Barbara’s Favorite Flowers: Peony

Barbara’s Favorite Flowers: Peony

A plant that is familiar to many is a favorite to Barbara, especially the ones at Willow Creek and Southern Mansion. Here’s why!

My Peony Patch at the Willow Creek Vineyard includes several hundred heirloom peonies, salvaged from a historical West Cape May peony garden on Landis Ave and mixed in with other fabulous hybrids. I remember seeing the “Peonies For Sale” sign off of Broadway for years and buying dozens of them from a delightful little lady in her 90’s. Her son maintained the Peonies for many years later, and finally he offered the plants for sale.  Needless to say, I purchased the entire lot and established them in my Vineyard gardens.  Now as these are old-fashioned peonies, they are more in the anemone, or semi-double style, as compared to the more outrageous, modern, hybridized varieties, but their delicious sweet scent and beauty are unforgettable.

These fleeting, over-blown, decadent blossoms are the stuff of dreams and bridal fantasy.  These are flowers that are purely over-the-top. A huge bouquet of peonies in a crystal vase next to your bed or on a marble counter in front of your bathroom mirror is exquisite. Peony season is short-lived in early May; the Chinese, or tree peony, blooms first. Tree peonies originated in Asia and can live hundreds of years. Certain colors and varieties are in such high demand that they command millions of dollars. The herbaceous peony has a soft stem that comes up from the bare earth every year, but it shares the Asian ancestry and delicious blossoms. Peonies are also very popular motifs in classic Asian art and Museum quality tattoos. They are known as the King of Flowers in China.

Peony flower type varies tremendously as they become more complex in their arrangement of petals. The flower types include Single, Japanese, Anemone, Semi-Double, and Bomb-Double. Herbaceous peonies die back in the winter and regrow in the spring, while tree peonies lose their leaves in winter, but leave woody stems.

I hope you enjoy the gorgeous peonies at Southern Mansion and Willow Creek Winery as much I do!

Barbara’s Favorite Flowers: Platycodon

Barbara’s Favorite Flowers: Platycodon


Platycodon grandiflorus, is a great hardy perennial for your garden border. Here is why Barbara loves it:

She reproduces and reseeds well, which is always an added bonus (it produces lots of babies to gift your gardening aficionado friend’s with). In the family Campanulaceae (like several of my favorite waterfall and Canterbury bells), but she is the only member of the genus from the Greek meaning broad bells.

A Native of East Asia, she bears big, blue flowers, which start off in lovely swelling buds that for all the world resemble wonderful puffy balloons.

Medicinally, the root of this particular species is used as the base for many age-old natural, and commercially prepared remedies for colds and coughs. You can also use them in salads and soups!

I hope you enjoy this beauty Platycodon as much as I do!

Barbara’s Favorite Flower: Queen Anne’s Lace

Barbara’s Favorite Flower: Queen Anne’s Lace

Queen Anne’s Lace Daucus carota, a wild carrot, is a wonderful flowering biennial that is native to Europe, but naturalized all over North America. Here is what Barbara has to say about this wild carrot:

Related to carrot (Daucus Carrota) you can eat the root when young, (it tastes and smells like carrot) but it gets nasty and woody as it matures.

Women have used the seeds from Daucus carota for centuries as a contraceptive, the earliest written reference dates back to the late 5th or 4th century B.C. appearing in a work written by Hippocrates. “The seeds, harvested in the fall, are a strong contraceptive if taken orally immediately after coitus.”  I can not speak to the efficiency but it certainly is interesting historically.

Jenn Post

Friday Feature: Jennifer Post

How long have you been working at Willow Creek? About 5 months

What is your position? Administrative Assistant

What is your favorite part of the Willow Creek family? How hard we all work, and how much we laugh and have fun together

What do you hope to accomplish within the company? To get more familiar with all departments and taste my way through the wine list

What is your favorite wine? Blackberry Merlot

If you could switch jobs with anyone at Willow Creek, who would it be an why? Any of the hostesses. Those ladies work so hard, but make it look so easy. I’d love a day in their shoes to see what they really deal with. Or Barbara so I could learn the business side of things.

Gabby (left) Jennifer (right)

What is your proudest moment so far at Willow Creek? Winning Best Non-Traditional Ugly Christmas Sweater at our 1st Annual Ugly Christmas Sweater Party.

What advice do you have for new hires? Be patient, be kind, be Wilde.

And last but not least, if Hollywood made a movie about your life, who would you like to see cast as you? My girl crush, Blake Lively.

Wine Cocktail Wednesday – Prestige Spritzer

Wine Cocktail Wednesday: Prestige Spritzer


1/4 Cup ice

2 Tablespoons frozen berries of your choice

2 oz Wilde Cock Prestige Gold

6 oz sparkling water (La Croix recommended because of it’s subtle flavor and no added sweetness)


Pour ice into a glass. Add frozen berries. Pour in the wine, then the sparkling water. Sip and enjoy.


Friday Feature: Melissa Jablonowski

How long have you been working at Willow Creek? 8 months

What is your position? Hostess with the mostest

What is your favorite part of the Willow Creek Family? Contests! Having fun with each other [insert ugly sweater pic]

What do you hope to achieve within the company? I would like to be more involved with events (planning)

What is your favorite wine? Blackberry Merlot

If you could switch jobs with anyone at Willow Creek, who would it be and why? In another life, Ariella.

What if your proudest moment so far at Willow Creek? Working and organizing gift shop and front of the house

What advice do you have for new hires? Take initiative, but be respectful. We are all a part of the same team.

And last but not least, if Hollywood made a movie about your life, who would you like to see cast as you? Emily Blunt

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