Every year in late June, the countryside in Prince Edward Island is blooming with the wild lupines that grow in a vast array of colors.
Lupines usher in summer on the Island as their blooms are one of the first signs of the season’s arrival. They don’t have a long season in which to bloom and they don’t last long but they range in shades of purples, pinks, white, salmon, yellow, white, and varigated.
Somewhere around the 20-25th of June is typically when they are in full bloom and at their best.
From the time I was a small child, I was in love with these tall elegant flowers. I loved to pick baskets of them and they are so easy to arrange.
On the south side of the Island, the deep purple tends to be the predominant color although other shades as they have on the north side are starting to take hold. The field in the photo below is beside my mother’s house.
About 25 years ago, I picked huge amounts of seed pods in shades of pink, shelled them (clearly I did not have enough to do at the time!) and threw them out alongside the road to the cottage. They take a long time to take root but, every year, we have more and more bunches of them growing, albeit they are mostly in the purple shades. From time to time, I will buy a few packages of seeds in other colors and plant them where there are none currently growing.
You might even find a lighthouse on PEI that is surrounded by lupines.
Today, I am featuring these glorious long-stemmed beauties in a tablesetting. I simply clipped some of these wildflowers along the roadside by my mother’s home for a pretty casual arrangement.
Summer tends to mean more casual dining and it’s fun to move the dinner party outside to the front verandah or porch or the back deck. Lupines are perfect for a casual al fresco dining event. I used small jars decorated with a bit of lace and rafia and, of course, used an odd number of jars for aesthetic purposes.
The great thing about having individual bouquets like these is that they can easily be re-positioned or clustered into different formats. Here, I have used them equally spaced in a single row along the center of the table. No need to fuss much with arranging these flowers – they are stately enough on their own that they seem to just almost automatically fall into pleasing designs and take on a personality of their own.
When I want color to pop on my table and attention to be drawn to the tablesetting’s focal point which, in this case, would be the colorful lupines, I start with a plain white tablecloth as a blank canvas. Colors always pop on white backgrounds and white provides a non-distracting background. I have several old white linen tablecloths that have been in the family for years and I make good use of them. I am noticing that many second-hand shops will often have some old vintage white linen tablecloths so they are available.
I can’t take credit for crafting these glass vases – they came from a local dollar store. I make great use of dollar stores and thrift/second hand shops for a lot of the props for my tablesettings. I interspersed little purple votives throughout the tablescape to coordinate with the color scheme.
The lupine napkins shown in the photo below coordinate with the lupine theme. Knowing that, if I tried to form them into a napkin fold, I would lose the pretty lupine design, I simply laid one over each plate. That’s the beauty of using simple, crisp white plates – they form a great clean canvas for other decorative (and useful) elements of a tablesetting.
When dining outside, contending with the weather elements can always be a challenge and, on PEI and living near the water, summer breeze is a common factor. Using the cutlery to hold the napkin in place does double duty: It secures the napkin and also lends a casual look and feel to the placesetting. Al fresco dining is meant to be casual so go ahead and break the rules of formal tablesettings!
While lupines grow wild on the Island, many visitors like to take home packages of the lupine seeds to plant in their gardens. These colorful seed packages make a nice take-home gift for guests at an early summer dinner.
The sparkle and shine of glass that has lots of cuts adds to a table on a bright summer’s day. Glass will always add a light and airy look to a tablescape.
I hope you have enjoyed a glimpse into my al fresco tablesetting that features the famous lupines of Prince Edward Island.