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2012 A Year of Flowers & Gardens: Part One



After editing lots of photographs and cleaning out my computer files I realized how many photos we’ve taken this year. As the year 2012 draws to a close, I thought we’d take a stroll down memory lane and show the highlights of the year. From one of my favorite flowering shrubs the hydrangea to the wonderful “Fairy Garden” we made last spring and the countless others, sit back and enjoy this visual recap of the gardens we created in 2012 at The Antique Garden.

Hydrangea Madness in March!

Sedum wall hanging and new water feature

Bogart’s Container Garden

Arts in Bloom, Hagerstown Garden Club members Betsy Hardinge, Margaret Waltersdorf and I created a floral replica of this piece of Murano Art Glass in the Washington County Museum of Fine Arts in March. 

Formal Urn Arrangement for Prep School Alumni Week-end

Whimsical Fairy Garden

Blooming Garlic is a beautiful sight in the garden!

Daylilies and lots of them in the garden border~~~

Pond Frog!

Wild Flower Queen’s Anne Lace looking elegant in the alley behind the store!  Mother Nature is awesome.

 The incredible Moon Flower, a night-blooming plant,  is closing up for the day.

We said good-bye to dozens of our fish in 2012,  as a wicked Blue Heron ate most of them.  I know they aren’t flowers, but I’m still venting….ah Mother Nature….

 Small Container Water Garden

Our front porch planter box is filled with Black Eyed Susan’s, the Maryland State flower.

Part 2 to be continued tomorrow,  as we wrap up the year with holiday flowering arrangements.   Happy Gardens Everyone and may 2013 be blooming!

Jenn at The Antique Garden

21501 Leitersburg-Smithsburg Rd

Hagerstown, Maryland

Email:  we would love to hear from you!

The Best of Summer


Here is my recap or gratitude list, of what’s been going on this summer. Although some may complain about the dog-days of summer, and it has been awfully hot, I’m trying to enjoy each and every moment of this season as it seems to fly by every year. Summer doldrums be gone!

Here is my list of what we’ve accomplished from the end of May through July and some events to look forward to next month including the onslaught of the zucchini! Think positive my friends….

1. Enjoying the beauty of our pond (with Dixie).

2. We gardened with lots of sedums this summer, a smart choice for the heat.

3. My canning fest has started and I’ve made raspberry jam, canned peppers, and made relishes. When the tomatoes are ripe you won’t even see me for a few weeks. Very satisfying indeed!

4. The bounty of our organic pesticide free garden is amazing. On a small plot we have more veggies than we can possibly consume, ergo the canning…

5. Zucchini bread to be made when the zucchini plants explode with supernatural abundance.

6. My fairy garden was so fun to make.

7. We are looking forward to the Leitersburg Peach Festival August 11th & 12th. This is what our store looked like last year.

8. Flowers

9. New water-feature

10. Vegetable Garden and new hen house-soon to be completed….

11. Strolling on the boardwalk in Rehoboth Beach Delaware

12. Golf

13. Boating with friends on the Chesapeake Bay.

14. Spending time with family

15. Sand in my toes and sunburned feet.

Quit yer complaining and make a gratitude list, it truly is the simple things that make one happy, don’t you think?

PS I made an incredible cold soup yesterday featuring beets, that I want to share. It was a Julia recipe so how could that be bad? Julia knew how to cook for sure!

Happy Gardens, Jenn from The Antique Garden

Name That Plant?


Can you identify this strange-looking plant? No it’s not a strange mutation or genetically engineered vegetable. To give you a hint, yes it is in the onion family. Did you guess? According to it is called a Multiplier Onion. Friend, artist and fellow gardener Harold Shapiro gave me a few plants several years ago. The Multiplier Onion is a top setting onion that is a perennial heirloom variety. Also called ‘tree onions or ‘walking onions’, they form clusters of small bulbs or sets on the tips of the stalk. An established plant looks like a clump of scallions. Harvest the sweet scallion part in spring and small ‘pickling onion’ tops in the summer. Remember to leave a few bulbs to reseed for a permanent onion bed. Hmmm… I’m going to have to try to pickle my onion tops, sounds like another canning project in the works. For more information on the Multiplier Onion  check out this site, which has all the details. There are so many unusual plants, I’m thinking of doing Name That Plant occasionally, what do you think???

Happy Gardening!


Jenn at The Antique Garden


Hens & Chicks Planter Revisited

Vera Bradley Designs, Inc.
There are so many great sedum plants, its hard to choose. They range in price from $2.00 and up depending on size, multiply and grow year by year.


I had picked up a vintage galvanized chicken feeder a while ago at a garage sale and was saving it for a project. Being a chicken feeder, I thought what better upcycling project than adding Hens and Chicks, the plant. I think it came out pretty well.

First, I lighten the container up by adding Styrofoam peanuts to about 2/3 of the way up. I always save those peanuts for heavy pots and urns.   Then I inserted a plastic liner and filled it with a good mix of soil, perlite and sand. Sedums prefer a sandy soil and can tolerate dry conditions. The sedums I choose are also perennials in the mid-Atlantic states so they can winter over in our region. Choose sedums that are native to your area or bring inside during the cold weather for more tropical succulent plants.Then I filled up the top with my favorite Hens & Chicks, Commander Hay, plus this nest of ceramic hens, that a friend gave me from this store.

I also filled the bottom feeder section with sedums that I had growing around our pond.

All in all I think it turned out well. What do you think? Drop me a line and let me know!

My Top 10 Favorite Things in the Garden

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A visual graditute stroll through my backyard garden.  I decided to count my many blessings yesterday and nothing makes me feel better than a stroll through the garden.  Lets see…here is a list I created of my top 10 favorite things right now in the garden.

 #1 My pepper plants are growing like mad and it won’t be long until I start my canning fest. (click on link for recipes).peppers 007



#2 Iceberg, romaine and leaf lettuce is exploding in the garden. Time to make spectacular salads like Martha Stewart’s Main Course Cobb-yummy! The perennial boarders are showing some color. 







#3 and #4   I adore day lilies and my favorite flower the hydrangea in pure white. 

 #5 The potatoes are nearly ready, can there be anything better than freshly dug Yukon golds and Red Bliss potatoes?

#6 Beets yup we have a whole bed of beets, both Detroit Reds and Italian Candy stripe. Not quite ready yet, these will be perfect for steaming, making relish, and pickling, not to mention pickled beets and eggs.

 vegetable garden julia child book 008






005#7  The Raspberries are showing a bit of color and will make the most delightful daiquiri, sorbet and jam.  They are like sunshine in a berry.



#8 Tomatoes. We got a late start planting the tomatoes but they are looking happy in their new home.  This variety is called “Mortgage Lifter”!

Can everyone say Salsa???

Can everyone say Salsa???





#9 & 10 The best part, come with me as I show you our almost finished Hen House……

We have the feeder and water bucket, the sign and now we just need the little peeps!

Pinned Image     So let me recap my top 10 garden favorites…1.peppers, 2. lettuce, 3. Day lilies, 4. hydrangeas, 5. potatoes, 6. beets, 7. raspberries, 8. tomatoes, 9. new hen house, 10. feeders and sign….UPDATE*****I have my new family flock of hens, take a look003

This top 10 list isn’t unique but an inspiration I got from reading a great blog this week-check it out if you like.  I’ll keep you informed of the garden’s progress and let you know when our chicks arrive this summer.  I can hardly wait!

Spring Vegetable Garden


What can be better than the Spring vegetable garden?  After waiting out the long, dark, days of winter, even though ours was unseasonably mild this year, it is time to get outside and dig in the dirt.  Not actually dirt, but carefully amended soil.  We purchased rich compost from our local dump and tilled the soil until it was weed free and newly enriched.  The fun part is selecting the seeds and young plants.  We actually got  a jump-start this year as March was record-breaking warm all across the U.S.  and gave us the incentive to start our vegetable garden and  new chicken coop project. Plus the  flowering trees started budding out early as did the tulips, daffodils and forsythia a true sign that Spring had arrived in the Mid-Atlantic states.  Selections for our pesticide free early vegetable garden include potatoes, onions, beets, Swiss chard, collard greens, lettuce, herbs and peppers.  Tomatoes will be planted later when temperatures warm as will sweet potatoes, zucchini squash and beans. Our established perennial herb border is flourishing with oregano, comphrey, horseradish, garlic and onions.



Closer to the house is our grape arbor that has lots of green leaves just bursting to grow.  The three year old vines sprall and shade our dog run in the summer while providing delicious grapes that the birds feast on! Hard to believe that this garden use to be just a lawn and we had never grown vegetables before.  After three years we feel like seasoned farmers and rarely have to purchase produce in the grocery store anymore.  Amazingly enough, we never spray for bugs and, knock on wood, the deer and rabbits haven’t been a problem either. We usually get more produce than we can use, give lots away and can and freeze the rest.   Give a vegetable garden a try, the only thing you will need is plenty of sun, vegetables like sun, and some good soil.  Even container gardening can be satisfying, especially herbs, lettuces and cherry tomatoes. The benefits are tremendous and pay for themselves in healthfulness and savings in the market.

Small Batch Relishes & Jams

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The Antique Garden Homegrown originated several years ago after we started vegetable gardening. John dug up the back lawn and created raised beds in attractive rows across the yard. We planted crops of peppers, tomatoes, beans, asparagus, raspberries, zucchini, lettuces, Swiss chard, beets, sweet potatoes, onions, herbs, potatoes and more.

Varieties of Tomatoes at Harvest

Yellow Pear, Pineapple and Early Girl Tomatoes are delicious.

We had a bumper crop of almost everything and we never had to spray for insects; something we liked a lot. I began preserving our bounty by freezing and canning, using old-fashioned, time-tested recipes, using the very safe water-bath method and new, American made, Ball canning jars.

Now we bring you the goodness of real food; prepared with garden fresh, pesticide-free vegetables. You will taste the difference of homegrown, small batch prepared food, using only our vegetables or those from local farms. We think you will love it!  Our farmstand is open seasonally through December.

Support small local business, small farms and try our limited quantity relishes & jams today.

Jennifer & John Thomas

The Antique Garden, in the square of Leitersburg, Maryland. contact us through our links, this website  and write to

 Varieties include Sweet and Sour Pepper Relish, Best selling Beet Relish, Pickled Beets in 32 ounce size jars, New Carrot Cake Jam, Pickled Green Tomatoes, Pepper Onion Relish, Pickled Peppers, both hot and mild and Apple Conserve.

Homestead Happenings in the Garden

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September is like one of those whirlwind months that  just seem to fly by.  With summer almost over, the fall beckons us with new activity, especially in the garden.  We need to harvest and preserve what we have successfully grown, plant tender fall crops and clean up any spent plants.  We also have an additional project going,  building a duck pond out back in the old dog run. I am exhausted just thinking about it! But heck, instead of having to go to the produce aisle of the supermarket weekly, I can shop right in my back yard.

Peppers Gone Wild!

We have so many peppers that I need to come up with new recipes, I’m thinking Mexican Chilis stuffed with cheese and lots of jalapeno poppers.

The herbs are also very happy in the garden.  I planted my kitchen herb garden close to the backdoor for convenient picking. Time to freeze batches of delicious pesto sauce and dry my oregano and dill.

My basil was planted near the backdoor for convenient picking.

The beets are exploding out of the ground but still are tender and delicious.  Let’s see, I’ve pickled the beets, made beet relish, eggs and beets, boiled beets and roasted them….do YOU need any beets?!  They are sale priced to go at our farm stand.

We have Italian Candied Striped Beets and…..

Detroit Red Beets, four rows of them, did I mention that we sell beets at our farm stand?

New crops include chinese cabbage, mustard greens, radishes and fall lettuce.

Lush herbs thrive in the autumn sunshine.

Pole beans still have plenty of tender pods on the plants, meaning more picking, pickling, and freezing…..

The flowering hydrangea shrubs, also like the cooler weather, and are producing gorgeous flowers.  These blossoms dry beautifully for fall arrangements.

The self sowed pumpkin plant from last year’s discards, may never bear a squash, but it has a lovely bloom.  Also ready for harvest are the carrots, swiss chard, arugula, red and white potatoes and sweet potatoes, that I will be saving for our Thanksgiving Day Feast. Harvest time in the garden is challenging but well worth the effort.  Does anyone have any more beet recipes??? Please send them our way, asap!

The Zucchini Are Coming the Zucchini are Coming! BEST RECIPES

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                                                                                                                    Zucchini 101-preparation is key

                                                                                                           It took only two little plants and

                                                                                                            Lots of little squash babies were born.

Now I better get cooking ’cause the zucchini are exploding in the garden.  I mean they are rapidly producing cute  little squashes, that turn into big huge monsters. They multiply like rabbits if you don’t watch out.   Luckily I have several wonderful recipes that I depend on for my bounty. 

This bowl in my kitchen is filled with zucchini and Peter Pan squash. (I sent my husband to the nursery to select zucchini seedlings and he brought home a Peter Pan varietal!)

This Peter Pan squash can be used just like the zucchini squash.  Dixie is hypnotised by this curiosity.

No Dixie, this is not a food for doggies! 

Wash and dry a bunch of summer squash.  No need to peel. Chop into food processor size chunks.  You can remove any large seeds that look tough, especially in large squash.

Insert the shredding disc into a food processor or use an old-fashioned box grater on largest side. My Cuisinart is more than 20 years old and still works like a charm. Start grating squash, emptying bowl as it fills up with shreds, several batches should do it.

The shredded squash should look like this.

My large metal bowl is full of shredded zucchini and can be used in my recipes.  It is nice to have a bowl of this, on hand, in the refrigerator for lots of great recipes. From stir fry, soups, breads and my favorite savory appetizer, zucchini  pancakes, you’ll be actually glad you have so much squash. And yes, Dixie does eat raw zucchini and I can get my son, John to eat it too, if it’s hidden in these recipes. 

Now we are cooking.  Coming soon, the recipes, stay posted!

Inspirations for Spring or I Need it Bad…..

nantucket 2010 012

It’s not that I’m complaining.   It is just that it is the human condition to always want what we don’t have.  I am trying to live in the moment.  But at the moment it has been #1 raining for days, #2 cloudy for days, # 3 cold for days.  I need sunshine, I need heat and I need some color.  Am I complaining yet? Oh did I tell you that the rain changed to sleet, then ice then snow the other day? Here is my visual inspiration for the day.  Yes I can do it…… 

This is our porch last year, filled with flowers…This my back yard last week…..Our pond had lots of water plants and the gold fish were so happy.This was the view out my back door….pretty I know!#$@%^&&*@#$%^****>>! 

Mid-July and a dream vacation at the beach.


All paths lead to the ocean….ah the air, the warmth, the sand in our toes…..The hydrangea in all their glory,  truly an inspiration.Our vegetable garden seems like a distant memory.  I’ll have to get those yellow pear tomato plants again. Check. 

Can everyone say Salsa???



Ah that scorcher in Greencastle, and the ice cream after…..

Yes I will try to live in the moment and ahem, try to enjoy the March rains….Then again we can always dream!