Sunday, July 5, 2015

Lovely Lavender

"There’s flowers for you;
Hot lavender, mints, savory, marjoram;
The marigold, that goes to bed wi’ the sun,
And with him rises weeping;
these are flowers
Of middle summer, and I think they are given
To men of middle age."
William Shakespeare The Winter’s Tale

Saturday, July 4, 2015

Thursday, July 2, 2015

Prickly Pear Cactus

Opuntia is a cold-tolerant cactus native to the Americas. It has a variety of names including pricky pear cactus or the pads are sometimes referred to as Nopales, the fruit is sometimes called Tuna. Used often in Mexican cooking (huevos con nopales), the fruit is also used to make a delicious jelly, candy or in drinks.

Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Summer Edible Flowers

The garden is bursting with summertime edible flowers right now. Petunias work well as little bowls to hold butter balls, or simply stuffed with pate. In the tea room, we like to pipe a little French Style Cheese Spread into the center of the petunia and place each one on an individual wheat cracker. This is such a pretty and unique presentation for cheese and crackers. This French Style Cheese Spread is one of our best sellers. It's a quick and easy way to make your own 'Boursin' cheese.
Roses are a classic edible flower. One that we have used to make rose petal sandwiches with for 5 decades. We use a cream cheese softened with just a wee bit of rose water and spread on the bread. Place the clean rose petals atop the spread for a charming and delicious rose petal sandwich. Rose petal sandwiches can be considered the first tea sandwiches that Nancy ever made! She would help her mother prepare for garden parties at The Rosemary House by making these sandwiches. In the early years, mom, Bertha Reppert, would host garden tours and tea parties at no charge to introduce the world of herbs to the community. Rose petal sandwiches were offered along with strawberries dipped in vanilla flavored confectioner's sugar. Sweet brown sugar sesame seed crackers rounded out the offering along with fresh mint tea.
Dianthus flowers are so fun because they come in such a large variety of colors. Pinks, whites, reds, stripes, purples and even some blues. You can find the perfect color to compliment every dish. Toss these into a salad for a quick pick-me-up and beautiful contrast to salad greens.
All marigold flowers are edible but remember they taste like they smell!  Bold! This little marigold is called Tangerine Gem and it is probably our favorite. It tastes great and is a nice small size to float in a water glass or to decorate a lemon tartlet. There is also a Lemon Gem marigold that is very similar. Edible flowers add the element of surprise to your presentation and can really make a simple dish very elegant.

Day lilies are a wonderful edible flower but they only last one day so you must pick the one that opened just that morning.

Of course, in order to be an edible flower, they must not be sprayed with any pesticides and grown in organic conditions. Always make certain you know which flowers are edible before using them!

Monday, June 29, 2015

Wreath Workshop - Repurpose, Recycle, Reuse!

Earlier this year, we welcomed a class full of talented ladies who all made a garden wreath using repurposed up-cycled old hoses, worn out garden gloves and garden tools that would be able to handle the weather.
This was old hose from a washing machine. Once we formed the wreath shape with spent hose, we used wire, pipe cleaners or zip ties to hold the shape. 

And then a variety of garden tools, flower pots, gardening gloves were attached. Ribbons and silk flowers added a splash of color to the wreath. 
 I love how different they all look!  Each one is unique and beautiful!

Sunday, June 28, 2015

A little garden...

“A little garden in which to walk, and immensity in which to dream.
At one's feet that which can be cultivated and plucked;
over head that which one can study and meditate upon:
some flowers on earth and all the stars in the sky.”     Victor Hugo

Saturday, June 27, 2015


Lungwort, also know as Pulmonaria officinalis, is a lovely perennial that will grow in semi-shade.  This plant is part of the "doctrine of signatures". This was an era of medicine developed during the European Renaissance (1550ish) where the medicinal uses of the plants were determined by the shape of the leaf (like violet leaves as hearts ease). Religious leaders taught that God provided visual cues to the uses of the plants. This plant had the shape of a lung and the spots indicated pulmonary issues, hence the name lungwort for this herb. There are many others - such as Bloodroot, which drips a red substance in the root or Eyebright whose flower resembles an eye and eyelash.

Friday, June 26, 2015

National Cream Tea Day

Two British companies, Rodda vendors of Cornish clotted cream and Tiptree fruit growers and preservers have teamed together to proclaim June 26th as National Cream Tea Day in England. Let's not limit this to a national event, but consider making this celebration international. Pour yourself a cup of tea and enjoy some scones slathered with cream first and then jelly or embellished with jelly first and then cream.  Either way, be certain to enjoy a scone today! A Cream Tea is less fuss than a full Afternoon Tea but certainly not any less enjoyable. With a friend or solo, enjoy this truly British experience of taking tea and savoring a scone laden with cream and jelly. If you want to read about the proper way to enjoy a cream tea, follow this link.

Thursday, June 25, 2015

Old Fashioned Rosa Rugosa - In the Garden

This old fashioned Rosa Rugosa is so delicious smelling. It will perfume the entire back yard when in bloom. It is a shrub rose and is quite thorny and really it doesn't bloom for very long in the spring but still I wouldn't be without it in the garden.
We use this fragrant rose to make rose petal vinegar which is so flavorful on salads or it can be used as a fragrant hair rinse. The flowers can also be dried and blended with sugar for a gentle rose flavored sugar to use to sweeten tea. We do not dead head this rose so that we will get a generous harvest of very large rose hips in the fall. They make a yummy tea which is very high in Vitamin C and they can also be used to make jam. If I had to pick just one rose to have in my garden it would be this old fashioned beauty.

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

In The Garden - Angelica

Angelica Archangelica is a biennial (2 year plant) that grows between 5 to 7 feet tall. In the second year it will flower with these large seed heads and the stalks that go off to the sides with slightly smaller seed heads on them. It can easily look like a person/plant. The colonists felt that Angelica offered the protection of the Angels to their homestead and would plant this stately herb at the entrance to the garden.
Fresh Angelica is delicious crystalized and candied. It also can be made in to a wonderful syrup for ice cream. It likes cold weather and is one of the first herbs up in the spring and will start to phase out now that it is very hot out. It grows wild along the roadsides in Scandinavian countries, Iceland and even down into France and Spain. It is often used in liqueurs, absinthe and other digestives.
This Angelica was named after this herb and her middle name is Bertha to honor both her maternal and paternal grandmothers! This Angelica loves ice cream and has grown quite tall and strong.

Monday, June 22, 2015

Inspiring Seashells

These inspirational quotes were hanging on a fence in one of our favorite beach towns, Cape May, NJ, offering everyone some inspiration as they walked by. Perhaps you might find some inspiration as summer begins!

The trouble with trouble is
 it always starts out as fun.
"Username or Password Incorrect" 
Seriously, you can't tell me which one?
Courage doesn't always roar. Sometimes it's the quiet voice at the end of the day that says: "I'll try again tomorrow."
When something goes wrong in your life yell "Plot Twist" and move on.
           If you are always trying to be normal you will never know how amazing you can be.

Sunday, June 21, 2015

Happy Father's Day!

Remembering all the Father's celebrating today and sending Love!