Tag Archives: Vanco Tulip Farm

Tulip Time Tablescape

Living in Atlantic Canada, it’s not unheard of to still have snow in April. That’s one reason why I like to use springtime elements in my tablesettings beginning as early as possible – if I can’t see spring outside, I can at least create a spring zone in my dining room which is what I’ve done with this tablesetting.

Easter Tablesetting
Easter Tablesetting

I love paying a visit to the retail outlet at Vanco Farm greenhouses in Mount Albion, PEI, a short drive from Charlottetown. They grow fabulous tulips all winter long in their big greenhouses. If you haven’t already read the story I wrote about Vanco’s tulip-growing operation, click here.

Double Flowered Tulips
Double Flowered Tulips

Sometimes, I have a particular color scheme in mind when I make the drive to Vanco’s. Other times, however, I go with an open mind in search of a color or type of tulip that will inspire my creativity in developing a tablescape. This is what occurred with this tablesetting.

When I arrived at the greenhouses, they had these spectacular double flowered tulips in a coral pink shade with a soft ivory/pale yellow edge.  They resemble peonies because they are packed with layers of petals. They were too delightful to pass up so they became the focal point of this Easter tablesetting and inspired the color theme.

Double Flowered Tulips
Double Flowered Tulips

If you are a regular reader of my food blog, you will recall that I sometimes like to corral the elements of my tablescape into a container such as a basket or tray. This keeps the table clean and nondistracting. This is also a good choice if you plan on removing the centerpiece from the table during the meal and replacing it with a ham or turkey on a platter. It’s much easier to pick up one container off the table than several individual items.

Corralled Tablescape
Corralled Tablescape

What I have used today for the base of the centerpiece is actually a silver mirrored bathroom vanity tray — I’m a big fan of repurposing items I have around the house.

To keep the focus on the flowers, I have used a white milk glass vase. This conceals all the tulip stems so they are not competing for the eye’s attention and the colorful tulip blooms just pop above the white vase. The plain white vase also coordinates well with the dinnerware.

To add some interest to the centerpiece, I’ve also placed a bird’s nest on a small companion piece of white milk glass and added a small Easter figurine. Adding elements that connect and enhance each other is a trademark of effective tablescape creations.

The little bunnies, like the one in the photo below, are actually egg cups but I use them to hold decorative eggs, small chocolate bars, or even flowers in tablesettings other than those prepared for breakfast.

Easter Bunny Eggcups
Easter Bunny Eggcups

If desired, add some colorful Easter eggs casually strewn about the table to complete the seasonal tablescape.

Easter Tablesetting
Easter Tablesetting

If you can only afford one set of dinnerware, I recommend buying plain white in the best quality you can afford. White is so completely versatile. I maintain you can’t set a poor looking table if you go with white dishes! There are so many styles, shapes, textures, and colors of white dinnerware. There are blue whites, grey whites, beige whites, and brilliant whites. I have three sets of white dishes and none of them are the same shade or made of the same material. The ones in this tablesetting are made of porcelain and are a contemporary design.

White Dinnerware
White Dinnerware

With white dinnerware, it can be paired with solid or patterned colors for table linens and the look is easily changed completely, sometimes by simply switching up the charger plates. And, the best part of white dishes is that food looks really appetizing against the white background. In today’s setting, I have used basic pale pink/mauve charger plates to frame each placesetting and to give the air of a well set table.

For glassware, I have chosen some pieces of cut glass to add some sparkle to the table.

I rarely use paper napkins in a tablesetting. However, these matched perfectly so I used them for that reason and also because they are stiff enough to be able to stand in the design I have chosen for them. Cloth napkins, particularly my large dinner napkins, would have been unlikely to have had the same effect.

Because this is a casual tablesetting, I have opted to place the mugs atop the plates, allowing them to form a leaning post for the napkins. This gives a great pop of color to the white placesettings and also keeps each placesetting clean and simple. This is a casual tablesetting so it works. I would not, however, choose this arrangement if I was setting a very formal table.

The only table linen I have chosen to use in this setting is a short runner made of handmade Belgian lace that I brought home from a visit to Bruges. Using minimal linen on the table keeps the look airy and casual.

For other Easter and springtime tablescape inspiration, click on the links below:

Tulip Clusters Springtime Tablescape
Tip Toe Through the Tulips Easter Tablesetting
Springtime Yellow Tablescape
Peter Cottontail Tablesetting for Easter
Easter Tablesetting
A Casual Tablescape for Easter Brunch

 

Tulip Clusters Springtime Tablescape

If you are looking for a tablesetting that is casual and contemporary, consider using single flowers in individual vases as opposed to the traditional floral centerpiece. This is an easy-to-do tablescape for anyone, even those who are not knacky with floral design. If you can fill a vase with water and place a flower in it, you can do this tablescape!

Springtime Tablescape
Springtime Tablescape
Vases

White milk glass has seen a resurgence in popularity in recent years and remains, at time of writing, quite trendy.  It’s clean, unobtrusive, and nondistracting on the table. One of the things I like best about milk glass is that it’s opaque meaning the flower stems are not visible. The other great thing about milk glass is that it’s inexpensive and often available at thrift shops for very little money. In addition, it’s easy to mix and match milk glass shapes, sizes, and textures and still have the tablescape work and look aesthetically pleasing.

In this setting, I have used a mixture of heights and designs of milk glass bud vases because this makes for a more interesting tablescape design. Always opt for an odd number of vases versus even numbers as this is more pleasing to the eye.

Milk Glass Vases
Milk Glass Vases
Positioning of Vases

The vases can be interspersed along the center of the table as shown in the photo above.

Or, as demonstrated in the following photo, they can be grouped into clusters of two and three and strategically placed in the center of the table.

Clustered Bud Vases
Clustered Bud Vases

The vases can also all be clustered close together in the center for a real concentrated burst of color making this a very versatile style of tablescape.

With this type of tablescape, it’s easy to adjust the number of vases according to the size of the table. For example, if the table seats 12 or 16, add more clusters of vases here and there down the length of the table.

Springtime Tablesetting
Springtime Tablesetting
Flowers and Greenery

I have chosen tulips for this design because it’s springtime and I love tulips! However, any single bloom flowers will work – roses, Gerbers, daisies, carnations, etc.  Two blooms can be added in one or two of the vases but try to keep the whole setting informal, simplistic, and not too contrived or equally balanced. It’s also attractive if the heights of the tulips are varied, too.

Setting the Springtime Table
Setting the Springtime Table

To add more interest and some visual weight to the look, I have added a small sprig of salal to a couple of the vases, but not them all. Adding salal to every vase is starting to cross over into the zone of trying to have every vase identical. Also, adding some wispy bear grass adds texture and interest so long as not too much is added.

The tulips were greenhouse-grown here on Prince Edward Island at Vanco Farms in Mount Albion. Click here to read the story I wrote a few years ago on their tulip production.

For unity, I recommend going with all one color of flower for all the vases as it’s less distracting to the eye and looks more coordinated.

Tulips
Tulips
Table Linens

In modern, contemporary and casual tablesettings, it’s very common to forego tablecloths and, as shown in this setting, to let the wood of the table be visible. It gives a lighter, more airy, and less fussy look to the table than if a full tablecloth was used. I have opted to use basic white placemats simply to “ground” each individual placesetting.

Placesetting
Placesetting

I’m a big fan of high-quality plain white napkins because they go with almost anything. In this setting, I have chosen the pure elegance napkin fold and placed it in the center of each plate. Because the top plate in the setting is patterned, the plain white napkin keeps the setting more simplistic and less distracting than if a patterned napkin was used. This napkin fold dresses up the setting, giving it a wee bit of height. Placing the napkin on the plate keeps each place setting neat and tidy.

"Pure Elegance" Napkin Fold
“Pure Elegance” Napkin Fold
Dinnerware

I advocate for the use of white dinnerware because it shows food to its best. However, I also like to set a pretty table with my formal Royal Albert “Lavender Rose” china.  But, sometimes, the china can be a bit formal for the occasion. In these situations, I pair pieces of my china with my white porcelain everyday dinnerware as I have done here.

Royal Albert "Lavender Rose" Pattern
Royal Albert “Lavender Rose” Pattern

Pale pink charger plates have been used to frame each setting topped with the white dinner plate and then the Lavender Rose salad plate on top. This salad plate gives color to the setting and the colors match the tulips. By mixing the plain white with the patterned china, it makes for a more interesting setting without becoming overly formal.

Glassware

The wine glasses I have selected for this setting are quite tall. They have a simple sleek shape, almost reminiscent of the tulip shape. These work well with a contemporary/modern tablesetting.

Tulips
Tulips
Flatware

Because I have gone with a more casual contemporary look for this setting, I have used a simple design of flatware. I have not included the dessert fork and spoon because those can be placed on the table along with the dessert course. Foregoing them in the initial setting helps to keep the look of the table clean and simple, particularly when there are five vases as opposed to one single floral centerpiece.

I hope you have enjoyed viewing this springtime tablesetting! It’s great to see bright cheery colors after a long winter!

For other springtime and Easter tablesettings, click on the following links:

Tip Toe Through the Tulips Easter Tablesetting
Springtime Yellow Tablescape
Peter Cottontail Tablesetting for Easter
Easter Tablesetting
A Casual Tablescape for Easter Brunch

Springtime Tablescape
Springtime Tablescape
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St. Patrick’s Day Afternoon Tea

Happy St. Patrick’s Day, everyone!  Today, I am sharing photos from my St. Patrick’s Day Afternoon Tea.

St. Patrick's Day Afternoon Tea Setting
St. Patrick’s Day Afternoon Tea Setting

I love this little square tablecloth and matching napkins.  I bought them some years ago at the Blarney Castle on a visit to Ireland.  It has been a tradition since to display this cloth on St. Patrick’s Day and it always evokes great memories of my visit to the Emerald Isle.

Of course, it’s also a time for me to bring out my small collection of Irish-themed dishes.

The tea offering from the teapot was English Afternoon Tea.

My choice of tea table flowers centered around the colors in the Irish flag – the green mums and Bells of Ireland, the orange roses, and the white tulips which, of course, came from our local PEI tulip growers – Vanco Tulip Farm in Mt. Albion, PEI.

I love these Canadian “loonie” chocolate coins!

On the tea tray menu – Currant scones with homemade raspberry jam, chocolate cupcakes (flavored with a bit of Irish stout, filled with whiskey-flavored chocolate ganache, and frosted with Bailey’s Irish Cream-flavoured icing), and chocolate drop cookies.  The cookies are my March 2013 Cookie of the Month.

These scones are delicately rich!

And, my seedless raspberry jam only makes them that much more delectable!

And, of course, there would have to be a green beverage on the table.

The scones may have been good but the cupcakes were the “icing on the cake”, so to speak!

I like the white and milk chocolate swirled chips in these chocolate drop cookies.

 

The green color always makes for a bright, colorful, and cheery table!

I hope you have enjoyed a glimpse into my version of an afternoon tea to celebrate St. Patrick’s Day.   I’ll leave you with this Irish blessing:

May you always have walls for the winds,
a roof for the rain, tea beside the fire,
laughter to cheer you, those you love near you,
and all your heart might desire.

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