An informative sampling focused on herbs and tea with an occasional sprinkling of fairy dust and a glimpse into family activities too. The contributions to this blog is the combined effort created by the sisters of The Rosemary House and Sweet Remembrances.
While the Morris Arboretum of the University of Pennsylvania, located in Philadelphia, originally began as a tree collection in the early 1900's it has expanded its collections to include ferns, herbs, rock garden plants, roses and more. Known as the Official Arboretum of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, it is a destination for horticultural display, educational resources, conservation, and research.
And, if you walk the grounds, you'll discover fun surprises such as a human size birds nest or a garden railroad.
During our recent Traveling Herb Seminar to the Morris Arboretum, one of the featured exhibits was of the favorite summertime Adirondack chair. Thirty different artists were asked to re-interpret the classic chairs. This link will provide additional information about this fun garden art: Take a Seat! Adirondack Chairs reinterpreted
All styles, shapes and colors were represented, including the Mosaics below.
The landscape scene on the chairs to the right reminds me of the old French Masters. And below, the towels, blankets and parasol are made from recycled garbage bags.
It was such fun to stumble upon a new set of chairs as we wandered through the large arboretum. Nice to have a place to sit for a moment too!
While on a Rosemary House traveling herb seminar, our group recently enjoyed an evening tea at the Simpson House Tea Room in Chester Springs, PA.
This pretty tea room is located in an 1890's Victorian farm house, complete with resident ghost. Our herb and tea enthusiasts appreciated the welcoming hospitality of the owner, her mother, and staff, as we sat down to enjoy a delicious evening meal.
A selection of hot teas, or iced tea (sweetened or not) was offered to each guest. The hot tea, still steeping, was brought to the table with a timer and small plate to decant your tea when the time was up. The first course featured a choice of two soups, either broccoli and cheddar or creamy potato soup accompanied with crackers.The entree was a crustless Scottish quiche, fresh mixed greens with a raspberry dressing, and two slices of a sweet nut bread.
Following our meal, there was an opportunity to procure treasures in the gift shop. Tea cups, tea pots, loose leaf tea, and assorted pretties were purchased by the shoppers in our group.
We live in town and one of our next door neighbors is a rental house with very little grounds to maintain, or not. Allowed to grow at whim, this is what it looks like. Please understand, that I am not complaining, in fact I am THRILLED to be able to gather so many wonderful weeds just outside my gate. Here you'll find plantain, daisy fleabane, dandelion, celandine, wood violet, and recently stinging Nettles appeared. It's all organic, no doggies find this little patch, so these weeds are quite healthy and so convenient for us to gather.
Adding to the sweet smells in the herb garden are these flowers. A native American plant it has been on the property since our parents purchased it in 1968. I suspect this shrub is 75 years old or more! When I was growing up this was such a common bush that everyone just called it "Shrub". As more and more gardeners are consciously planting Native plants - this sweet shrub is growing in popularity and I notice it is now being referred to more by its Latin name -Calycanthus. It reminds me of the child that goes by Susie for 40 years and grows up into using her full name as an adult! My mother always told me that as a school girl she would take one of these sweet flowers and tie it into the corner of her hankie on the walk to school so she had a fragrant pocket sachet for the day. I find the fragrance of the flowers only really lasts for the first day or so that they are open but fortunately, in the spring when it is blooming there are many flowers! Calycanthus floridus drops all its leaves in the winter time, is extremely easy to take care of and will live a long time. It is not a showy shrub but when it does bloom it is fragrant.
This old fashioned bush is always a show stopper when it is in bloom. Not many plants produce this many flowers or flowers this large! They really do look like snow balls and let me tell you they throw like snow balls too! Fortunately they aren't as cold as snow balls nor do they hurt!
As the flowers drop it even looks like we have some snow on the ground. It looks like a messy bush but really it isn't. These white flowers dry out and turn to compost quickly when it is done blooming.
When it is in bloom almost everyone who visits the garden asks about it. This is another one of our shrubs that came with the original property plantings. My guess would be this bush is 70 or more years old! We cut it fairly hard when it is done blooming and yet it easily grows to 10 feet in height. There are many varieties of Viburnums but I love this one and it is the perfect backdrop in the far corner of the garden. Nestled underneath this shrub, amongst the ferns is a fairy house designed and crafted by artist sister Marj.
The textile garden features a variety of plants used in textiles. Flax is spun into fiber, teasel is used to tease the wool. Many of the plants are used to achieve color by dying the wool. Below is Broom, which yields a beautiful green color.
Hostas, Iris, Celandine, Lungwort and others were used as "dye plants" to bring color to cloth.
Landis Valley Museum is a museum that honors farm and village life of our Pa German Heritage. This living history museum features a village, general store, hotel, leather work, school, blacksmith, and a variety of styles of homes and barns from the 1700's through the 1800's. It is part of our Pennsylvania Historical Commission.
Every year on the Friday and Saturday before Mother's Day, Landis Valley hosts a Herb and Garden Faire with a huge variety of plants and herbal products. In addition to vending at the faire, I always enjoy the opportunity to walk around the museum and explore a different section. This year Angelica, my horse girl, came along so we spent our time not in the village but out on the farm with the horses.
Above is the larger vegetable gardens from the mid-18th Century.
Below is the smaller typical German Four square garden where four large beds were created to grow herbs, medicinals, and vegetables, flowers and berries. The four paths went around the raised beds and the idea is that you can reach into the garden from all directions without having to walk on your beds and then compact the soil.
One of our favorite events to participate in is the annual fairy festival at Spoutwood Farm. Owner Rob Wood is greeting the people, spirits, faeries and other folk with the festival greeting of "Kubiando".
We only bring herb plants to this three day event and have so much fun with the kindred spirits who walk through our booth.
Everyone gets into the spirit of the event.
The creativity of the costumes is so much fun.
Need herb plants for the spring and summer? We have the usual and the unusual, not only at the Fairie Festival, but at The Rosemary House, too!
This sweet little Tussie Mussie holder is a reproduction of the antique styles we have shared this past week. Artistic sister Marj along with our very talented mother, arranged the symbolic herbal wedding flowers that were carried in Susanna's wedding in July, 1998. The bridesmaid and Susanna's sisters were able to keep the nosegay holder as a remembrance of the wedding. Susanna and David's wedding service was performed at the stately and historic Peace Church. The family photo shown here was taken in the backyard gardens of The Rosemary House and Sweet Remembrances where the reception was held.
Today, May 19th, marks our parents wedding anniversary. They were blessed with 54 years together before mom passed away. Dad counted an additional 12 years as a widower. Although he found joy with his grandchildren, greatgrands, and loving daughters, there was a broken heart that would not heal. This precious little wedding booklet, Wedding Flowers from God's Garden used on the day they were married, encompasses their love. It includes the Order of Marriage, a spot to record the nuptials,
a section for the guests to sign, and several pages to record the wedding gifts which included simple gifts such as brass candlesticks from her sister, $3.00 from her brother, pillow cases from a sister-in-law, 8 glasses and carrier plus $10.00 from an aunt, a candlewick bowl from a friend, and a 12 setting dinnerware from her father. With a check mark beside each person's name, I can only assume it means that a thank you note was sent. Simple gifts. A simple wedding. Although the war had ended, my father's four brothers were not in attendance, still fulfilling their military commitments at the time.
The last section of this booklet features the Wedding Flowers from God's Garden by Rev. H.E.Studier. Symbolism of the flowers are attributed to the aspects of marriage. The Rose, symbolizes the word 'kindness'. Its bright colors and delicate fragrance may well symbolize the virtues of kindness and friendliness. May these graces adorn your conduct toward each other as well as toward your kindred and friends, and toward all men.
Another flower, quite different from the rose, is the Violet. It is modest and inconspicuous. May it be to you a symbol of humility as you start out in life together. Cultivate this virtue.
The Lily-of-the-Valley, symbolizes gentleness and meekness in the Christian life. The Carnation is especially suited to adorn the groom. 'Long-suffering" is the word which we would symbolize with the carnation. The Passion Flower and the Forget-me-not are also included in God's Garden. And now that we have gathered these flowers from God's Garden, let us tie them together with a bright red ribbon, that they many not become scattered but may be kept together. Take these flowers that we have gathered from God's garden; let them adorn your matrimonial pathway. Happy to have this little remembrance of their wedding day, reading the symbolism of the flowers and knowing my mother's love of flowers, it simply ties it all together. The pretty glass tussie mussie holders pictured above are part of my mother's collection. She loved to share the flowers from God's Garden.
Happy Anniversary Mom and Dad! Love, Love, Love, Love.
This is one of my favorite vintage nosegay holders. It features an intricate Ivory handle and a small mirror. I love the thought of checking your rouge in the mirror or perhaps holding it up to secretly keep an eye on your beau at the ball.
This unique filigree posie holder is Susanna's inheritance from our mother's collection. What I love about it is that it has three little feet at the bottom and makes a perfect centerpiece at the table.