Note: this piece was originally written when my two now-adult sons were youngsters.
What I remember most about Mother’s Day as I was growing up, are the various flowers and plants I would give my mom as gifts. I don’t know whether this was something I learned from my teachers, my Girl Scout leaders or my father, who was an avid gardener. What I do know is that May meant lilacs and lilies of the valley and apple blossoms, all of which I would collect and arrange in glass jars with ribbons tied around their necks, to be given to my mother on that Sunday in May.
While recently enjoying the beautiful Virginia springtime, and touring gardens during the 90th anniversary of Virginia’s Historic Garden Week, we made a short detour to the town of Marshall to have breakfast at the acclaimed Red Truck Rural Bakery.
Now that it’s officially spring, I’d like to suggest several upcoming home and garden tours to consider attending. These are my favorites! Please remember that popular tours sell out early so it is always best to try and secure tickets early.
The Classical American Homes Preservation Trust owns four historically significant 19th century homes — two in South Carolina, one in North Carolina, and one in New York’s Dutchess County. The trust was founded by the late Wall Street investment banker Richard Hampton Jenrette, who had a passion for 18th and 19th century American architecture, and who had purchased all the properties as homes. They are notable not only for their architecture, but for their impressive collections of fine and decorative arts. Three of the homes are open on a limited basis for public tours. This past fall, I secured tickets to Edgewater, near Barrytown, in New York’s Dutchess County, and toured the property.
It’s that time of year when I feel compelled to repost my article about our family’s traditional Thanksgiving dinner menu. So with your forbearance, dear readers, I post it below, complete with my mother’s recipe for her beloved cranberry/pineapple/jello “salad.”
Thanksgiving dinner: the mother of all menus
I’d bet that nearly everyone reading this can recite, item by item, every single dish served at their family’s Thanksgiving table while growing up. The Thanksgiving menu is pretty much inviolate. Even the slightest change is noticed by all. I think I still remember the year my mother started adding apples to her stuffing.
After being closed for three years, not necessarily because of Covid, but for a planned renovation, Kelmscott Manor, in the Cotswold region of England, reopened in the spring of 2022. I was thrilled to be able to visit the property in May. It is operated by the Society of Antiquaries of London.
This May I knocked one big goal off my bucket list — to attend the Royal Horticultural Society’s (RHS) Chelsea Flower Show, held annually in May, on the grounds of the Royal Hospital in the Chelsea neighborhood of London. The Chelsea Show was cancelled in 2020 for only the second time since it began in 1912 (the first was during the Second World War), although some form of an online virtual show took place. The 2021 show was postponed and moved to September.
One of the oldest and most famous of London’s food markets, Borough Market, is located on the south side of the Thames, the South Bank, adjacent to Southwark Cathedral. (Note: We were surprised to learn that Southwark is pronounced “suh-thrk”!) William Shakespeare lived and worked in the neighborhood, (the reconstructed Globe Theater is nearby) and it is believed he shopped for food here, since there has been a market on the site since at least the 12th century. It is a lot of fun to wander through the stalls and passageways, and some vendors offer tastings.