Wednesday, October 26, 2016

Southern Exposure Pail of Plenty

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!


  1. Dearest Jeanie,
    I'm so amazed at this so wonderful place, oh, how I'd had loved to be there with you sweet friend !

    Hope you're having a lovely day, today,
    I'm sending blessings of joy on your days to come


  2. I would be in multi-sensory heaven in this place. The photos are such a delight that I can only imagine what it would be like to actually explore and discover such fun displays. I wonder, do the vignettes change every year? I love the arrangement. This will be such a great addition to your fall decorations. I'm thinking of trying something like this for a window area in my house.

    Those spiked like plants look a bit like kale when I look at the leaves. I'll look online to see what they are.

  3. I really like that garden. Your photos have inspired me to redesign my own back yard.

  4. Your quoted description of Tinkerbell is really amusing. But I'm not sure I like the look on the faces of those chickens! It must have been a wonderful day.

    best... mae at

  5. Dear Jeanie.... thank you for all that gorgeous Fall eye candy!! The pictures were so pretty, I scrolled through them twice!! Have a wonderful week!

  6. What a beautiful place. It sounds like wonderful fun.

  7. Another fun time! Thanks for sharing.

  8. What a sensual overload! Fabulous sights and colors! I do remember your previous posts about this special place, what fun you have there!

  9. Hi Jeanie..
    well I would love that place..anywhere ..that I feel nature is so great..and that my camera pretty much perfect for me..except for babies.
    Thank you for taking has chilled up here..quite a bit..

  10. I absolutely love this project. How beautiful! And also so special just to walk in those gardens and share a special meal with a friend. Loved the Tinkerbell quote too.

  11. What an amazing place! I would love to wander around there. It's gorgeous with so many neat little spots to discover. I love the end results. -Jenn

  12. This place is such a treasure! What a great place to get away from the day. The grounds are so gorgeous. I don't think I've ever seen a skeleton leaf - I can see why it inspired the costume for Tinkerbell!

    Your project is beautiful! I've eaten lots of curry but have never seen the plant. It's vibrant color is gorgeous!! I love how your pail turned out!

    Can't wait to see your berry wreath - that sounds beautiful! I need to get a holiday wreath for our door this year. I painted it a brick red this past weekend (will share pics on the blog next week) so a wreath with berries would look especially good!

  13. A feast of color!! Isn't autumn wonderful?

  14. What a gorgeous place! I grew up near Battle Creek, in COldwater, and never knew this existed...well it probably didn't when I was growing up! Thank you for sharing this. I would love to go next time I'm on that side of the state.

  15. I continue to be in complete and total jealousy that you have such a wonderful place to hang out!! I love the Tinkerbell quote you shared along with oak leaf hydrangea leaves. Can't see very well but I think those red plants are celosia.

  16. Jeanie, I am wowed! I would love to visit that place, though your fabulous post does make me feel as if I just did! I'll be revisiting this one from time to time ... sigh.

  17. What a wonderful place! No wonder you like to go there, and I can understand that you arrive early to take in all this yummyness. It is incredibly beautiful! The first pumpkin photo is super awesome!

  18. Oh Southern Exposure, even though I will never visit you, you are one of the most magical places on this planet. Beautiful and inspiring in all of the seasons and of course Fall adorns you with it's vibrant beauty!

  19. I adore this place and love "our" visits:)
    It kindles old dreams in me. Thanks for the sweet inspire.

  20. I think you've really convinced me . . .
    I need to sign up!
    Love your "Fall Piece". . .

  21. It is always a treat for the eyes when you share your visits to Southern Exposure. Glad you arrive early enough to snap some photos.
    That huge stack of pumpkins is brilliant as are all of the precious touches. It is definitely run by people with passion and that's what it's all about isn't.
    Such a charming Tinker Bell quote to go along with those amazing skeletonized blooms.
    I really Love the pumpkin stuck on the metal fence spike!
    And what you created is really lovely too.
    What a beautiful decoration.

  22. This looks like a truly magical place to visit. Your photos are gorgeous and show the beauty of the plants and little vignettes. I love the gazebo with the chandelier, and those fluffy plants on the spiky stems.

  23. I love this type of garden. Where it looks a bit wild and haphazard but it is actually all well crafted


  24. This place is lovely. I like all the hydrangeas. They are one of my favourite flowers.

  25. Wow! How fun!! I would love going to a place like this. The gardens really are breathtaking! Thanks for sharing with SYC.

  26. so much beauty
    the skeleton leaves
    and the tinkerbell quote are wonderful!
    sounds like you had a lovely time
    really wonderful!


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