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.


Goodbye, April!

In our part of the country, April was coldish, rather cloudy, very windy... Spring didn't spring. 
Here are some highlights of my April. 

you can find her April Collage 
and links to many others.

Above is the original version of the collage. This is how I see the world, with much colour.

In some programs the colours looked even too bright and I toned them down a bit for another version. Do you notice any difference? Which one do you like more?

And this is the artistic version... :D

Have a beautiful May!

PS If you are interested to see how it looks here now, here's a photo taken about one hour ago. :)


Signs of spring

Very shy signs of spring in Eastern Finland...

... and, once more, a very cute little squirrel:

Waiting for spring

Recently I have asked myself if blogging about gardening has any sense here where we still don't have any spring flowers blooming... and it's soon May! Of course I'm not going to give up easily, but for today's post I picked some old lupin photos, and added some recent photos of other things.

I adore Lupinus x regalis:

Some "passport photos" of lupins. :)

Participating in

The following photos have been taken in these days. Clouds are fascinating, aren't they?

The ice usually starts melting from the shore towards the center of the lake. This photo shows the border of the ice and a stretch of open water (finally!) near the shore.  Evening clouds are again reflected in still waters...

Ice art... by Nature.

I so wish this couple decided to nest near our home.

Common reed is definitely not one of my favourite plants, and now I found the dry stems between me and the birds. It's the first time I got so close to whooper swans, and I surely didn't want to disturb them by looking for a better spot for taking photos. Hiding behind the plants with my camera, I was feeling like a paparazza... :)

Cygnus cygnus

Have a lovely week!


Five on Friday

Hello! It's Friday and time to participate in Amy's Five on Friday!

This time I have five happy/fun things from the past week to share:

1. Flowers in the home. First I intended to post a photo of a potted lily blooming, but its flowers are orange, and I like pink so much more...

2. This is a lettu. It's a small, thin pancake cooked in a pancake pan. (We eat also larger-sized pancakes with lacy edges that are cooked in a regular frying pan.)  These pancakes are usually served with berries or jam, fresh fruit, ice cream, or whipped cream. I have decorated this one with a frozen strawberry. Isn't it cute!

3. In our family, we seem to like the good "old-fashioned" printed magazines. When my brother visits us, he brings some of his magazines (subscribed to or bought) for us to read. The topics are, for example, astronomy (everybody is interested in it) and science, cars, computers, and fishing, and sometimes I'm jokingly asking whether he has forgotten the ladies of the house. Last week he didn't! This one is a special gardening issue of a home magazine, and it's lovely. There are beautiful articles about roses, peonies, and lavenders... ♥

4.  The weather is cold, but there is so much light already!

5. Now I can hear you asking: "What? Another sunset, not again?!" Yes, but not just any sunset. By now the sun sets close to northwest. We always see the sun set behind the lake, in midwinter in the southwest... and we love to observe how the sunset gradually moves towards the north when the spring advances.

Those were my five things... but I must add some more photos, even though of a poor quality. Please, Amy, don't disqualify me!

Yesterday morning we were greeted by this view, it was snowing and sleeting again.

We had a visitor too, a mountain hare, in transition between its two coats. Notice the funny-looking white ears!

As you can see, he/she has a perfect camouflage for our weather conditions. :)

Happy weekend!


Pete and co.

This is Pete, a dear friend of ours. If he spent his summers and raised the family in an English-speaking country, his name could be for example Phil, Phil the Finch, or perhaps Charlie the Chaffinch. I will tell you more about him in another post.

A Finnish proverb counts "the days to summer" by following the migration of some familiar small bird species: "A month from a skylark, a half from a finch, a little from a wagtail and not a day from a swallow."  Well, the finches have arrived and are singing their hearts out, but the weather is still cold.

In these days I have managed to take some animal photos and can participate in

Eileen's lovely link party Saturday's Critters!

Almost everybody loves blackbirds (ours is Turdus merula), especially because of their lovely, fluted, melodious song. They have become more common where we live, which doesn't make me completely happy, since they eat (a lot of) our friends earthworms.

I have already posted several photos of squirrels. (Sorry!) I like the tender light and colours of these pictures. Click to enlarge!

Most of the photos of this post have been taken through a window.  The timid whooper swans move quickly away if I go out and try to get closer.

This is how a Finnish spring morning looks like. :)

One of our squirrels looks slightly wet too.

Some brave flowers can already be kept outdoors...

... and inside the home a pink pelargonium is blooming.

Participating in 


as well as

♥ Have a beautiful new week! ♥


Of this and that

A cute little pelargonium is opening its first buds. (Click to enlarge.)

There isn't much to see yet, in the garden and surroundings. First I thought these tulips are the only signs of spring...

... but then I noticed that the lupins, my faithful friends, are coming up!

I like the picture above.  -  In the following day, I noticed that there are also brave little baby lupins coming up. I decided to add one more photo (below) and to link the post to Susanna's MakroTex challenge. This week's theme is April. (The next week's theme will be "Treasure". That sounds like fun!)

Anyhow, I had decided to do also something a little bit different today. In many blogs, there are posts about the blogger's favourite cosmetic products.  Here's my top 5, the products I just couldn't do without! (NB There are no advertisements on this site and the opinions expressed are my own.)

The lavender essential oil hand cream by L'Occitane en Provence, the mascara and automatic eyeliner for sensitive eyes by Lumene (a Finnish manufacturer), the BB day wear cream by Estée Lauder, and the lavender perfumed talc by L'Erbolario:

The Italian L'Erbolario is one of my favourite cosmetic companies for at least two reasons: many of their natural and plant-based products are really good and the company adheres to the "International Humane Cosmetics Standard: Stop the tests on animal".   -   Is your favourite brand cruelty free? See http://www.gocrueltyfree.org/search?country=231.

When I was into fashion and beauty, I decided to make my Monday collage of my favourite gardening apparel... :D

Shirt: Ralph Lauren Denim&Supply. Wellies: Ilse Jacobsen. Jeans: Tommy Hilfiger.

Do join us for
Mosaic Monday
at Judith's Lavender Cottage!

Links not valid anymore, unfortunately.


Mosaic Monday

Hello, all! I hope you have had a joyful Easter!

In my first mosaic, there are still some photos of the Spring Fair.  Among the cut flowers for sale, there were especially tulips and roses. You can also see the pretty hellebore and some of the lavenders I bought... and my new walking length umbrella! :) The rain had been predicted for the weekend and I had a light folding umbrella with me. I happened to notice these  -  and wasn't unhappy at all that it was raining when we left the Exhibition Centre. The colour is not the best, but I like the tulip print and the large size. 

This is my Easter mosaic. For us, the colours of Easter are yellow and light green, with some other cheerful colours added.

Joining Judith


Thank you for visiting! Have a happy week ahead!


Haastevastauksia - Sunsets - Happy Easter!

Tiina Elämää puolen hehtaarin metsässä -blogista lähetti minulle Liebster Award -haasteen.  Kiitos, Tiina! Näiden hienojen auringonlaskujen jälkeen ovat vuorossa vastaukseni. :)

This post consists of two parts. First there are some recent photos I definitely wanted to share with you, and then there's the part where I again answer some questions, this time only in Finnish. (Sorry!) Last week Tiina at Elämää puolen hehtaarin metsässä nominated me for a Liebster Award, a blogging award going around also here in Finland every now and then.  Thank you, Tiina! :)

I have already posted many photos of sunsets... In these ones, the ice reflects the beautiful colours of the clouds:

In the following evening, the sun was already going down... and it started to snow!

Nyt sitten Tiinan Liebster Award -kysymyksiin. Tällä kertaa haasteella tehdään tunnetuksi blogeja, joilla on alle tuhat lukijaa. Ensin vastataan haastajan keksimiin 11 kysymykseen, sitten keksitään 11 uutta kysymystä ja haastetaan (5-) 11 uutta bloggaajaa mukaan.

Tässä ovat Tiinan kysymykset:

1. Mikä on elämäsi punainen lanka?
Yksi tärkeimmistä tunnuslauseistani on "Jokaiselta kykyjensä mukaan, jokaiselle tarpeidensa mukaan". Sitä olen yrittänyt noudattaa kaikessa toiminnassani.  (Selvyyden vuoksi: enemmän obamalaisittain kuin marxilaisittain.)

2. Asia tai paikka, josta pidät erityisesti kodissasi.
Järvimaisema olohuoneesta ja keittiöstä.

3. Mikä on lempivärisi?
Pidän kaikista väreistä. "Ei ole rumia värejä, on vain värejä väärissä paikoissa." Rakastan lehtivihreää sekä liilan ja viininpunaisen eri sävyjä.

4. Millaisesta musiikista pidät?
Vanhasta, erityisesti saksalaisesta barokkimusiikista.

5. Mistä unelmoit?
Maailmasta, jossa vahvemmat toimivat yhteiseksi hyväksi ja heikommista pidetään huolta. Maailmasta jossa luontoa ja eläimiä suojellaan. Oman elämän unelmat ovat pienempiä ja helpompia toteuttaa, kuten vaikkapa uusi ruusupenkki.

6. Teetkö jotain hassua aamuisin?
En hassua, mutta hienoa. Haen aikaisin sanomalehdet laatikosta lyhyen kävelymatkan päästä ja pysähdyn nauttimaan raikkaasta ilmasta ja kuuntelemaan luonnon ääniä.

7. Mielenkiintoinen paikka tai rakennus asuinpaikkasi lähellä.
Vanha kellari, joka näytti salaperäiseltä paikalta, kun olin lapsi.

8. Oliko sinulla lapsena mielikuvitusystävä?  
En ainakaan muista, että olisi ollut. Luin kirjoja ahmimalla. Meitä oli iso joukko lapsia, varsinkin kesäisin, ja kirjoista saatiin ideoita seikkailuihin, etsittiin salakäytäviä, perustettiin etsivätoimistoja ja rakennettiin intiaanileirejä.

9. Katsotko paljon televisiota ja mikä on suosikkisarjasi? 
Nykyään aina vain vähemmän. YLE1:n kello viiden sarja on perinne. Tällä hetkellä siis BBC:n "Isä Brown ja hänen laumansa". Kauniita maisemia ja puutarhoja! -  Kestosuosikkini ovat "Kyllä, herra ministeri" ja "Komisario Morse".

10. Mikä on lempikukkasi?
Tämä on vaikea!... Tarhaorvokit.

11. Miten aiot viettää pääsiäistä tänä vuonna?
Perheen kanssa. Koti koristellaan keltaisella ja keväänvihreällä. Syödään hyvin ja kasvispainotteisesti.

Tässä ovat keksimäni kysymykset:

1. Mikä on blogisi aihepiiri?
2. Miten kauan olet blogannut ja onko blogisi muuttunut ajan kuluessa?
3. Mistä vuodenajasta pidät eniten ja miksi?
4. Millainen on unelmapuutarhasi?
5. Mistä kukasta pidät kaikkein eniten?
6. Onko sinulla jokin erityisen rakas matkakohde?
7. Tärkein kirjailija, kuvataiteilija tai säveltäjä?
8. Luitko lapsena Aku Ankkaa?
9. Pidätkö eläimistä?
10. Pidätkö eniten tummasta suklaasta, maitosuklaasta vai valkosuklaasta?
11. Kerro itsestäsi jotain hauskaa tai yllättävää tai ihan mitä vain!

Viime aikoina näyttää erilaisia haasteita olleen paljon liikkeellä, mutta jatkan tätä kuitenkin seuraaville blogiystäville. Toivottavasti ehditte ja haluatte ottaa haasteen vastaan!

Kyllimarjaana blogeissa Endless Night in North ja Vanhat ajat
Anneli ja Pihakuiskaajan puutarha
Marikan uusi blogi on nimeltään Elämäntarina

Haluaisin haastaa myös esimerkiksi Lauran Elämää Paratiisinpalasessa -blogista, mutta olet, Laura, tainnut jo vastata tähän haasteeseen...