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!

Thank you for your visit.


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!


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)


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!


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!


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!

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 (link not valid anymore). Thank you for hosting, Judith!

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


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


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.

Photos from: Kunniamme päivät: Suomen sota 1939-40 kuvina ja päämajan tilannetiedoituksina

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. 

Photos from: Kunniamme päivät: Suomen sota 1939-40 kuvina ja päämajan tilannetiedoituksina

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.

Photos from: Kunniamme päivät: Suomen sota 1939-40 kuvina ja päämajan tilannetiedoituksina

Photos from: Kunniamme päivät: Suomen sota 1939-40 kuvina ja päämajan tilannetiedoituksina

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. 

Photos from: Kunniamme päivät: Suomen sota 1939-40 kuvina ja päämajan tilannetiedoituksina

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.

Photos from: Kunniamme päivät: Suomen sota 1939-40 kuvina ja päämajan tilannetiedoituksina

Remembering with gratitude.

Tomorrow, Sunday, I'll be joining the participants of Mosaic Monday at Judith's Lavender Cottage Gardening. (Links not working anymore)

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!


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!


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!


Something to think about

Good morning! Today I would like to share with you something I read recently - and found very interesting - on one of the lovely blogs I follow:

Donna's post on letting go can be read at http://www.livingfromhappiness.com/poetry-sunday-letting-go/.

She writes: "The Hyssop pictured here refers to cleanliness in the Language of Flowers.  It felt appropriate to use these flowers given the cleansing that letting go can bring."

Thank you, Donna!