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.


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!


Girl's best friends

This post is not about gemstones, even though it is about some small, colourful, brilliant objects that bring much joy to our life. :)

There are many precious things that don't cost much. On a cool autumn morning, the rain drops sparkled like diamonds.

The weather would be sunny, with scattered clouds. "The air up there in the clouds is very pure and fine, bracing and delicious. And why shouldn't it be? - it is the same the angels breathe." Mark Twain in Roughing It (1872)

There is still one week till the first Sunday in Advent, but since there were family members visiting us this weekend, we already decorated the two small spruces in front of the main door with Christmas lights.

One can spend blissful moments contemplating the stars, or the clouds, or the Christmas lights...

And that was the more lyrical part of this post!

I have the habit of saying that a good dictionary is a girl's best friend. Then I started to wonder what else a girl needs... 

(The photos not mine are by the BBC, IsaDora, and Nikon.)

Linking with Mosaic Monday, hosted by Judith at Lavender Cottage!

Have a lovely new week!


For children...

.. and for us childlike adults!

News programmes show images from the USA hit by snowstorms. Let's hope the weather improves and, especially, that there will not be more victims.

Here the snow has almost disappeared again and it's dark outside. I have continued unpacking books out of moving boxes, and then decided to cheer myself up in the company of two well-known (in Scandinavia) illustrators of children's books.

Elsa Beskow (1874–1953) was a Swedish author and illustrator. Her books have lovely names, for example Tale of the Little Little Old Woman and Aunt Green, Aunt Brown and Aunt Lavender. These pictures are from the book Little Lasse in the Garden, in Swedish Lasse-Liten i trädgården (1920). Lasse has lost his ball in the garden and goes to look for it with Autumn. Together they meet Mrs Winter-Apple and other characters:

One of them, Mrs Cabbage, is very fine, serious and important:

And of course there are many beautiful flowers in the garden:

Rudolf Koivu (1890–1946) was a Finnish illustrator and painter, best known for illustrating children's books and designing book covers and postcards. These images could be used to show how people living in the Finnish countryside celebrated Christmas back in the olden days:
A sheaf of oats was tied on a pole for the birds to feed on.

Christmas Peace was declared for forest animals too:

A spruce tree was cut and taken home (well, not by small children, I'd say):

Christmas Eve was festive and calm...

... and the Christmas Day service began at six o'clock in the morning:

In one of the books I found all the verses to an old Finnish Christmas song "A sleigh ride to Christmas Day Service". Some of them are very seldom sung. Unfortunately, the lyrics seem to be available only in Finnish  -  and trying to translate poetry would be pushing myself far beyond my level of competence. :)

Ylläolevat Rudolf Koivun maalaamat kuvat ovat kirjasta Rudolf Koivun joulukirja (toim.Raija Rajasammal ja Kaarina Miettinen). Marja Salonen päättää esipuheensa kuvaamalla Koivun maailmaa: "Se kaikki oli luotu vain pienen lyijykynän ja koululaisten käyttämien vesi- ja peitevärien kaltaisten välineiden avulla mutta taiturimaisen käden ohjauksessa." Niinpä!

Kirjassa on satujen lisäksi myös joululauluja. En muistanutkaan, että siinä on tutusta, Immi Hellénin sanoittamasta "Joulukirkkoon"-laulusta neljätoista säkeistöä. Osaa niistä ei kuule juuri koskaan.

1. Kello löi jo viisi, lapset, herätkää,
Juhani ja Liisi - muuten matka jää!

2. Tässä vesimalja, silmät huuhtokaa!
Lämmin karhuntalja reessä odottaa.

3. Joutuin turkit niskaan, kintaat käsihin!
Sanna vielä viskaa villahuivinkin.

4. Vasta ruunan reessä silmät aukeaa -
siin on silmäin eessä synkkä metsämaa.

5. Aisakello helkkää, loistaa tähdet, kuu. 
Riemua on pelkkää, hymyyn käypi suu. 

6. Tuossa mökin Miina kulkee kirkollen. 
Taavetti ja Tiina, nouskaa kannoillen! 

7. Mäenrinteen alla talo töröttää, 
joka ikkunalla kaksi kynttilää. 

8. Ruuna, virsta vielä tepsuttele pois! 
Tällä kirkkotiellä aina olla vois! 

9. Riemuhuuto lähti lasten huulilta: 
juurkuin jouluntähti kirkko kummulla! 

10. Sisälläpä vasta silmät huikenee, 
tänne taivahasta Korkein katselee. 

11. Saivat paikan oman pitkään penkkihin, 
sytyttivät soman haarakynttelin. 

12. Ijäks muistiin jäänet - niin ei kaunista, 
kuin on urkuin äänet jouluaamuna. 

13. Luulee kuulevansa äänet enkelten, 
luulee leijaavansa sinne seimellen. 

14. Soipi virret vielä kulkiessa pois - 
sillä kirkkotiellä aina olla sois.


Almost b/w

I do like winter, but cloudy November days can be really boring. There isn't much snow yet.

The temperature is just below zero (Celsius, in Fahrenheit that would be about 30 degrees), and there is a light mist, which softens the lines of trees on the other side of the lake.

There is less than an inch of snow. After the night, there are always paw prints of hares and squirrels around our home, and sometimes, like this morning, you can find these... each print is three inches long and the animal looks to have been running and perhaps chasing somebody smaller, a squirrel, perhaps.

We think it's a lynx, but we are not certain.  The (Eurasian) lynx is said to be an opportunistic predator, it feeds on whatever animal appears easiest - including hares and squirrels, for instance.

Well, to be able to catch a squirrel, it must be swift. The squirrels are so fast, much too fast for me! :)
This is my best photo so far:

To add some colour to this post, a chocolate box dedicated to winter (in Finnish "talvi")! The illustrations are by Mauri Kunnas, a Finnish cartoonist and children's author. More about his work later.

Stay warm!


Kuvahaaste: 10 kaunista - Summer 2014 revisited

Tässä tulee toinen osa Lauran kesäkuvahaasteeseen! Oli lopulta aika vaikeaa valita kuvia - ne näyttivät hyviltä aikoinaan, mutta nyt pitäisi valita kaikkein parhaita. Hmmm. Yritin myös valita kuvia, joita en olisi vielä julkaissut, mutta ei se täysin onnistunut.

This is the second set of photos I've chosen for Laura's photo challenge. It's about the good and beautiful things we have received and experienced during the past growing season. Now it's dark and colourless outside, and it is really nice to have a look back at the more cheerful days! (This time the short descriptions are in English. Initially, my ambitious plan was to write the texts for this blog at least in two languages, but unfortunately I have noticed it would take too much time.)

So, the ten beautiful things or events, in my garden or in my life, that made me feel gratitude... Here we go!

1 I love pink and find the colouring of these Million Bells very pretty:

During the summer, I already published many photos of Cosmos. I totally fell in love with them. The petals, with a lovely texture, are not easily damaged by the rain.

2 Our "bed" of lupins is gradually becoming less vibrant, even though we try to remove the plants with pale colours. But... tomorrow is another day! Next spring we will see new plants and new colours. Plus I'm preparing more beds.

3 Evening. It's that "golden time of day when the sun's rays are almost horizontal and kiss everything they touch". (The previous sentence is not mine. I need to thank Zoe Mullery, in Brothers in Pen: Six Cubic Feet by San Quentin Nine, whose beautiful sentence I have slightly modified.)

4 This picture is sheer art. Early morning dew, mostly out of focus, yet so beautiful:

5 There are actually more than ten photos in this set, also because I decided to include two of harebells (for Finns they are "cat's bells").  Below, the background is our newly painted house :)

There were so many bells last summer!

6 Dew drops on marguerite petals. The pink petals seem to reflect the blue sky of a beautiful summer morning:

7 Autumn leaf colour wasn't very spectacular this year, perhaps because even the long-established woody plants suffered from drought during the summer. This shrub (unfortunately I don't know its name), however, wears its very best:

8 Now I'm repeating myself. I already had a photo of tomatoes in the previous group of pictures. These cherry tomatoes, however, look so round and cute and delicious...

9 This photo was taken in late October. Autumn had come, and yet there were sunny days and plants with happy-looking green leaves:

10 Speaking of My Woodland Garden, the stress is on the word "woodland". For example, the area seen in the last photo is almost "natural" and not very orderly (yet), but it's embellished by the morning mist and the colours of the approaching autumn:

That's it for now. Thanks for stopping by!

I'm joining Judith for Mosaic Monday. For more mosaics, visit her lovely blog!


Kuvahaaste: 9 hyvää

With today's post I participate in a Finnish Photo Challenge. It's about the good and gratefully received things of the past summer.

Laura esittää kauniissa Paratiisinpalasia-blogissaan haasteen esitellä kuluneelta kasvukaudelta yhdeksän hyvää ja kymmenen kaunista asiaa.

Haaste tuli sopivaan aikaan; ulkona on niin harmaata ja pimeää, että on mukava muistella kesän värejä ja valoa!  Kokosin kuvat aika nopeasti. Suurin osa niistä on jo julkaistu aikaisemmissa postauksissani, mutta ehkäpä se ei haittaa, koska ne ovat ajalta ennen kuin laitoin blogin julkiseksi ja monikaan ei varmaan ole niitä nähnyt.

Tässä tulevat yhdeksän hyvää. Ne ovat ainakin suunnilleen aikajärjestyksessä.
(Pieni päivitys: Kun katselin blogia julkaisun jälkeen, Lightbox ei jostain syystä toiminut, vaikka asetus on valittuna. Harmillista!! Toivottavasti asia korjaantuu!)

Juhannusruusun tuoksu on aivan ihana:

Sen kukinta onnistui tänä kesänä erityisen hyvin. Edellinen talvihan oli epätavallisen leuto. Tuhohyönteisiä oli vähän ja/tai ne onnistuttiin torjumaan tavallista paremmin:

Viime vuosien iloinen yllätys on ollut lehtoakileijojen kylväytyminen tuntemattomasta lähteestä juuri rakkaan kissamme haudan ympärille, ei mihinkään muuhun kohtaan. Se tuntuu hyvältä. Yritän auttaa niiden leviämistä ja runsastumista:

Hyvä ystävä ja tervetullut vieras:

Kesän paras ostos olivat punakosmokset. Niiden kukinta vain komistui viikko viikolta, ja syksyllä pakkasten tullessa kukkia ja nuppuja olisi ollut vielä kymmeniä kussakin kasvissa:

Tämä on selvä. Nämä ovat niin hyvänmakuisia :)

Hyvää tekevästä sateesta on kaksikin kuvaa. Monien viikkojen kuivan kauden jälkeen sade elokuun puolivälissä virkisti kasvit ja ihmiset:

Kukat olivat märkiä, mutta onnellisia:

Tämäkin kuva liittyy makuun. Omat tomaatit maistuvat tietysti kaikista parhaimmalle!

Nyt vain pohtimaan, mitkä olisivat ne kymmenen kaunista...