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.


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:

  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!


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!


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 first frost

Last night our thermometer registered -2.8 degrees Celsius (about 27 degrees Fahrenheit, according to the handy converter found on Google), and it is thus far the lowest temperature this autumn.

I'm especially sorry for the cosmoses.  They would still have tens and tens of buds of all sizes. (Fortunately, now in the warmth of the afternoon sun, it looks that most of them survived the cold.)