Monday, May 21, 2018


In another few weeks, the Elder (Sambucus Canadensis) in our garden will soon be in full bloom as in the picture. 'Tis said the Faerie Queen lives under the elder bush and one should ask permission and give warning before pruning, harvesting or otherwise trampling in the area so that the queen has time to get her subjects to a safe place. Each of these flowers will later yield quite a few elder berries which we will use in pies, jellies and wine  and also to make Elder Berry Syrup. 
Elder Flowers are delicious frittered. If you want a recipe for frittered elder flowers you can find it in the classic Joy of Cooking cookbook. They are also excellent in facial or skin care products. It has some anti-viral properties making it a good herb for mouth washes and gargles as well. Some say it helps support their immune system alleviating some allergies.

Elder flower liqueur, St. Germain or St. Elder, was one of the ingredients in the Royal Wedding Cake. Elder flower cordial was also used in the recipe, brushed on the cooled cake so it could soak into the cake before frosting.

Another liqueur, Sambuca. is an anise flavored liqueur that often contains elderflower also.

Sunday, May 20, 2018

A Royal Wedding Celebration

In celebration of the royal wedding of Meghan and Prince Harry that took place across the pond in Windsor, England, the scene was set with banners hanging in the tea room and the wedding cake in place. Every one was abuzz with wedding chatter, happy to have experienced this festive occasion, and ready to party wearing colorful fascinators and stylish hats. Once seated, the Markle Sparkle, served in wine flutes, a blend of Sunset Blush Wine, Cranberry Shrub and Seltzer Water was served. A sweet and delicious way to toast the wedded couple.
Once tea flavors were ordered and poured the first course was served. It featured a leafy green salad with honey balsamic vinaigrette. The salad was topped with sliced tomatoes, fresh basil, mozzarella cheese, Parmesan cheese crisps, and an edible heart wafer.

The Sandwich Course included:
  • Onion and Olive Tapenade in Petite Phyllo Cups
  • Pine nut & Pimiento Cheese on Rye Bread 
  • Sliced Pear, Blue Cheese & Walnut Sandwich
  • Mango Raisin Cashew Chicken Salad on Whole Wheat Bread 
  • English Cucumber with Lemon Pepper Aioli
  • Turkey, Asparagus & Goat Cheese on Potato Bread.
Next, we served London's Famous Claridge Hotel Cream Scone with sweet cream, jelly, and fresh fruit.

Dessert included a slender and elegant sugar cookie bride alongside her handsome prince, a chocolate dipped strawberry. The specialty cake was Lemon Elderflower Cake with fresh herbs and edible flower garnish. Their was elderflower liqueur baked in the cake and an elderflower syrup glaze brushed atop the tiers before being frosted with a creamy icing with lemon zest. A lemon curd whipped cream filling was in between the layers. The idea was to incorporate the bright flavors of spring. We made the recipe shared by the Washington Post.

Best Wishes to the Duke and Duchess of Sussex. We wish them much happiness!

Thursday, May 17, 2018

Ladies-in-Waiting Tea

In anticipation of the upcoming nuptials of Meghan and Harry, the tea room has been decorated with banners and transformed into a festive and royal destination. The first of our celebrations was a Ladies-in-Waiting tea, honoring all those that serve the royals.

Menus featured the British flag, a sweet photo of the soon-to-be newlyweds, the menu announcing what was to come, and a brief explanation of a lady-in-waiting, someone who serves as a companion and personal assistant to attend to their every need. Colorful red, white and blue floral arrangements were on each table, and the tea list for the day featured banners across the top.

Tomato Spinach Caraway Soup was the starter for the event. Topped with Parmesan cheese and fresh spring onion, it was a nice warm soup for a chilly spring afternoon.

A plate of assorted Tea Sandwiches garnished with edible wafer hearts was served next. The sandwiches included Traditional Egg Salad on Butter Bread, Pimiento Cheese on 12-Grain Bread, Cucumber Sandwich on Sourdough Bread, Herbed Party Sandwich on Honey Wheat, Almond Chicken Salad Sandwich on White, and Turkey and Basil Pignoli Cream on Tomato Basil. Many loved the ribbon-like look of the assortment of sandwiches.

The extra large scone was a Kensington Palace Scone (a traditional English cream scone) served with sweet cream and apricot honey butter alongside fresh fruit.

And dessert included a nod to the British and American union with miniature flags atop a white cake with cherry topping, a shortbread cookie in the shape of a heart, and a blushing pink cream macaron. Yumminess on a plate!

Prior to meeting the queen, the soon-to-be royal, Meghan Markle, studied proper English tea etiquette from Edmund Fry owner of the Rose Tree Cottage in Pasadena in California.

Happy to link to Bernideen's "Tea in the Garden".

Friday, May 11, 2018

A Themed Tea - Shakespeare!

During her senior year of high school, Angelica had dual enrollment in both high school and the local community college. It's a perfect way to experience college expectations, and to get a few college credits under your belt. Her first course, in the fall, was a class on Shakespeare. When we asked her if she would do a presentation in the tea room, she was quick to respond affirmatively. What fun to welcome her as a speaker!

Shakespeare frequently includes herbs and flowers in his plays, and the menu for this event was centered around that theme.
Setting the Scene
Guests were offered a cup of Shakespeare Tea, a delicious blend of fragrant herbs, full of flavor developed by Bertha Reppert. Lavender, mint, savory and marjoram combined in just the right amounts to transport you to Elizabethan times.

Act 1, Scene 1 – First Course, Soup
“The strawberry grows underneath the nettle; And wholesome berries thrive and ripen best, Neighbour'd by fruit of baser quality.” King Henry V. Act I. Scene 1.
Chilled Strawberry Soup

Act 1, Scene 2 – Second Course, Sandwiches
“There's rosemary, that's for remembrance; pray, love, remember: and there is pansies. that's for thoughts.” Hamlet (4.5.170-1)
Apple Rosemary Chicken Salad
“I think the king is but a man, as I am: the violet smells to him as it doth to me: the element shows to him as it doth to me.” Henry V (4.1.155-7)
Petite Violet Sandwich with Mascarpone Cheese and Violet Jelly
“What's in a name? that which we call a rose, By any other name would smell as sweet.”  Romeo and Juliet (2.2.45-7)
Cucumber, Radish and French Style Cheese Rose on Pumpernickel Round
“ Me thinks sometimes I have no more wit than a Christian or an ordinary man has: but I am a great eater of beef and I believe that does harm to my wit.” Henry IV, Part 1: Act 2, Scene
Roast Beef and Provolone on Puff Pastry with Pepper Mayonnaise
“I would give all my fame for a pot of ale.” As You Like It: Act 3, Scene 2
Swiss Cheese, Spring Onion and Bacon Melt atop Beer Bread
                                                                                     Act 2, Scene 1 – Third Course, Scones
“And, most dear actors, eat no onions nor garlic, For we are to utter sweet breath.” A Midsummer Night’s Dream (Act 4, Scene 2)
Sweet English Cream Scones
“He’s the colour of the nutmeg” King Henry V
Cinnamon Chip Nutmeg Scones
Act 2, Scene 2 – Fourth Course, Fruit and Toppings
“I saw good strawberries in your garden there I do beseech you send for some of them.” Richard III (Act 3, Scene 4)

Act 3, Scene 1 – Fifth Course, Dessert
“Here's flowers for you; hot lavender, mints, savory, marjoram;
The marigold that goes to bed wi' the sun, and with him rise weeping." The Winter's Tale, Act 4, Sc.4
Chocolate Mint Cake
Buttery Lavender Cookies
Edible Flowers garnish the plate

The program followed afternoon tea. Poised, and well prepared, Angelica was thrilled to share her love of the Bard. According to the speaker, the only disappointment was that the tea room menu did not include eye of newt.

Linking to, and celebrating  "Tea in the Garden" with Bernideen.

Thursday, May 10, 2018

Revamping the Pond - A Summer Project!

Every few years we give the pond a make over, and last summer was the year for just that. It was dug just a bit deeper, fresh lining was replaced, and a good cleaning was in order. The plants were divided, and a stronger new pump replaced the older one we had thus creating a new waterfall.

The fish and the plants were safely stowed in a bucket until all of the renovations were completed. Once the base rocks were in place, the waterfall flowing, and the fish situated in their revamped habitat, it was time for the fun part!

Ornamental and sentimental rocks and stones were placed around the pond. Several rocks discovered while on vacation are a quiet reminder of journeys taken over the years.
Colorful plants were tucked around the edges of the pond, and a collection of lizards and turtles were interspersed among the rocks.

There are lots of hidden treasures to be spotted while watching the fish.

Summer, 2017

Friday, May 4, 2018

Early Pond Transformation

Our pond was installed behind Sweet Remembrances Tea Room in 1990.  It was Susanna's idea, no one else was really on board with the idea for lots of reasons: the cats will eat the fish (they haven't), people will fall in (they have), it will stagnate and draw bugs (it hasn't) but never the less she persisted with a zero dollar budget and a strong back.
The limestone rocks were collected from an old farmer's field fence (with permission!) and the original pond liner was  roofing rubber traded for $20.00 worth of plants.
 A nice manageable size.  No pump. Just a simple pond with fish (12 fish for 1 dollar) to keep the bug population under control.  It turned out heart shaped by serendipity!
 Over the years the pond has undergone many transformations.  And it seems to increase its foot print with each one.  This is 2001.  A pump and small water fall was added.
Every June, Jubilee Day, a large one day street fair in Mechanicsburg takes place where kids can toss ping pong balls into a tiny fish bowl to win the tiniest fish imaginable and every year we have a mother ask if they can donate the fish they just won to our pond. They are all very happy here.

Thursday, May 3, 2018


It's official! Angelica is Penn State bound. #psu2022 #pennstateproud #moreadventures

Wednesday, May 2, 2018

May Day Basket Workshop

Last evening, May Day, was a beautiful tranquil spring night, and the setting for a special Rosemary House event with 1982 throwback pricing as part of our ongoing 50th anniversary celebration this year. With attendees gathered around various tables under the pavilion, this quick and easy May Day basket class was guided by Susanna.

Each participant received a miniature basket that was filled with a piece of pre-soaked oasis, tucked inside the cut-off bottom of a water bottle, following the recycle-reuse principle! As Susanna and Nancy offered assorted greens, fresh herb sprigs, and colorful flowers, attendees tucked the greenery into the oasis. Starting with the greens and finishing with the 'jewelry', er, flowers, a colorful fragrant May Day basket developed.

Each basket design was unique with no two alike! Such a fun, easy craft, and the perfect way to celebrate the long anticipated arrival of May.

Tuesday, May 1, 2018

Happy May Day!

The first day of May! The tradition of secretly filling a basket full of pretty little blossoms and hanging it on a doorknob to surprise and delight an unsuspecting recipient has long passed. It was a special surprise waiting to be discovered by a neighbor or friend. This pretty little fine English bone china teacup by Aynsley, with its violets and blue ribbons circling the saucer, brings that lovely tradition to mind. So, dear friends, consider this your surprise basket of posies to celebrate May Day!

Saturday, April 28, 2018

Belle of the Ball

When did this little girl grow up? How has time marched on so quickly that we find ourselves at this moment, eighteen years later? Surfing among a sea of colorful balls, Angelica has seized each day as her own. We have watched her glide through adventures with her warm heart and honest spirit. Sincere and serene, beautiful inside and out, she makes us smile.

and tonight, she dances off to the Mechanicsburg Senior High School Prom.