Those of you who have followed Marmelade Gypsy for a long time know that my favorite place in the world (well, at least the U.S.!) is Southern Exposure Herb Farm, a series of restored farm buildings and gardens where each spring and fall workshops, preceded by a dinner or lunch, are offered.
My first visit was last week and the project was "Pail of Plenty," a metal container filled with fresh herbs and plants.
My friend Jan and I always arrive early to walk through the gardens -- especially during the fall workshops when it is dark by the time we leave. This week was no exception.
Going to Southern Exposure is a multi-sensory experience. The gardens are impeccably maintained and all the little touches, like flowers in the bird baths, make it extra pretty and special.
One of my favorite areas is the greenhouse. The light in this very small, enclosed space is perfect for photographs.
It's a mix of "things on the table" and carefully staged vignettes that look like they just "happened."
They hydrangeas are, of course, fading, but they were still sharing their colors with us.
The dessicated skeleton leaves were exquisite.
They reminded me of a quote about Tinkerbell: "“There was another light in the room now, a thousand times brighter than the night lights…but when it came to rest for a second you saw it was a fairy, no longer than your hand, but still growing. It was a girl called Tinker Bell exquisitely gowned in a skeleton leaf, cut low and square, through which her figure could be seen to the best advantage." (J.M. Barrie, Peter Pan)
The kitchen garden had loads of flowering kale and was nestled in a bed of nasturtiums that took my breath away.
(If anyone knows what those tall, spiny plants are behind the kale, let me know. Chard? Some kind of collard greens? It's clear I don't know my greens all that well! But I do know flowering kale!)
The chickens were waiting for us -- but alas, we had nothing to feed them!
A picket fence surrounded by holly, reminding us that winter isn't all that far away...
...a clever posting of gourds on the peaks of an iron fence...
...a small, plant covered gazebo...
...a folly with chairs to rest in,,,
...a pear tree (hold the partridge!)...
...handsome pumpkins. All combining for a beautiful experience!
Wee cement sculptures,nestled in hostas and almost hidden under a path of pine.
We finally heard the dinner bell and went inside where we enjoyed a beef stew served in an acorn squash bowl, a salad with end of season berries, colorful carrots and parsnips, bread and wine, with pumpkin roll for dessert. Then it was on to the craft tent for our project.
The beauty of a project at Southern Exposure is that truly, anyone can do it -- and fairly quickly. They do much of the advance prep and have the supplies divided so we simply have to sit down and create!
In this case, we received a beautiful metal pail already filled with dirt. Our guide, Micah, shared with us details on prepping soil with mulch and straw for better insulation and highlighted the plants in our project -- rosemary, curry (yes, that rosemary-looking plant that is a bit lighter is curry!), kale and an edible viola. There was also broom corn for visual interest and faux autumn leaves were available as well.
Then it was just a matter of putting them in the pot in a way we liked and "garnishing" with the leaves.
We also received a pumpkin of our choice to take home.
It's one of the prettiest and easiest of projects we have completed (if you search Southern Exposure on the right rail above, you can see posts from other workshops). I still keep playing with my faux leaves. I suspect I will take out even more of them in a day or two! Can't stop fiddling!
Our next workshop is in November -- Ice Berry Wreath. I can't wait!
This post is joining in on several blog parties this week. I hope you will visit Share Your Cup and Thoughts of Home on Thursday to check out the other beautiful links!
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