like a torch-flame turned
By the wind back upon its bearer's hand
In one long flare of crimson; as a brand,
The woods beneath lay black.

from Robert Browning's “Sordello”, Book I.

This time I also have a Finnish translation, by Aila Meriluoto:

Syysilta oli vaiti.
Himmeät päivänlaskun rippeet vain
etäisen metsän yllä - lepattain
kuin soihtu kohti kättä kantavaa
punainen pitkä juova, alla maa
kuin hiiltä palon jälkeen.

Have a beautiful evening!


Early winter - at sunrise

Some days ago we were able to enjoy a particularly pink dawn:

The first two photos were taken in front of our home.

From the other side of the house, you see the lake, partially frozen now. The four white objects difficult to identify are swans sleeping or resting. They will have moved towards the south by now:

And this is a view that you have already seen many times. There isn't anything really special about it, but I like to depict this part of the lake, because there aren't any houses or cottages there:


Cutie pies

There have been great photos of birds in many blogs recently.  Compared with those, my results may look rather modest, especially technically, but my models are really cute. This great tit (Parus major) seems to be inspecting the premises.

During the summer months, we don't really see them, but in winter they are common visitors around bird feeders.

These two photos have been taken through a window. It seems to be the easiest way to get enough near to the birds without scaring them off.

The willow tit (Parus montanus/Poecile montanus) has always been my favourite bird:

This photo too was taken through a window. I wanted to show it, because it's one of my first ones and definitely my best photo of a wood nuthatch or Eurasian nuthatch (Sitta europaea), here nonchalantly descending a tree head first:

Linking up with Mosaic Monday, hosted by Judith @ Lavender Cottage:

I have recently added the "Join this site" button in my blog.

To keep up with my favourite blogs (well, at least some of them - in the bloglists of my favourite blogs I find new interesting blogs every day, and in the bloglists of those blogs... ...!), I simply add them to my reading list.  However, clicking a button is of course even more simple.

  It has been lovely to see that, thus far, my blog has been visited by people 
from more than twenty countries. I hope you will drop by again! 


Early winter - a sunny day

In the last few days we have been able to enjoy bright sunshine. The sun still warms. When I have seen on the computer how my photos of the spontaneous heathers, taken in the morning, were out of focus, it was too late to try again. The white "flowers" of ice had already disappeared. 

Yet, I do like this photo. It combines elegance with cheerfulness... :D

Heathers in window boxes look happy, too.

Behind the branches of a small pine tree, you can see the sheet of ice that now partially covers "our" lake. Too thin for skating yet...

Strange creatures have appeared during the night... More prosaically, it seems to be a leaf with ice crystals attached to it.  Searching the Web for images of "hoar frost", as I just did, one can see stunning photographs.

There are still drops of colour...

Depending on where you are... Have a nice day! or Good night!


Coffee-table books (Part I) and a brief about-this-blog note

After many grey and drizzly days, we have now been able to enjoy blue skies and sunshine... and a drop in temperature.  Last night the lowest reading was -10.4 degrees Celsius (13.3 degrees Fahrenheit).  Cars are now fitted with studded winter tyres and split firewood has been stacked next to the building. The wisterias and pelargoniums have been carried indoors. I have little expertise in overwintering plants, but at least until this year keeping the pelargoniums in their pots in a light, cool but frost-free room has worked surprisingly well.

The leaves of hardy geraniums have elegant colours:

It is beautiful outside, but for some reason my recent photos don't look especially inspired. Having also caught a cold, I needed to search for beauty somewhere else.

This book about fruits, vegetables, herbs, etc. was given to me by my husband last Christmas. Texts are by Francesco Bianchini and Francesco Corbetta and illustrations by Marilena Pistoia.  The cropped photos below fail to do justice to the beautiful illustrations - I offer my apologies to the author also for the bluish tinge of the pages; originally they are white.

We don't actually keep our books on coffee tables, but if we did, this book could be among them.  It's lovely to look through, admiring the details of the illustrations.  The texts provide interesting information for the reader.

Frutti della Terra. Atlante delle piante alimentari

Tavole di Marilena Pistoia

Tavole di Marilena Pistoia

Tavole di Marilena Pistoia

I have now added the "Join this site" button in my blog.

To keep up with my favourite blogs (well, at least some of them - in the bloglists of my favourite blogs I find new interesting blogs every day, and in the bloglists of those blogs...!), I simply add them to my reading list.  However, clicking a button is of course even more simple.

  It has been lovely to see that, thus far, my blog has been visited by people 
from more than twenty countries. I hope you will drop by again!


Humming a Christmas tune

In window boxes, the summer flowers have given way to heathers and sprigs of pine.

Last week I wrote about my brain playing Christmas songs in my head, without any obvious stimulus, if not that of the nights getting darker and longer. It's not a problem at all, since I love practically all genres of Christmas music (from Bach to traditional carols and secular Christmas songs).   Washing the dishes and hoovering the carpets is so much funnier when you have a joyful American, mid-19th century Christmas song "playing" in the background.

This book has been following me everywhere for years.

There are (easy) arrangements of many of the most beloved carols.

Music is the universal language of mankind, and many carols loved by us (in Finland) have reached us from other countries, like Sweden, Germany, France, Great Britain and the United States. The tongue you see below is Swedish:

"Santa Claus Is Coming to Town", one of the songs that keep popping into my mind.  Just think that it was first performed (on a radio show) in 1934, already eighty years ago!

The book is illustrated with old (or old-style) Swedish and Finnish Christmas cards.  I have used some from the book and some of those received by my family for this week's mosaic.

Do visit Judith's lovely blog "Lavender Cottage" to see her charming mosaics and many others!

Have a lovely week!


The most wonderful time of the year is approaching

There isn't snow yet. 
At the moment, you can find only few Christmas items in the shops and supermarkets.
People are not planning their Christmas decorations and dinners yet...  

However, every year from September on if not earlier, I frequently find myself humming Christmas tunes and having Christmas thoughts. To be honest, I'm thinking of Christmas all year round. I can't help it. I love Christmas.

After our removal, my card making supplies and gift wrapping papers, ribbons, and bows are still in cardboard boxes, but I was able to find something for these photos.  Christmas trees of all types and materials belong to the list of things I most love.

This is our official autumn wreath :), but it is a little bit Christmassy as well:

Since we all like Christmas, my mother happily stores her coffee in this tin box

and my father keeps his breakfast cookies in this tin, originally of Swedish ginger thins:

I think one can enjoy Christmas in a city as well as in the countryside, but one thing is crucial to my Christmas: the snow. Fortunately, we normally have plenty of it in December.  The view from our living room window (and from the terrace) towards the lake usually looks like this around Christmas (this photo was taken in 2012):

Last year we had an unusually mild winter... and practically a Christmas without snow.  The lake was covered with a sheet of ice, but then the ice was covered with water.

In these days, the same view looks like this:

Joining Judith for Mosaic Monday.

Have a beautiful week!


October Breast Cancer Month

For example Judith of Lavender Cottage and Sylvia (on A Grandma's Blessings) have dedicated lovely posts to breast cancer awareness. According to pinkribbon.org, "aside from non-melanoma skin cancer, breast cancer is the most common form of cancer in women. Breast cancer is the number one cause of cancer deaths in Hispanic women. It is the second most common cause of cancer deaths in white, black, Asian/Pacific Islander, and American Indian/Alaska Native women". Breast cancer is an issue that touches us all in one way or another.

For the Pink October, I have first put together some of my favourite flowers:

Even though the topic is serious, raising money can be fun and engaging - together with others, grab something pink, eat something pink, have pink drinks... Wear it pink!  (In Finland, the Pink Ribbon Day is on the tenth of October this year.)

Commercialization of charitable causes is a controversial issue:  companies happily strengthen their image and boost their revenue by "supporting the fight" against, say, breast cancer. It seems, however, that some firms are more conscientious than others and some types of merchandise more reasonable than others. Among the pink products (sold in Finland), my favourites include for example fair trade roses and sock knitting yarn.

Taito Group

Have a lovely, pink October!


From the treasure box

We received this coffee (?) service as a wedding present from a sweet, elderly lady. We are not sure, but we believe she herself (perhaps together with the husband, already passed away) may have received it as a gift. Perhaps she would be disappointed to know we practically never use the set. It may not be very expensive, but it brings back memories, and breaking something would be unbearable. 

The coffee cup below has sentimental value for me as well, because I gave it to my mother when I was a child, thinking it was the prettiest cup I had ever seen.

By the way, the people in Finland really love drinking coffee; the annual per capita consumption of coffee (according to Wikipedia) is 12.0 kg, whereas, for example, Canadians consume an average of 6.5 kilograms of coffee per capita yearly. For the United States and New Zealand the figures are 4.2 and 3.7 respectively. 

Linking to Mosaic Monday, hosted by Judith of Lavender Cottage Gardening.


The surrounding woodland

These photos were taken some weeks ago. I so much enjoy the calm and peaceful feeling of the autumn days.

At the moment there isn't yet a real garden around our home; there are woods and woodland, but gradually the area will become - it is hoped - more like a garden, but one that looks less as if it had been planned than as if it might have come naturally.