Garden Photo of the Day

Kate and Pekka’s Garden in Finland

Revisiting a growing garden

pink lilies

Today we’re off to Finland to catch up with Kate and Pekka Schneider.

We first wrote to submit photos in February 2017 (A Special Property in Finland). It’s a few years later, and we’d like to offer our fellow gardeners an opportunity to see how things have progressed from those early years. Come visit us in Finland via the comfort of your own home!

We continue to create new bedding spaces, which often include newly designed hardscapes and trellises. Now that a majority of the conifers and trees have put on some size, I’ve begun planting masses of perennials amid them: Nepeta, Salvia, spring and summer flowering lilies, and several varieties of Hosta in the shadier areas. At various intervals throughout the season we are enthralled with color, fragrance, form, and texture.

The plant specimen list has blossomed! The rose gardens now boast over 200 items. High summer is a glorious time, with the wafting aroma of roses in the air. Later, the abundantly placed hydrangeas steal the show with enormous flower heads that are seen throughout the borders. (We have more than 170!) With Finland’s late summer sunsets, it’s possible to partake in late evening enjoyment.

I pored over hundreds of recent photos hoping to find matches to those photos from 2017, but it proved very difficult. I have included several photos that demonstrate our good fortune and provide excellent examples of what we have achieved.

Paeonia Coral CharmPaeonia ‘Coral Charm’ (Zones 3–7) has been a stunner year after year. Splendid!

Hydrangea paniculata LimelightA recent view, similar to the 2017 submission, showing Hydrangea paniculata ‘Limelight’ (Zones 3–8) in full summer bloom.

early spring in finland gardenIn this view of our backyard in early spring 2020, the hydrangea have been pruned (I prune all our ‘Limelight’ and ‘Annabelle’ close to the ground every couple of years), and the whole yard has been tidied up after winter. Here you can see Picea conica ‘Glauca’ (Zones 3–6), Thuja occidentalis ‘Holmstrup’ and ‘Smaragd’ (Zones 2–7), and Acer platanoides ‘Drummondii’ (variegated Norway maple, Zones 3–7).

empty gardenThis photo of the same spot from August 2015 is a reminder of what was here before we arrived—not much!

garden beds around a large birch treeOur side yard features a large birch tree at the midpoint. These beds are the result of enlarging a previous bed in the same place. This bed has seen the most rework of all our other garden beds. Four times we’ve enlarged and reshaped this bed. It’s done now!

pink liliesLilies! An unknown variety.

winter afternoon sunsetA winter afternoon sunset, as seen from the terrace

snow covered gardenWinter snow in our side yard with a southeastern situation. The green trellis supports the rose ‘Ghislaine de Feligonde’. There are mature apple trees in the background. The black trellis overlooks a pond feature and supports the rose ‘Prince’s Trust’.

We are now entering the fifth year at Vanha Talo Suomi. We couldn’t be more proud and delighted at how well our garden has performed. Furthermore, we are very grateful for the enthusiasm our garden has received from visitors near and far, and we look forward to the next time we can open the garden to the public for Open Garden Day (Avoimet Puutarha in Finnish).

For more of the Schneiders’ garden, check out their website.


Have a garden you’d like to share?

Have photos to share? We’d love to see your garden, a particular collection of plants you love, or a wonderful garden you had the chance to visit!

To submit, send 5-10 photos to [email protected] along with some information about the plants in the pictures and where you took the photos. We’d love to hear where you are located, how long you’ve been gardening, successes you are proud of, failures you learned from, hopes for the future, favorite plants, or funny stories from your garden.

If you want to send photos in separate emails to the GPOD email box that is just fine.

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View Comments


  1. User avater
    treasuresmom 02/12/2021

    Love to see all seasons & beginning to present. Thank you for sharing all that. BTW, those lilies are gorgeous.

    1. User avater
      vanhatalosuomi 02/12/2021

      Thank you for the kind words!
      I, too, enjoy seeing a garden from various aspects, including before & after. There's a lot of enjoyment & satisfaction when we look through our photo library. :)
      Thank you again.

  2. wittyone 02/12/2021

    Oh, I remember your first post here! I thought to myself that they had a long slog ahead of them and hoped that they wouldn't run out of steam at some point. From this post it certainly looks as though you have stayed the course with a great result. I can see how much time, work and effort must have gone into this and congratulate you on the completion of this garden. Oh, wait, gardens are never completed so I wish you much enjoyment with the continuation of this ever expanding beauty.

  3. User avater
    vanhatalosuomi 02/12/2021

    Hello again!
    Thanks for being an avid GPOD reader!
    Your comments back then, and from those all the other nice folks who commented last time really made our day :)
    We never seem to run out of ideas, and luckily the space was big enough to accommodate nearly everything. Still a little room left! :)
    Thanks again!

  4. User avater
    cynthia2020 02/12/2021

    Hi, Kate. It's so interesting to see your garden areas when you started vs recent photos. The photo of the lilies was so warm to look at... I am envious of the neat grass paths between all the beds... and I like the forms in the photo of snow cover and trellis. Thank you for the personal tour! I also went to your blog and watched the June 27th, 2020 video of the bees on a beautiful pink poppy (for another glimpse of summer).

  5. User avater
    vanhatalosuomi 02/13/2021

    Hi Cynthia!
    Thank you for viewing today's post and for your comments. It's so lovely to hear from other gardeners about what we've done with our garden spaces. There are numerous garden insects & pollinators visiting the garden through the Finnish summertime. It's a treat to see the butterflies & bees in the garden - from the poppies to echinacea/coneflower - those two flowers are by far the favorites of pollinators here. The attraction is amazing!
    Thank you again for your kind words!

  6. User avater
    simplesue 02/13/2021

    Just looked at your post from 2017 and now- such an amazing amount of progress, and in only 3 years!
    Over the years I've come to believe 3 years in a garden is the magic number of years to show growth & progress and after that it all really fills in and matures!
    I love those winding grass paths you've made, so you can walk through the garden and around each turn is a point of interest!
    Really a pretty garden and photos!

  7. User avater
    vanhatalosuomi 02/14/2021

    Hello Sue!
    Thank you for taking the time to look over our photos and for commenting.
    We've been surprised by a number of plants & trees in how quickly they adapted and grew. Our walnut tree for instance has just astounded us with how big it's gotten (height & width) in such a short time.
    The winding paths travel around each bed. You're right, the views change all the time as you walk along. We've reduced the entire property to grassed paths about 1.5meters wide. I bought a gas-powered edger which whips around those brick-lined beds in no time. Crisp edges!
    Believe it or not, a mix of 20 shrub and climbing roses are on their way here from Germany in April. I will propagate a few more hydrangea to the last of the new beds we have planned & add a few more perennials. We have a color scheme of blues, burgundy, white and pink. Do you use a color scheme in your garden?
    Thank you again for your kind words.

    1. User avater
      simplesue 02/15/2021

      Hi VanhaTaloSuomi yes my color scheme is lavenders, blues, purples and for my rose I love the color of the deep crimson David Austin Rose "Munstead Wood", that has a strange hint of violet in it.
      Looking forward to seeing another post by you that includes the 20 new shrubs and roses from Germany in April!
      If you are on Pinterest or twitter please add me so I can follow your garden posts...I am at and
      I was surprised how many gardeners all over the world gather on Twitter, and share their gardens and are so friendly, you may enjoy it too!

      1. User avater
        simplesue 02/15/2021

        Oh I just found your Twitter and added you!!!! And didn't realize I was already following your Pinterest which is very nice!

  8. User avater
    vanhatalosuomi 02/16/2021

    Sue, great minds think alike!
    I have loved Munstead Wood rose from David Austin from the first moment I saw it. We have two of them here, & they are a great addition.
    Thanks for finding us on Twitter. I agree there are so many gardeners there. When I have something to post, I participate in #sixonsaturday, sponsored by a UK gardener. You might enjoy participating too! :)
    So glad to meet you Sue!

  9. carolineyoungwilliams 02/22/2021

    Kate and Pekka, Thank you for sharing your lovely garden. I especially enjoyed your finished looks including the Peony, Hydrangea and Lilies.

  10. User avater
    vanhatalosuomi 02/23/2021

    Hello Caroline!
    Thank you for your visit to our garden. :)
    We're getting excited about getting out there again soon...or whenever all this snow melts!
    Happy Gardening!

    1. User avater
      eviekwhit 03/03/2021

      Lovely to see the progression of your large home garden with trees, shrubs, roses and perennials with the backdrop of a beautiful view. Thanks for showing us your work in tandem with nature.
      Evie in Ingersoll

  11. User avater
    vanhatalosuomi 03/10/2021

    Thank you Evie!
    Definitely still a work in progress :) I'm looking forward to getting out there soon...when all the snow finally melts!
    Thanks again for your kind words.

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