Winter is Dead

She turned to the sunlight
                And shook her yellow head,
She whispered to her neighbor:
“Winter is dead.”

A.A. Milne, When We Were Very Young

Although it might still be a little chilly to eat outdoors on the deck or patio, you can bring all the color and blossoms inside for an springtime buffet.

Watch my e-How video on how to pull this off and welcome your guests to your botanical buffet. For table decorations, re-purpose some of your garden implements and decorate with the colors of spring. Your food will also be inspired by the season. Some of my favorite spring-time menu items are:

Click here for my video here on How to Decorate a Serving Table for a Spring Party. (Be sure to press the “CC” button is you would like to view it with captions.)

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Bloom Where You’re Planted

Me and the girls were putting on a celebration dinner for a friend. I had eight sunflowers I hastily picked up at the grocery store. I had no idea what I would do with them beyond putting them in a vase.

I grabbed some scissors and went foraging through a strange yard and found fresh mint growing wildly in long stalks. (The owner of the home said, “I had no idea I had mint in my yard!”) I found a Magnolia tree and cut some grand, green shiny leaves.

Wrap a little burlap around the whole spontaneous display and we had a summer centerpiece.

Like I said, bloom where you’re planted. Have a wonderful summer day! Thank you for reading.

Serendipitous Hospitality

In this sequestered nook how sweet
     To sit upon my orchard seat
And birds and flowers once more to greet.

William Wordsworth (1770 – 1850)

Every home has a story. I had this birdhouse stashed away for 15 years in the basement until one day my husband said, “What’s the story with this house?”

I offhandedly quipped, “It’s from an old boyfriend who made it for me. I don’t know what to do with it.”

My husband unabashedly replied, “Well let’s bring it out to the yard and see what we get!” (Now that’s hospitality!)

We placed it cavalierly on the deck rail and within a few days bluebirds came shopping for a home. They bought while we watched. But, it’s not a bluebird house!

Did you know that the male and female bluebird mate for life? Do you think it was coincidence that they found our house? It’s not an ordinary bluebird house high up in the tree – it’s more like a rambling Victorian with many rooms built for a large family. And, it sits in plain sight of where we can watch up close. They’ve never been timid or spooked. They are love on display. There are four blue eggs in the nest inside right now.


When you lay out the welcome mat, the most unlikely guests show up.

This is the fourth year for the house and its resident bluebirds. It was looking worn so I remodeled it last fall before putting it away for the winter. Same colors, just a few added wooden touches.

When the eggs hatch the parents will feverously go in and out to feed the babies insects, crickets, and larvae. After about 30 days the parents stop feeding the birds. Ready to fly, the baby birds leave the house to find their own food. We remove the roof and clean out the house and watch…a second family usually moves in before summer’s end.

Remodeling the birdhouse after three years of occupation.

Remodeling the birdhouse after three years of occupation.

See photos about “Bluebirds: From egg to empty nest.”

Nothing Bundt Flowers!

Welcome spring with a flowery, colorful cake! Make your favorite Bundt cake, add some silk flowers, butterflies, garden picks and other spring accents (walk the aisles of Michaels for inspiration), and let your ideas bloom.

Make a two-layer cake by using a smaller Bundt pan for the top layer. Place the smaller cake on a cardboard cake ring. Chocolate lady bugs, mossy grass, and garden picks add some garden fun!

Local Color

The girls from Penn Farm in Westmoreland County, Virginia, always deliver. Not only do they have the freshest produce, they have smiles and recipes to share with some tidbits of information about what they are selling. They are my go-to stand at two of my favorite farmer’s markets, one in Great Falls and one in Reston, Virginia. Be sure to Like them on Facebook.

Buying local means fresh and friendly. What do my hospitable friends at Penn Farm have to offer?

Scroll down to enjoy the colors from today’s market!

Purple peppers are to be eaten fresh in salads.

Purple peppers are to be eaten fresh in salads.

Jessie and Sam from Penn Farm

Jessie and Sam from Penn Farm

Kelley Hospitality herself checks out the plums for plum tarts.

Kelley Hospitality herself checks out the plums for plum tarts.

Sisters, Sam and Tessa, from Penn Farms, know it all!

Sisters, Sam and Tessa, from Penn Farm, know it all!

Golden Sunshine (left) versus Cherokee Purple (right)

Golden Sunshine (left) versus Cherokee Purple (right)

 

Pots o’ Hospitality

These little flower pots filled with springtime goodies are fun to make and give away. Create them for any occasion — party favors, hostess gifts, or welcome gifts left in your guest room. Use your imagination loading the contents of little flower pots.

Recipe for Pots o’ Hospitality

  • Ceramic green flower pots, available from Home Depot, Michaels, Hobby Lobby, and garden stores in various colors and sizes (I used 5-inch pots here. If you’re inspired, buy terra cotta pots and personalize them for the occasion with paint.)
  • Colorful gardening gloves
  • Seed packet of herbs
  • Espresso Pillows from Trader Joe’s (chocolate-covered espresso beans… but a bit of any kind of chocolate will go)
  • Spanish moss (available from any craft store)

gArrange everything in the little pot and put in a cellophane bag (available at craft stores) and tie with ribbon (I used rafia). I also included a little soil in a separate baggie placed behind the flower pot in the cellophane bag. That way the seeds are ready to plant.

 

 

 

 

Simply Spring Tables

Your table says “Welcome, we’re glad you’re here.” Set a spring table with the blooms of the season for a hospitable burst of color. Today my dishes all match, but feel free to mix and match dishes for a whimsical, yet coordinated, look.

TABLESCAPE BAUBLES

Spring flower centerpiece: tulips, azalea bush and dogwood branches, all from my yard. Whatever you have, blooms and greens, trim short for a bowl so the centerpiece is low and doesn’t obstruct vision. I used a Portmeirion Botanic Garden bowl with a spiked flower frog to hold flowers in place. Arrange loosely for an informal look.

Napkins: Whippoorwill pattern by World Market picks up all the spring colors from the flowers.

Tablecloth: Fresh spring green linen by World Market. The color hue is a step up from the wintertime mossy greens.

Dinnerware: Simply white Franciscan china, Nautical sea sculpture pattern.

Goblets: Wine goblets by Kosta Boda. Water goblets by Libby.

Candleholders: from Michaels, inexpensive votive holders for low, dispersed lighting