Day two and it's off to visit some more private gardens. The first one that my coach visited was that of Timo and Margaretha Löfgren. You know immediately that you've arrived from the clematis growing over the mailbox and on the front of the house. But it is only when you venture round the house to the back that you see the totality of what they have created.
The rear garden backs on to Finnish forest and immediately you enter you are struck by the use that Timo and Margaretha have made of natural structures to support their plants. The large veranda at the back of the house, raised above ground level, gives a fine view over the garden. But it's when you wander around that you realize just how much is cleverly hidden, enticing you further into the planting.
I have already mentioned the use of natural structures to support many of the plants, but look to your right and you'll see a living support. These stems of Physocarpus opulifolius have been bent over and twisted together to form a living trellis for clematis to climb most attractive.
Timo and Margaretha have a wide ranging collection of clematis, including large flowering, viticellas, integrifolias, atragenes and others. They also have many integrifolias and atragene seedlings, which gave some of us a few problems with identification but provides the garden with even more interest.
To your left you'll see possibly my favourite combination, and also quite an educational one. On the right there is C. × diversifolia 'Eriostemon', on the left is C. × diversifolia 'Blue Boy'. Being able to compare them like this, you can see that eriostemon is slightly shorter than Blue Boy. It also flowers about one week earlier. By the way, the clematis on the far right is C. 'Iubileinyi-70' .
But all too soon it was time to move on to our second garden of the morning, that of Marjaana and Raimo Hyvärinen. The first thing one noticed was the neat and tidy appearance of this gardenbeautifully cut lawn, well-tended flowerbeds, not a weed in sight and very spacious. Then as you walk around to the back of the house, you spot the challenge of this gardena large area of exposed bedrock. The garden has been made on top of what was bare rock, requiring many cubic metres of earth to be brought in to create its current form. Even now, much of the soil is not very deep, yet they have achieved this award winning garden.
The garden has a feeling of peace and calm, created through the careful planting by Marjaana. She has made a feature of the exposed rock, which over many years has acquired a lovely aged look. And although their interest in clematis is relatively new, she has managed to introduce them into the existing structure of the garden to compliment the planting, as you can see from this pair of clematis trained up the trunk of this fruit tree.
Lunch today was served at the cafeteria of Margareta Park, a horticultural college and permanent garden exhibition. Green industry companies provide many of the materials for the students to use in their own garden creations, which they not only build but also manage and maintain throughout their time at the college. There were many interesting ideas to be seen in the display gardens.
The afternoon gave us a small break from clematis with a visit and guided tour of Hvitträsk, a group of dwellings built in the national romantic style, also known as Arts and Crafts, by the architects Eliel Saarinen, Armas Lindgren and Herman Gesellius between 1901 and 1903. Personally I found both the exterior and interior absolutely fascinating. Everything was designed to match, down to door hinges and handles. The furniture has a simplicity of style, yet is stylish. There was a practicality of the design, yet it could be decorative.
Our final visit of the day was to the private orthodox monastery and garden founded by Mr Tuukkanen. We were given a talk about the origins of the monastery and how it is now run, followed by tea and a delicious cake.
Please follow these links to go forward to Day Three or back to Day One, or go to Part 2 - Estonia, Day One, Day Two or Day Three
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