These are Barbara’s favorite fall flowers, and flowers for her kitchen! The Saffron Crocus (C. sativus), blooms in the fall garden, when there is very little other blooms so differentiating itself from the spring blooming non-culinary common crocus.
Here is what Barbara has to say about her favorite fall flower:
Saffron is a spice derived from the flower of Crocus sativus, commonly known as the saffron crocus. Crocus is a genus in the family Iridacae. Each saffron crocus grows to 20–30 cm (8–12 in) and bears up to four flowers, each with three vivid crimson stigmas, which are each the distal end of a carpal. The dried stigmas and styles must be hand picked and are known as the “most expensive spice in the world.” Saffron gives the exquisite and unique flavoring and color to delicious Mediterranean, Arabic, and North African dishes.
The Saffron Crocus, unknown in the wild, (it was hand-bred to be a diploid and therefore sterile), most likely descends from Crocus cartwrightianthus which originated in Crete or Central Asia. Saffron’s unique taste and fresh cut sweet grass-like fragrance results from the chemicals picrocrocin and safranal. It also contains a carotenoid dye, crocin, which imparts a rich golden-yellow hue to dishes and textiles. Used as a spice, dye, and fragrance since 7th century Assyria, I think the idea of harvesting ones own personal saffron is incredibly cool (albeit a tad labor intensive)! Time to cook some fabulous Paella and Tagine.
This ornamental cotton is in the hibiscus family, but has eye-catching deep black/purple maple shaped leaves, stems, and at 24-30’’ tall adds unusual and unforgettable color, height and interest to the garden.
She starts with Hibiscus like deep hot pink/burgundy flowers, followed by walnut size seedpods. Then wow! They split open exposing white fluffy balls of cotton contrasting against the darkest of leaves and stems. STUNNING!!!
The G. herbaceum cotton species is also called Levant cotton and is native to the semi-arid regions of sub-Saharan Africa and Arabia, where it still grows in the wild as a perennial shrub.
Cotton wants a warm soil to germinate and grow, and make sure not to over water after plants have germinated. Grow in full sun and in a rich soil. It will grow in most soils as long as they are well drained.
I plan to plant the black-leafed cotton as a specimen plant in containers, beds and borders. Maybe I will contrast it with silver lams ear, dusty miller plants, silver artichokes, purple fountain grass, yellow lantana or Cleome. In the fall, the cotton bolls can be picked off the plants and arranged into wreaths, or the plants sans foliage used as display. I feel confident that many of my gardening aficionado friends will be hot to trot for these seeds!
Styled Sunday: Wilde Cock Slouch Beanie and our Brand New Vest!
A lot of things have been happening here at Willow Creek! Not only have we added a ton of events to our Winter line-up, we have also welcomed new merchandise to our gift shop. Every Sunday, a new style will be featured right here on the blog, and will also feature one of our extremely stylish employees rocking our new gear.
Today, we have Emily who is wearing our embroidered Wilde Cock Slouch Beanie and our black Willow Creek Winery, fleece-lined vest.
Emily is wearing a size Medium in the vest and wearing it over a sweater, for size reference.
Barbara’s list of favorite winter blooming flowers for Willow Creek Farm & Winery and Southern Mansion gardens includes Cyclamen. Here’s what Barbara has to say:
Several years ago, I became all atwitter about winter gardening; having flowers blooming year round even in November through February. For several seasons in a row, we had been blessed with mild winters, and I was feeling rather pleased with my gardening prowess. Having overwintered Gloriosa Rothschildiana, and numerous Dahlias, I was confident that I was up to the task. Unfortunately my sin of superbia was about to become all too apparent when Outer Coastal Cape May was thwacked with a couple seasons of bitter, windy, wet, and cold weather. Oh well, this seasoned plantswoman is used to getting her comeuppance on occasion, and being perennially optimistic I started planting something new, and questionably hardy, as soon as I had the chance. But as brainy, is of course the new sexy, it’s really just as well, and at the very least not boring.
Many of you are familiar with the florist cyclamen (frost tender), with their brilliant hot pink, fuchsia and white reverse lipstick colored flowers, wonderful lovely dark green often heart shaped leaves delicious with white marbling. Easily attainable at the local market, we purchase and place these Cyclamen in pots as decorations inside our homes.
Each flower is on a stem coming from a growing point on the circular flat tuber of the Cyclamen. In all species, the stem is bent 150-180° at the tip, so that the nose of the flower faces downward. Flowers have five petals, are bent outwards or up, can sometimes be twisted, are connected at the base into a cup, and have five sepals behind the cup.
What I focus on here is the hardy winter bloomers such as c.coum. Cyclamen are a genus of twenty species within the family Primulaceae, which originates in the Mediterranean areas (Turkey, North Africa etc.). I had received my first hardy cyclamens from Sunshine Nurseries’ Barry Glick. There is something really fabulous about seeing a brilliant hot pink flower poking out of the dull brown ground when the skies are despondently cold and gray. I find it a tremendous pick me up in the short days of late fall and winter, especially in those deepest days right before the winter solstice. Also, it really does give you a sense of accomplishment to summon forth such a burst of happy color this time of year, whilst in the spring and summer it’s rather a tad redundant.
Covet, plant, and enjoy the Cyclamen in all their frivolous forms!
Do you feel that? It’s the chill you can’t get out of your bones as we slip into the grips of winter. After a bustling fall and bountiful harvest, our team and vines are ready to win(e)d down for a long winter slumber. But there’s no time to rest with all the activity happening at our farm year-round! Check out our recap of this fall and some of our plans for what promises to be an amazing winter season down at the farm!
If you missed out on the release of six new Estate wines this fall, winter is the perfect time to catch up! What’s better than cozying up next to the fireplace with your favorite glass of Cabernet, Merlot, or (my favorite) Chambourcin? The always popular Wilde Cock Prestige Gold has returned at long last, and this blend is sure to delight the senses and satisfy your desire for the perfect winter red. A blend of our 2015 Cabernet Sauvignon with 2012 Tempranillo from our farm friends in California, this wine truly deserves the “Gold.” Low in both sugar and acidity, our Gold is a spicy dry red with a deep color, aroma of berries, and flavor of tobacco, vanilla, and leather. To check out our current wine list, click HERE.
A Beautiful Fall Wedding Season
Nothing compares to the knowledge that you played a role in creating someone’s perfect “happily ever after,” and we are unbelievably blessed to have known that feeling many times the past fall. Read about the experience of one of our amazing couples, Danielle and Josh, here.
Are you in the process of planning your own celebration? Be sure to fill out our event inquiry form.
Christmas Time at the Farm
Our team worked extra hard this year to make our already beautiful winery a true sight to behold. Hours were spent decking the halls with garland and lights, and we enjoyed fresh Christmas trees, wreaths, and garland from the incredible farmers at our sister property, LeGates Farm Market in North Cape May. Our team took the holiday spirit to the streets by entering the West Cape May Community Christmas Parade and grooving along to Marvin Gaye’s “I Heard It Through The Grape Vine.” We later celebrated the season with our guests at our First Annual Fire Pit Friday Ugly Christmas Sweater Party on December 22nd.
“Sip & Shop Holiday Love Drive” and “Paws & Pinot”
This December, we celebrated our Fifth Annual Sip & Shop Holiday Love Drive and Third Annual Paws & Pinot. Together, the two events helped bring in nearly 2,000 items of food, pet supplies, and toys combined. These two events were a truly impressive example of the good that a united community can create. Thank you so much to everyone who reminded us of the reason for the season and helped us achieve such a successful result.
Our always popular Comedy UnCorked wine-paired dinner and comedy show series has returned and is sure to help you fend off the wintertime blues. The series runs once monthly, November-April, and features a three-course, wine-paired dinner and comedy show starring a different group of hilarious NY comedians each month. Tickets often sell out weeks in advance as this is an event not to miss!
Tickets are only $65 per person (dinner, wine, AND a show!!) and must be purchased in advance either online or by calling our winery at 609-770-8782 ext. 5.
Rated MA for Mature Audiences – Must be 21 years of age to attend. The easily offended should stay home for this event.
Fire Pit Friday is the only way to start a weekend in Cape May
Join us as we welcome some of the area’s most talented musicians performing live at the winery. Enjoy a wine tasting or glass of wine or sangria prior to taking a seat and ordering some of our delicious tapas while listening to incredible local performers. When you’re finished, grab a seat outside by the fire pit, and take in the vineyard sky above with all those that you love.
Live music is from 6pm-9pm inside the winery, and seats fill up very fast!
Reservations are strongly suggested for guaranteed indoor seating. Feeling spontaneous? You can also enjoy our (heated!) Outside Wine Bar, which features our full menu of wines and tapas as well as many specialty wine cocktails.
Winter Saturday Night Jazz
January 6th, 13th, and 27th (4pm-7pm)
Are you a jazz enthusiast? Spend your Saturday nights this winter with us, and relax to the cool sounds of jazz! Enjoy the wine, tapas and incredible vineyard views as you soak in the sun and the sound of the talented performers.
We are very excited to release our menu for the November dinner. As our Chef uses only the freshest ingredients to create delicious meals from scratch, our menus normally are not finalized until the week of the event to ensure the highest quality ingredients are incorporated. Dietary restrictions can certainly be accommodated if our team is notified at the time that the tickets are purchased.
Hey there all you wine enthusiasts! The fall season is now upon us, and boy did it come fast! Though the summer crowds have begun to die down, we’re still just as busy as ever with harvest and wedding season in full swing in addition to all of the wonderful guests that visit our farm and winery every single day. So now that summer has officially ended, what is there to look forward to enjoying with all our your friends here at Willow Creek this fall? Check out our recap of this past summer and some of our plans for what promises to be an amazing fall season down at the farm!
All summer long, our winemaker and cellar manager were working away in the our wine cellar (complete with a sign stating “Mad
Scientists Only.”) Well, their hard work certainly has paid off! This month alone, we’ve released six new Estate wines that we can’t wait to share with you. To check out our current wine list, click HERE. On a side note, if you didn’t have the chance to visit us over the summer, we’ve all introduced some fantastic new items to our tapas menu, which can be viewed HERE.
Mother Nature is a fickle friend to every farmer, and she certainly made this grow season tricky with the rain and high temperatures. As a result, our harvesting began quite early this year (about a month earlier than previous seasons) with our Pinot Noir, the thin-skinned “Prince” of our vineyard, being the first to go.
We have two additional harvest dates this week on Tuesday, September 26th & Wednesday, September 27th. For more details and to register, send us an email or contact the Winery at (609)770-8782 ext. 5.
With that being said, please note that due to Mother Nature’s unpredictability, this may be your last chance to volunteer this season. If you would like to be on the
email list for future pickings, please send us an email to WillowCreekWinery@gmail.com Subject: Grape Pickers.
ONE Spirit: Body, Mind, Spirit Fair
We are very excited to be working once again with ONE Spirit to host their Body, Mind, Spirit Fair here at our farm over Columbus Day Weekend on Saturday, October 7th & Sunday, October 8th 11am-5pm. ONE Spirit connects the community with gifted holistic health practitioners including experts in reiki, massage, astrology, Emotional Freedom Technique (EFT), meditation, and chakra balancing as well as bringing together vendors, artisans, andmusicians for dynamic, positive events for the entire family. Each day there will be free music, yoga and tai chi classes and a drum circle.
Learn how to wake-up your body’s own natural medical pharmacy and how to connect to a hidden world science has only recently uncovered at ONE SPIRIT
For more information, please contact Diane: 609.432.5644
To wrap up the bountiful season, we will be hosting our Harvest Ball on the evening of Saturday, November 18th. This is black tie (optional) four-course wine-paired dinner prepared by Master Chef Parker from the Southern Mansion of Cape May promises to be an exciting evening of wine, food, and the camaraderie that defines our Farm Family. All harvest volunteers who have participated in our weekly 3-hour grape picking sessions in September & October will receive one ticket for each session worked to attend the Harvest Ball. Keep an eye out for an announcement when tickets become available.
We are especially excited for the return of our Comedy UnCorked wine-paired dinner and comedy show series, the first show of which will be on Saturday, November 25th. The series runs once a month, November-April, and features a three-course, wine-paired dinner and comedy show starring a different group of hilarious NY comedians each month. This is an event not to miss!