Sunday, June 11, 2017

The April Garden

The garden has gone through a rough period the past few years.  We suffered through the hottest summer ever in North Georgia. We saw the return of the drought, and with it strict water use guidelines. Since I wasn't keen on trying to water after midnight with a flashlight, the garden pretty much depended on rainfall.

Perhaps I should describe our garden. Our yard is blessed with a large number of hardwood trees towering 60 feet or more. We were able to keep them when we built the house 20 years ago, but have seen about a dozen succumb to construction trauma and drought. Perennials and flowering shrubs are interspersed among the trees and in front of the house, which is the only planted location with half-to-full-day sun.

These intrepid flowers made their appearance in April.

My favorite bearded irises, Iris germanica, which you saw as a centerpiece in this tablescape. That post shows their true color. These have fared well, spreading in the few sunny spots.



These grace the steps by the side door.


The camellia in the background bloomed the month before.


 Siberian irises, Iris sibirica, have less prominent falls and standards. They anchor the island in front.



Flowers have fallen from what we've always called a tulip tree, Liriodendron tulipifera, which is related to magnolias. Some call them poplars or yellow poplars.


I'm not sure what I'm going to do with these ice plants, Delosperma cooperi, which insist on leaving the garden bed and colonizing the driveway!


Solomon's Seal, Polygonatum odoratum 'Variegatum', is spreading nicely. I like how the variegation brightens the dark shade under the trees in later months. Their flowers are barely visible; there's a closeup in the second picture.



The only peony that has bloomed so far: Peony 'Festiva Maxima' .


Thanks for visiting the garden!



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Tuesday, June 6, 2017

For the Triple Crown

I love going to horse races. I loved spending saturdays at River Downs, where my favorite place to be was always at the finish line. To hear and see and feel magnificent thoroughbreds thunder past me is unforgettable. I never cared who won, it was the races themselves that were exciting.


The third race of the Triple Crown will be held this weekend. Horse racing's Triple Crown consists of three iconic races: the Kentucky Derby, the Preakness Stakes and the Belmont Stakes. In one hundred years, there have only been twelve horses able to win all three. I was happily glued to the TV for the last four winners! (Secretariat is still my favorite. . .)


The inspiration for this week's tablescape was a set of carved wooden horses G gave me last year.
Four of them adorn the corners of white-washed wood placemats, chosen to evoke stables.


Look closely - you might realize these placemats are made of craft paper! Green luncheon plates, that were first seen here, remind me of the turf found at some race courses.


Napkins are tied with leather cording, square-edged like the leather strapping used in bridles.


Cut crystal glassware is a nod to the "official drinks" associated with each of the races.


Since I do not have three similarly sized vases for the centerpiece, I used cut crystal iced tea glasses, each holding silk flowers of a single type. They were placed on a silverplate tray, because, after all, horse racing is the sport of kings! (And the winning trophies are made of silver.)


The tradition at the Triple Crown races is to place a blanket made of flowers on the winning horse. Each of the vases holds the flower of one of the races. Red roses for the Kentucky Derby. . .




black-eyed Susans for the Preakness. . .



and white carnations for the Belmont Stakes.

 

I hope you enjoy the excitement of the Triple Crown!


Thank you for stopping by!


Resources
Plates | Bordallo Pinheiro
Iced tea glasses | Godinger 'Palm'
Napkins | Sur La Table
Craft supplies | Michael's

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Friday, May 26, 2017

Late Spring with Toulouse

Spring has returned, with clear blue skies and wonderful breezes. It chased summer away with thunderstorms and rains for days. But I don't mind - I much prefer spring! (This northern transplant has yet to get used to southern summers...even after all these years!)

And so I bring you another spring-themed table.
I love dishes that reflect spring -- either through their use of spring colors or spring delights. As you may have realized, I also have a "thing" for designs featuring birds.
The two come together in these 'Toulouse' plates -- aren't they wonderful? Birds and nests and new leaves and butterflies!
The luncheon-sized plates sit atop the green glass chargers I've been using throughout April and May. (Sorry for the glare - I had to light the chandelier because it was raining when I took the pictures.)
To emphasize the new greens of spring, I used pretty green goblets (first seen here). And I couldn't resist adding the vintage stemware for aperitifs.
Birds have alighted and they...
and their nests serve as the centerpiece.
Understated metal rings hold damask napkins in a paler shade of blue.
I wanted to keep the table bare to let the wood serve as a natural underlayment.
I continued with the hand-crafted salt cellars I found at the American Craft Council show, representing curled leaves with twigs for spoons.
A few months ago, I stumbled across this vintage salt and pepper set and knew it would go with any of my nature-themed plates.
I like to coordinate the look of the buffet with the dining table, so I gathered spring-blooming silk flowers there.
I think this will be the perfect setting for a weekend lunch, whatever the weather outside!
Perhaps you could join us!

Resources
Chargers | Villeroy & Boch
Luncheon plates, centerpiece | Fitz & Floyd 'Toulouse'
Aperitif stems |  Fostoria 'June'
Silverware | Reed & Barton 'Eighteenth Century'
Napkin rings | Lenox 'Chirp'
Napkins | Waterford

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Friday, May 5, 2017

A Celebration Delayed

Essays and lab reports due. Study group dates intricately planned and coordinated. Finals looming!

They all conspired to delay daughter J's birthday celebration. An auspicious evening for it finally arrived this week.

We kept it low-key at her request, but still included all the trappings of our family traditions, which my parents had begun. The person of honor gets to choose the menu, and we always use fine tableware.


The cake set the theme for dinner -- sunflowers and purple, J's favorite flower and color.


Gold placemats and gold-rimmed plates repeat the sunny shades of the sunflowers that star on the cake and in the centerpiece.


Napkins of lavender and amethyst wine goblets, both seen here, and a gorgeous variety of flowers bring shades of purple to the table.



Under the dining room chandelier, the flowers took on a pink cast although they were lavender through violet to magenta. It was closing in on sunset and I had trouble getting true to life colors in the photos. Blue flowers, and purples with blue undertones, are notoriously difficult to photograph. 


Purple and clear glass candle holders continue the theme.



Why didn't I use my lovely Spring Violets plates for the purple theme? Vintage china pieces are often not nearly as large as contemporary plates and wouldn't accommodate the entree as well.  Daughter J had requested steaks with a delicious sauce G found in a Bobby Flay cook book, scalloped potatoes and "something green."



I'm so glad you could join us! I'd love to hear about your birthday traditions.

Resources

Plates | Noritake 'Lamarre', used in January
Silverware | Reed & Barton 'Eighteenth Century'
Wine goblets | Fostoria 'Classic'
Candle holders | Rogaska 'Weston'
Napkins | Lenox 'French Perle'

Inspiration can be found at:

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