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Deck the Halls at The Antique Garden


It’s December  and ‘tis the season to deck the halls!

We have been busy creating beautiful garlands and container gardens for our customers. After a very successful week-end at the Kris Kringle show and Thanksgiving but a delicious memory, now is the time to make merry with family and friends. One of the best things about December is the cooking and the decorating. Ever since I was a small child, I loved the preparations for Christmas. What is better than homemade cookies and treats from the kitchen and the smell of real balsam pine whether in a wreath, garland or live Christmas tree. So while the temperatures get chilly and we enjoy the warmth of our homes, we celebrate with traditions of the past. It’s time to add a touch of greenery inside and out. We start with taking lots of cuttings of fresh greens. We love to use what is available in our yard or can scavenge from friends. Cuttings of Southern magnolia, white pine, boxwood, blue ice juniper and holly will last all winter in the window boxes, wreaths and urns that we decorate. I purchased a strand of roping at a local store and wired on various cuttings of greens and large southern pinecones. We then attached it around the doorway using some wire and several nails to anchor the greens. The look is very welcoming when guests come for holiday gatherings, don’t you think? What are you doing in preparation for the holidays? Next up is holiday baking with decadent recipes! Stay tuned. PS. the fabulous red and orange berries are called winter berries. They add lots of color to your greens and the birds love them! The Antique Garden is located in Hagerstown Maryland in a 1895 General Store.  Reach us by email at antiquegarden@myactv.net we’d love to hear from you.

The Antique Garden Holiday Shop

Lemon scented mini cypress trees make a great gift.

Lemon scented mini cypress trees make a great gift.

Winterberries, fresh greens and red twig dogwood stems make a simple winter arrangement.

Winterberries, fresh greens and red twig dogwood stems make a simple winter arrangement.

The Antique Garden Winter & Holiday Edition

Where has the time gone? This year has flown by quicker than you can say 2014. At The Antique Garden we are winding down for a long winter’s nap but before that, we will be open Monday through Saturday 10 – 5 pm until the 21st of December, Sundays 12-4 pm. Enjoy some photographs from the holiday season from our 1895 store in the square of Leitersburg, Maryland. We are still taking orders for custom urn decorating, gift baskets filled with our home canned goods and home baked holiday cookies.

Canned goods from our no spray gardens, hand made by us. Great for gift giving!

Canned goods from our no spray gardens, hand made by us. Great for gift giving!

We are stocked with ornaments, swags, wreaths, Christmas trees, illuminated pine cone baskets and lots of fresh cut winter berries, holly, balsam and seasonal mixed greens. Stop by the old store and visit us at 21501 Leitersburg-Smithsburg Road, Leitersburg (5 miles from Hagerstown), Maryland, in the heart of the beautiful Cumberland Valley, located in Washington County.

Winterberry stems in a warm rust color are perfect for this brick home.

Winterberry stems in a warm rust color are perfect for this brick home.


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Dried hydrangeas in a cast iron urn make a wonderful winter filler.

Dried hydrangeas in a cast iron urn make a wonderful winter filler

urns 097urns 100Wishing you and yours a happy, healthy holiday season!

Jennifer & John Thomas
Dixie too!




Collecting Farmhouse Primitives

tea pot 042


I don’t know why exactly, but I love primitives. Grungy is good, the older the better. Use marks, rusty gold, cast iron and farmyard finds are just what I am drawn to! Plus, most primitives are affordable and sometimes a steal at flea markets, yard sales, thrift stores and even antique malls. If I had to categorize this lot, I would call this collection farmhouse kitchen primitives. Someone else must like them too, because most of these items have sold, usually within a week or two of me finding them! More visuals from my 2012 files as we wind down the year and look forward to a promising 2013!

Woodenware mortar and pestle, I always buy these when I spot them at a sale. Totally usable for crushing herbs and peppercorns.

I like old crocks, this brown and tan, has some age. Always check for cracks and chips which brings the value down.

I found this old wood measure at the Goodwill for a couple bucks! SOLD!!!

I am attracted to outsider, tramp art and prison art. This is a matchstick cross. Most are a bargain, purchase if it is in good condition, with little breakage as the matches can be brittle. Usually found in shops for under $5.00 they resell for about $20.00.

Always, always, always  buy your baskets at  yardsales.  Prices range from 25 cents to a few bucks.  Look for handwoven “buttocks” baskets.

Used cutting boards, look great displayed in a country kitchen.

Serving tray with great lines, found at the Salvation Army.

Early candle box

Eldreth pottery cat, while not old, the salt glaze gives it that primitive feel and I love the cobalt blue.

With colorful graphics, this is an original early can of tomatoes with removable lid.

Old beat up galvanized watering pail may not be water tight, but is perfect for dried flowers.

Old kitchen scales-one green and an amazing orange scale.









Wood spoons, used of course!

Early Asian Rice Measure

I love enamel ware and buy it whenever the price is right. Perfect for many uses. I predict the value will go up as supply of the vintage pieces decline.

Handmade farm wheelbarrow

Metalware teapots-I found this lot of 6 matching pieces.

Toleware -look for hand painting, good design, and not too many scratches.

Kitchen brooms-this one has a witchy twisted handle

Yup, I bought this lot of pitchfork tines and sold them as folk art. What are some of your primitive collections?  Drop us a line at antiquegarden@myactv.net we’d love to hear from you! Jenn at The Antique Garden.

2012 A Year of Flowers & Gardens Part 2


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, we are taking stock of many projects from the past year, including container gardens, landscapes, vegetable gardens, floral arrangements and more. Sit back, relax and enjoy some of  the sights  from The Antique Garden and remember Spring 2013 is just around the corner.  Take some  time to dream of next year’s gardens…..

This rooftop garden is all about containers filled with herbs, vegetables and flowers. Perfect for those with a compact yard or urban space.

We changed out the Black Eyed Susan plants for the autumn to a Pumpkin Planter Box.

More Planters….

Washington County Museum of Fine Arts Urn

Dried Pepper Wreath, SOLD, a creation of our abundant veggie garden!

Winter Urn Garden

Holiday Arrangement

More Thanksgiving planters full of the bounty of our harvest….

Winter Arrangement with fresh pineapples, artichokes, chili peppers and winter berries.  A neo-modern  twist with inspiration from classic, traditional Williamsburg,  Virginia.  This is Christmas decorating, using fresh, real fruits and vegetables. 

Near the street, we have two  urns decked out with pine, magnolia, boxwood and other “cuts” from our yard. 

Here is our front  rocking chair porch, at  the Parsonage, decorated with festive greens and winter berry sprigs in the window boxes.

 From our porch to yours, happy gardens to all!

Jenn at The Antique Garden

21501 Leitersburg-Smithsburg Rd

Hagerstown, Maryland

Email: antiquegarden@myactv.net  We would love to hear from you!

Mummer’s Parade Party Cheese Ball Recipe


I’ve decided to leave my large Kitchen Aid mixer out on the counter for the holiday season. 010    With Halloween almost here, this officially means things around here won’t get back to normal until 12th Night in January. Hopefully this will encourage me to make all kinds of delicious treats all the way until the new year. So far I’ve managed to make cookies and yesterday I tried out another new recipe for a party we were attending in town for the annual Mummer’s Parade in Hagerstown, Maryland. Supposedly the largest night time parade east of the Mississippi.027

I’ve honestly never made a cheese ball before. After seeing a recipe online, from Family Fresh Meals, I tweaked it as I usually do and made my own version. I actually think this is pretty easy to make and everyone seemed to like it. The stand mixer did make this easy to whip up. Here’s the ingredient list for one cheese ball.

16 ounces cream cheese at room temperature (2 packs)

2 cups cheddar cheese, finely shredded

3 tablespoons red pepper jelly

1 teaspoon cumin

1 cup roasted pepitos (pumpkin seeds out of the shell)

Top of 1 bell pepper for stem garnish if you want to make this look like a pumpkin

1. With mixer on low add cream cheese, 1 ½ cups cheddar cheese, jelly, cumin and ¾ cups pepitos. Turn up speed and combine until well blended.

Turn out on plastic wrap and shape into ball. Wrap well and refrigerate for at least 2 hours.

2. Remove cheese ball from refrigerator and unwrap. Roll in ½ cup shredded cheddar cheese and remaining pumpkin seeds. Top with pepper stem. Serve with crackers and cut up veggis.

I can imagine making this with salsa instead of pepper jelly and different types of roasted nuts. 023015Perhaps for Christmas roll in green herbs and serve with slices of red pepper. The cheese ball held up well and was nice and firm but not too hard.027

As we get into the fall and winter season it is fun to try out new recipes don’t you think?!

Happy Gardens!

Jenn at The Antique Garden

Cookie Time: Chai Pumpkin Spice Blossoms


I brought all the makings for Chai Pumpkin Spice Blossom Cookies up to my parent’s home in White Plains this week-end.037 039 040 041 042 044   047  051 This and other similar recipes has been floating around the internet and Pinterest since September. I’ve been using the recipe that was posted by Michael and his blog Inspired by Charm, which he found from the blog Pass the Sushi! which was adapted from the site The Curvy Carrot. I don’t know for sure who invented these but they ARE delicious and use the very special seasonal Pumpkin Spice Hershey’s Kisses. I had a hard time finding them in my supermarket. First I checked the candy aisle, then the Halloween candy area and finally when I was giving up I found them up front near one of the registers in a display. I also have heard Target carries them. Today the temperatures have cooled, it’s rainy out, and it’s Sunday, the perfect excuse to pull out the ole stand mixer and get baking. In my parents case, the mixer is a vintage Sunbeam that they got as a wedding gift in the 1950’s, that still works great. I just got Dad, aged 83, to peel the wrappers off the kisses! Nothing like a couple of teenagers in the house to help make cookies. It is very handy. I found the liquid Chai concentrate easily in my market near the regular tea bags. I used the Tazo Brand.  Enjoy these wonderful, easy to make cookies.  As you can tell I like to have helpers in the kitchen young and old.  It makes a task easier and much more fun.  These cookies will be a hit, there is no doubt!  Here is the recipe: 

1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened
1/2 cup sugar
1/4 cup liquid chai concentrate (I used Tazo brand.)
1 large egg
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
22-24 Hershey’s Pumpkin Spice Kisses
1/2 cup sugar
1 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice
In a medium bowl whisk together flour, baking soda, salt, pumpkin pie spice, and cinnamon.
Using an electric mixer on medium speed, cream the butter and sugar until fluffy (about three minutes).
Add egg, chai concentrate, and vanilla to the butter mixture. Mix until combined.
Reduce mixer speed to low and add flour mixture until incorporated.
Refrigerate for about an hour as the dough is too soft to handle at this stage
Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F.
Unwrap Pumpkin Kisses (my Dad’s job)
Then in a small bowl mix 1/2 cup sugar and 1 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice.
Using your hands, roll the dough into one-inch round balls. Then, roll dough balls in sugar and pumpkin pie spice mixture.
Place the dough balls about two inches apart on baking sheets. Bake for 12-15 minutes.
Remove the cookies from the oven and immediately place pumpkin kisses in the center of each cookie. Cool completely.
Do not touch or move your cookies until the Kisses have firmed up-yes this is very important!

To top off the  week-end, my oldest son Andy brought over this basket of fresh autumn flowers. I think I’m finally easing into Autumn…..

I Made Watermelon Salad, a True Story

watermelon salad 004



I have been reading a lot of recipes on pinterest for this terrific summer salad that to some faint of heart would seem downright weird.Here is a version from down under, that adds sunflower seeds and pepitas…….Press here for this unique version.

It passed the test in my household and we all loved it, or at least liked it very much. I didn’t make the fancy one, all cut up into neat cubes, that would be perfect for a dinner party, but made a  easy simple version.

                                                                                                                        press here for the above recipe

Ingredients in order of importance and quantity:



Feta cheese




That is it! I, a salt fanatic, didn’t even need it, because the Feta added the salt element. Dice all into bite size pieces and place in a serving bowl. Sweet melon and salty cheese, mint and avocado, pepper and scallion, perfect combo. Impressive too, this is going to be a new regular at my homestead.

Easy Swiss Chard Quiche


Swiss Chard that strange-sounding vegetable.  What is it exactly, you ask??? Press here to learn more about this super nutritious green vegetable that is similar in taste to fresh spinach and widely available in most markets.

I’ve been making variations of this delicious vegetable Quiche for years as it is so easy and everyone seems to like it. With so many great veggies to choose from you can use your own imagination and come up with unique combinations. This is perfect to whip up for parties or as a take along dish as it is yummy warm or cold. I’ve been known to take Quiche to the beach in a cooler. The basic things you will need is a good pastry crust, either homemade, those refrigerated pie crusts, or even frozen will work great. Yup, I cheated and used  frozen crusts and they were fine and a real summer time saver. For the filling you’ll need eggs, milk and some half and half cream and cheese. Tonight I’m serving a Quiche also known as cheese pie with the Swiss Chard, green peppers and onions I have growing in the garden. Other combinations that work are asparagus and dill, broccoli, onion and Swiss cheese, spinach and feta or leeks. I think fresh tomatoes would also be excellent. Just make sure to sauté veggies first in a little oil. Here’s the recipe for 2 pies:

2 Pie shells that have been cooked at 400 degrees for 12 minutes, empty. I usually cover with foil and weigh the pastry down with dried beans or rice. This step ensures a cooked crust that is not doughy and the beans prevent the crust from bubbling up. Remove from oven, remove foil and allow to rest.

4 cups chopped Swiss Chard-this cooks down

1 medium onion, chopped

1 bell pepper-diced

1-2 T. butter, olive oil or coconut oil

Cook vegetables in heavy pan for about 10 minutes, medium heat, stirring occasionally. Place in prepared pie shells. Spread cooked veggies evenly in shells. Top with cheeses.

½ pound of your favorite cheeses-diced or shredded-good choices are cheddar, Swiss, feta and Parmesan(I used romano, cheddar and provolone)

Here is my all-purpose filling to use for all variations:

4 eggs

¾ cup half and half cream

1 ¼ cup milk

Whisk up eggs, milk and cream. Add a little salt and pepper. Pour over contents of pies. For a special touch place some sage leaves in a pattern on the top of Quiche before baking. Press them in gently. Bake at 375 for about 35-40 minutes or until set. Remove from oven and cool. Eat hot, at room temperature or cold. They also freeze well and you know, even the men in my family love this dish. Who would have thunk it?!  Happy Gardens from Jenn at The Antique Garden!

Ample Sufficiency Raspberry Jam

I named this raspberry jam after my Grandmother, Betty Kakerbeck, because after a big meal she would always say, she’d had an ample sufficiency.  It almost became a family joke, as she was such a lady, and would never be vulgar enough to say she was plum stuffed. When we have a bumper crop of anything in the garden, we could certainly say we have an ample sufficiency.  garden 026Bombom would be proud, yes that’s what we called her, don’t ask. This year we have lots of our pesticide free red raspberries in the gardens that have early, big, fat berries, perfect for making jam. 006 With this jam I can make one my Grandmother’s favorite special desserts, the old classic Peach Melba. She would take a scoop of vanilla ice cream, a peach half and store-bought Melba sauce, which was made from raspberries, and serve it on special occasions.  You know, it was good, very good.  Did you know Peach Melba was named after a famous opera singer and created by the  famed chef Escoffier?007

For the jam, I followed the basic recipe from this web site which has very good detailed instructions for home canning, aswell as the Ball Blue Book recipe.  I liked the lower sugar recipe using the pectin that calls for no sugar and the results were perfect.  You can decide for your self if you want to strain the seeds out or keep them in. Here’s the recipe:

4 cups fresh red raspberries-washed and picked over

4 cups sugar

1 box plus 2 teaspoons more, no sugar needed Pectin-a natural thickener read more at that web site I was telling you about

1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice

1 teaspoon freshly grated lemon zest

Combine raspberries and sugar in a large pot. Bring to a boil over high heat, stirring until sugar dissolves.  Stir in pectin.  Return to a rolling boil.  Boil hard for one minute, stirring constantly.  Remove from heat. Skim foam if necessary.  Ladle jam into hot jars, leaving 1/4″ head space.  Adjust two-piece caps.  Process in a boiling water bath canner for 10 minutes.  This batch produced 4  half pint jars, plus a little extra for my Melba Sauce.My batch came out thick, sweet and yummy, perfect for that Peach Melba dessert or even toast.  Jams and jellies always should be made in small batches for best flavor. So when YOU have a ‘ample sufficiency’ try making raspberry jam or any of the other wonderful canning recipes. As always Happy Gardens!002

Jenn at The Antique Garden


Mini Fairy Garden on a Sunday Afternoon

We had the most perfect weather of the Spring season last week-end. With temperatures flirting with 80 degrees we decided to get creative in the garden. I have been collecting photographs on Pinterest of mini Fairy Gardens. If you are new to Fairy Gardens then you may enjoy this project which has the element of fantasy. 

I started with collecting mini garden accessories. These can be miniatures you already own or can be found at local thrift shops. In my shop we have little mini garden goodies that are perfect for this type of container garden. Next you will need an assortment of real plants and flowers to use. I recommend you purchase the same sort of plants be it those that like water or those that don’t need much water, like succulents, Don’t mix both types together or someone won’t be happy. I hope that makes sense to you, does it?!

We scrounged around for a suitable container one that was not too big or too small….

Then we filled it with some potting soil mixture and started planting. We choose Irish Moss, purple alyssum, and a mini cypress tree we found growing near our house. I found some interesting rocks down our alley that would make great steps and used some gravel for pathways.

Next to accessorize, this is the fun part! I placed a mini fairy house in the back of the planter. Then I starting adding away- a mini wheel barrow, pots, rakes, a bird’s nest, a gardening hat and more. I made a fence out of twig cuttings. A rabbit sits under a real mushroom! Water gently (as this is a water loving type of garden) and sit back on the porch and enjoy. I think I would like some pink lemonade and tea sandwiches while I gaze at my creation…..