petal pushers

Have you ever thought about taking a floral design course before? Have you cut flowers from your garden and wished that you could do more than just haphazardly plop them in a vase? Do you have any idea how you can make the cellophane wrapped supermarket bouquet look like a million bucks?

Now is your chance to learn how from an award-winning, professional floral designer!  And for the mere cost of a floral arrangement which, in turn, will be donated to our Bike MS: City to Shore team.  The funds, not the arrangement.  You get to take your floral arrangement home!  Fresh flowers and a good cause.  Does it get any better than that?

If you’re local to North Wales, PA, I hope you will consider Petal Pushers and join us for this awesome fundraiser on August 14th.  Please register in advance as space is limited.  As always, let me know if you have any questions.

Petal Pushers Bike MS Fundraiser

 

P.S. Pennsylvania friends, I will be conducting a milk paint demo on Sunday, July 20th at 1 pm at Serendipity Shops of Doylestown.

all of that kale

The garden is off to a great start this spring. We’ve had warm, sunny days and cool, misty nights. As a result, we’re harvesting bunches and bunches of lettuce plus a bunch of leafy kale every other day.

leafy kale

The more frequently it is harvested, the higher the yield.  I hate to let any of it go to waste because I know once the temperatures soar these greens will bolt leaving me wishing for just one more kale infused smoothie.  And I’ve tried but I’m just not into kale chips.

maximizing the harvest- kale-3701
In order to maximize the kale harvest and make it last well into summer I’ve come up with a plan.  After washing the bunch of kale and trimming the stems, I toss it into a pan and blanch it.  This only takes a few minutes.  I usually do it while making dinner.

maximizing the harvest- kale-3694

Then, with tongs, I place the wilted greens into an ice-cube tray and cover with water.

making kale cubes

Pop the tray in the freezer and we’ve got kale cubes.  The cubes are ready to chill any smoothie or to toss into any soup, stir fry or side dish.  I put the excess cubes in a freezer bag to make room for more.  There’s another harvest right behind this one!

Maximizing the Harvest - kale cubes

I recently read an interesting article about the benefits of using cooked kale vs. raw kale in smoothies.  What do you think?  What is your preference?

celebrating june

Well, June is here! The weather is on the rise, the days are long, the water cool and strawberries are the pick of the moment.  These things will be celebrated, as they should be, on Saturday at the annual Strawberry Festival in West Cape May.  Be sure to walk across the street and visit us at the The West End Garage.  You might just stumble upon a free milk paint demonstration.  Will you be in Cape May this weekend?

strawberries
June milk paint demonstration at The West End Garage

Strawberry Festival

a walk through the garden

A thunderstorm washed through the area last night leaving everything in the garden looking extra lush and green this morning.  So much so that I decided this was the day to snap a few photos and share a status update on how things are progressing in the garden.

annuals garden box

This is the first year we’ve gardened this plot.  It runs about 4o feet long but only 18-24 inches deep on each side of the fence that divides the vegetables from the flowers.  These border gardens get full sun most of the day.  We decided to start out with a manageable size garden and we’ll add-on annually as desired.

vegetable and perennial border garden

On the exterior of the fence I’m working on a perennial garden.  Most of the plants are immature so I’ve been filling in with annuals.  I can’t wait to see how the perennial gardens thrive over the years.  Perennials gardens have always been my favorite to grow.  I am anticipating a cottage style cutting garden out here.  The thought of garden flower bouquets all summer long is delightful.

milk paint picket fence

The other side of the fence is where most of the action is happening as the flowers get established.  We started this vegetable garden in late March mostly from seed, directly sown.  We are now harvesting the early/cool weather vegetables such as lettuce.  If you come for dinner I can assure you that there will be a salad.

lettuce salad garden

And the snap peas are just darling.  I love their little tendrils and sweet flowers.

snap peas

We upcycled a trellis out of two crib rails.  Ryan just screwed them together making an A-frame.  They’ve already grown about 4 feet tall so looks like we’ll need to give them more space to climb.  Some snap pea varieties grow up to 8 feet.

upcycled snap pea trellis - crib rails

The other vegetables include carrots, tomatoes, peppers, broccoli, beans and kohlrabi – planted mostly from seed.  Plus, we have a galvanized container garden for herbs.  I want to make tea with the relevant herb harvest.

vegetable garden milk painted fence

The fence is a new addition that we added in the fall.  Would you believe we used milk paint on the fence to achieve that subtle light blue?

milk paint on a picket fence #mmsmp

Yes, you can use milk paint outdoors!  It won’t fade from UV light and will be protected when a topcoat of tung oil is applied.  We sell tung oil with milk paint for this purpose.  The color was custom mixed eulalie’s sky and linen in more of a wash consistency. Then two thin coats were applied on a raw pine fence.  Perfect little cottage garden accent, don’t you think?

the beginning of a perennial cutting garden

But the best part of the garden is definitely the bounty it produces.  This morning, I harvested my first bunch of kale to enjoy with some locally grown strawberries in a breakfast smoothie.  Life can really be that simple.

locally grown produce

What are you growing?

springtime potting

We’ve been spending all of our spare time in the garden lately. The passing soaking rains, followed by sunshine have left impressive growth on our snap peas and carrot seedlings among other things. We’re already harvesting salad greens. I can’t wait to share more from our garden as it matures.

lettuce

In the meantime, I did a little work for your garden.

Eulalie's Sky Milk Paint Potting Bench #mmsmilkpaint

How cute is this potting bench?  It conveniently doubles as a stand alone cocktail bar on a patio or deck too!  Also, the sides and shelves fold in for easy peasy storage.

Eulalie's Sky Potting Bench

I love the cottage blue color.  The bench is newly constructed from pressure treated raw pine.  I mixed up some milk paint in Eulalie’s Sky and applied one coat.  It absorbed evenly into the raw wood like a stain leaving a rustic finish in some areas where the wood grain and knots showed through.

Ptting Bench

To finish it and ensure durability outside in the elements, I applied a coat of tung oil.  This will protect the wood and repel water.  Tung oil can be re-applied annually if necessary.

English Ivy

The potting bench and all of the plants pictured here are for sale at West End Garage.  The paint is too!

Can’t you just smell the rosemary?  My favorite!

Springtime Herbs

 

milk paint in cape may

Hey there!  Have you heard the news?

We’re bringing Miss Mustard Seed’s Milk Paint to Cape May.  That’s right.  You can expect to find the full product line and other DIY goodies at The West End Garage.

mp_natural

To kick it off, I am offering a free milk paint demonstration on Saturday, May 10th at 11 am.  No need to sign up.  Just come as you are ready to learn what all of the hype is about.  I’ll show you how to mix the paint and we’ll talk about different finishes and topcoats.  This is not a “one size fits all” paint and many different finishes can be achieved.  We’ll even discuss how you can use it outdoors on fences and window boxes.  So feel free to bring specific project questions, before pictures, etc.

WEG May demo

Oh and bring your mom.  It’ll be Mother’s Day weekend after all!  A perfect time to visit Cape May.

Cape May Victorian-0380

Actually any time is a perfect time to visit Cape May.

Cape May beaches

However, if you can’t make it on Saturday, May 10th, don’t worry.  We’ll offer another demonstration in the future.  And if you just can’t wait until May 10th, visit West End Garage this weekend.  The paint is in stock.

e-sky

May’s colors of the month are Eulalie’s Sky and Linen.  The perfect pairing for a Victorian beach house, don’t you think?