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.

29/01/2015

Goodbye, January!


I wasn't thinking to try to create an End of the Month Mosaic for January, but Susanna at Pieni Lintu had posted such a beautiful one that I just had to participate in her link party...  I hope you take time to pop in to see hers and the other mosaics!

So here's my January 2015 in photos:




Welcome, February!


27/01/2015

Colours of January

Poecile montanus


Lately, the weather hasn't been very inspiring. In January, the sun doesn't climb much above the horizon here in Eastern Finland (between 62° and 63° N), but there are some bright and cheerful days with blue skies.  Often, however, even the sunrays look bleak and the landscapes grey and dreary, in spite of snow...




There are many different shades of brown and grey colours...




... rather elegant shades, I would say, but... ...




On cloudy winter days, it's even more difficult to find something nice to photograph.




I know I'm privileged, though. I only need to step out the front door and I can stand still and contemplate the tall spruces and birches that surround our home. These branches of spruces, with some frozen snow on them, looked rather interesting when seen from below.




Not very intensely hued, but pretty...




Fortunately, at the grocer's you can find flowers as well! Among those available, I chose cut tulips and a primula. Only I should have bought several of them, of different colours.  Nothing says Spring (other than a bunch of crispy tulips) like a pot of cheerful primulas.




Citing a newspaper article: Tired of waiting for spring? Take matters into your own hands and create a splash of colour with pots of primulas!







22/01/2015

Beautiful winter

The days are cold, but beautiful. When I'm writing this, the temperature (outside) is -29 degrees Celsius (-20.2 °F).



In the afternoon we have seen pretty ice crystal halos. They may have been "sun dogs" ("phantom suns"), but I'm not certain.



One was "above" the lake.



These optical phenomena are caused by the refraction of light from ice crystals drifting in the air.



The crystals are called "diamond dust", and never was a name more appropriate... Here a close-up, with enhanced colors. Pretty, aren't they!





I'm joining Karen at My Little Home and Garden for Sunlit Sunday

and





Unfortunately my photos don't do justice to the beautiful phenomenon.  Imagine that you are surrounded by the bright sunshine and see tiny little particles, innumerable and almost imperceptible, dancing in the air and glistening golden...



Sun dogs typically appear in pairs, always at the same height as the sun. The red-coloured side is the one towards the sun, as you can see in the photos.

Using a zoom lens, trying to focus on the floating ice crystals was of course very difficult. Below, there is another out-of-focus photo, with strongly enhanced colours and contrast. I decided to call it "Étude de couleurs"...







Here's to a beautiful, colourful and sunlit new week!


20/01/2015

Icicles and cute critters

There is beauty everywhere around us.




In the last few days, we have seen some unusual icicles. It had been snowing much and on the roofs there were thick, heavy blankets of snow. With thawing, the snow started slowly to slide downwards (and fell down).  In this photo, you can see some of the last chunks still on a roof:




The melt water running under the blanket of snow had formed funny-looking icicles:




This is one of them, seen through our kitchen window:




In the following day, it was sparkling golden in the rays of the afternoon sun:




Looking like abstract art:




Here another one, again seen from the kitchen window:




Below, you can see air bubbles and some seeds trapped in the ice. The colours haven't been edited. The sun was shining and the dark background colour of this and the first photo comes from the trees behind (on the other side of the lake):






And then the critter update.  One of "our" squirrels has learned to climb a steel pole to reach the bird feeder you can see in this post. I went to tell him/her that even though inventive, this approach is not appreciated by us. He/she decided to back away for a while:




A very cute willow tit came to keep an eye on the situation... and on the feeder:




Thank you for your visit!



This week sharing at



and



18/01/2015

Shy rays of sunshine

In this part of the world, we know that there are still weeks of hard winter ahead of us. Yet (or perhaps exactly because of that!), catching a glimpse of the sun and the blue sky has an intoxicating effect. 




Spring and summer are only a very distant promise, but the sunshine reminds us of "the glad certainty that summer is nearing, and that the good things promised will never fail", as Jekyll so nicely puts it.




It has been snowing much in the last few weeks. Yesterday evening the weather changed again. There was a strong wind and the temperature climbed above zero. Standing in the (not yet complete) darkness, I enjoyed, for quite a while, watching the tall spruces wavering in the wind and listened the heavy lumps of snow thudding down. This morning the trees were all bare:




But more snow is expected, of course.  We will most probably have still several weeks of views like this (the photos below have been taken some days ago):




Even at noon, the sunrays are almost horizontal. As you can see, we have very little sunlight at this time of year. I decided, however, to participate in this week's "Sunlit Sunday", hoping this post can brighten up at least a little bit the beginning of our new week!



hosted by Karen





Going towards the evening...






And, of course,

joining Judith





15/01/2015

Playing


Last week I shared a photo (a vase of tulips) processed using Picasa's Pencil Sketch effect. I'm not done yet with my experiments... but don't worry, I'm not going to post these every week! :D




Of flowers, I made "sketches" with a little bit of colour. This is the same photo as in my previous post. I like how these white roses came out:




Lupins are among my favourite flowers:




Hydrangeas are not my favourite flowers, but I do like this image:




Then I wanted to see how buildings and town views would look. These images are without colours:




During a stay  -  many, many years ago  -  in Florence, Italy, this was the view from our hotel room window:




This photo, taken not far from where we lived (an area of beautiful hills and with plenty of castles), was taken through some kind of stone window or door. The dark stone frames the original photo nicely, but in the "pencil sketch" it looks blurry:





It has been snowing much. Wet, heavy snow and even longer power outages are expected for the weekend and start of next week. I hope I will be able to participate in Mosaic Monday and to visit your blogs! Bye for now!



13/01/2015

A CD and a book


Roses of inspiration...




At the moment, the roses are covered by snow, and outside it looks like this:




Now to the topic of this post: 

Listening to good music while writing blog posts may be dangerous. With baroque music caressing your ears, all your photos look wonderful and your texts larger than life. That is, however, what I often do... :)

One evening recently, wishing to listen to something inspiriting, I chose a record where the South Korean violinist Jung Chanwoo, together with a Japanese pianist, plays Christian music.




I bought the CD several years ago in Italy after a concert (at a local Methodist church) by Jung. I chose it among the records available because it included some beautiful pieces he had played during the concert.

In general, that small church was the place of many unforgettable music experiences.  In the Music School (Conservatorio) of the town, there were many foreign students, and a group of them, from South Korea, sometimes celebrated the Sunday service together with the local Methodists and sang there as choristers. I don't know how it is to hear angels singing, but it could be like in those moments.

The list of the contents (click to enlarge!) shows that there are both Western and Oriental melodies. One of my favourite pieces is the number 13; unfortunately I'm not able to read/translate its name. (Needless to say, if anyone of you is able to read the language, please write a comment!)

I also like the No. 10, "Ave Maria" (attr. Caccini); no matter if it's Italian or Russian, Baroque or contemporary, it is beautiful, and this is one of the arrangements I most like.




Jung Chanwoo has lived in Japan too and he hopes to serve as a bridge-builder between the Korean and Japanese people. He plays a Guarneri del Gesù violin that is believed to have been owned by Albert Einstein...




... and remembering that helped me choose the book for the evening.

It would be better to read Dear Professor Einstein: Albert Einstein's Letters to and from Children (ed. Alice Calaprice) in English, since most of the letters were originally written in English (and some in German), but unfortunately I have it only in Italian. 

There also are interesting photos and Einstein's biography in the book.

Joyful, touching, sage, and perspective...




Happy Tuesday!



Joining
a link-up party at
Stephanie's



11/01/2015

Pink (blogging) dreams




Today I would have liked to share with you photos of this year's first seed packets, but they haven't arrived yet. Fortunately, I found these tulips at our grocery store. Then I was having fun with Picasa:




This is the post No. 103 of My Woodland Garden. I was hoping to celebrate the 100th post with a short commentary, but sometimes life just gets in the way.  Well, today there is time for a few words about blogging...

I had been admiring many, many garden blogs already for some time before I had the idea to start one of my own.  I started writing posts in April 2014, and because I wanted to have several of them for the future readers, I made the blog public only in September. (Perhaps not the best of strategies.)




Without the help of some lovely, more experienced bloggers, the beginning of my path as a blogger would have been much, much rougher, if not impossible. You can find the blogs of these wonderful women in my blogroll... and on a future occasion I would like to thank them more openly as well, for all their support, good advice, and kind comments.




You may have noticed that some changes have been made in this blog recently. I had finally noticed that I'm a no-reply blogger, not intentionally, and when starting to fix this, I also decided to "revert to Blogger Profile".  When I started blogging, a Google+ account was created automatically.  It has some very interesting features, but to me it has brought more disadvantages than advantages: At least in Finland, it doesn't seem to be much used, some bloggers find blogs connected to a Google+ account somehow dubious, and sometimes people don't even notice there is a blog "behind" the G+ profile.

I hope people will now find this blog more easily...  I have had several new followers and commenters recently. A hearty welcome to you all!

I haven't decided yet what to do with the G+ account. In any case, a huge thank you to those that became my "followers" there.  I would be more than happy if you could consider joining this blog.




In a way, it's a pity that I started blogging only now. In the earlier years of my life, I was travelling much more and living in very interesting places, also gardeningwise. I think, however, that even in a not-so-zazzy life there are many beautiful things to share with other people.

I also started taking digital photos only rather recently, since I was much attached to my old film SLR with its many lenses, flashes, etc. Now I must of course admit that with a digital camera, photographing has become more gratifying. Some of the few photo prints looked good in those days, but now...

Except for those of the tulips, the pictures of this post are old photos from our garden in Italy. Below you can see a Wisteria that was (and still is) growing  near our covered garden gate:




Its abundant blooming (seen from the street) covers the gate and the wrought iron fence. The photo is in b/w, because it was taken in harsh midday sunlight, and my editing skills are not enough to fix the horrible colours! :)




After some hesitation, I have also added the Translate button. I have noticed Google Translate works rather well with language pairs like English-Italian and English-Swedish.  Finnish, however, with its particular syntactical and morphological features, causes more difficulties. Some translated sentences are almost unintelligible. One of the most unfortunate examples is that the English "do visit x!" is translated into Finnish as if it were "do not visit x!"...

(Oh, I just remembered an amusing link shared last year! To all those interested in languages: http://linustechtips.com/main/topic/72936-english-swedish-german-and-finnish-decline-dog/)



That's all for now. Thank you for your visit!







Joining Judith for Mosaic Monday.

For more mosaics, visit her lovely blog!