Green is the go-to color inspiration when creating a St. Patrick’s Day celebration. Naturally.
So when I saw that North Fork, micro-green grower, Koppert Cress, was offering green, edible orchids, I was immediately smitten. Who can resist orchids? (By the way - I surely hope you’ve visited the outstanding NYBG Orchid Show this year with its dazzling homage to Singapore.)
I can almost see a lot of you scratching your heads -- edible orchids? Yes, indeed. While our beloved vanilla comes from the orchid plant (Vanilla planifolia) - there are so many edible orchid blooms. Recently, at a post-theater tiki cocktail hour indulgence with garden design client and family, I popped the orchid garnish in my mouth - to an astonished, “oh no!” response. I assured them it’s all quite healthy and luxuriously delicious…
So when I saw the green orchids in an email (while on vacation) - I had a swoon-worthy moment of inspiration for a green tablescape for St. Patrick’s Day.
Yessss - these green beauties would not only elevate the elegance element - I could help “educate” others to the orchids’ edible prowess. As if just being beautiful wasn’t enough! Ha.
Even from our beach retreat - I was conjuring the tablescape design.
Surely, this was indeed a bit of good luck already…
For those of you who follow me regularly, you know i don’t like to use all-too-common St. Patrick’s day tropes (those rather cartoonish characters that unwittingly denigrate the rich history of Ireland). I rather choose to celebrate the culture - especially the great Irish writers, builders/architects, and gardeners and horticulturists.
Last year, I designed the tablescape to honor great Irish women writers.
This year I was channeling the magic and fairies of Irish legend and lore. Maybe because I just want to be enchanted more in this increasingly dystopian society -- and/or maybe because while we were away, I finally finished reading my friend Frank Vizard’s just-published novel, Screamer - that weaves Irish mystery, (a banshee!), along with history and legend into its adventure. (Get this book!)
So now I had an idea and a theme - a story to tell - for the tablescape design. This is what distinguishes and elevates the art of the tablescape from merely pretty.
Now it was time to get it all placed to great effect.
In a break from my usual desire to show the beautiful wood of our antique dining table, this holiday I determined that wearin’ a bit of the green should include the table, too. I used a forest green tablecloth, topped with a sparkly, shamrock-strewn fabric I spotted at Joanne’s when shopping for the Valentine’s Day table decor. This could serve as a kind of table runner.
(Did you know that there are “millions of hue variations on green that the typical human eye can perceive”?) You can feel free to mix and match more than a few shades or hues of this most popular color.
Plus, with the Spring Equinox on March 20th, the green look (minus the shamrocks) will take you through a Spring Tablescape till we get to Easter/Passover/Ramadan.
With the foundation in place, I placed green glass plates in between the Lenox Trianna blush bowl and gold accents. Green trellis napkins and gold napkin rings picked up on the color balance and texture.
To my eye, lots of detail adds delight and surprise to a well-designed table meant for entertaining. And for St. Patrick’s Day - that means lots of crystal, “precious” metals, and - whimsy.
I have a favorite Danish store on Broadway, Flying Tiger, where I peruse the aisles for items I can use - along with my home inventory -- and all are essentially re-purposed. Meaning, the items are not intended for a table design. The creativity of the artful tablescape design pursuit comes into play when you determine what things can be used in a way that helps tell an entertaining tabletop tale.
For example, I purchased two purple-colored magic Eight Balls -- that in a nod to serendipity - matched the center of the orchids! The magic Query balls will be fun for us and guests to ask “searing” life questions as part of our dinner conversations… wink, wink.
I determined that I wanted to float those gorgeous green orchids. Hmmm - how to do it in a more embellished fashion? It came to me. Place the water-filled Waterford bowl with some green glitter beads - that I placed on another serving glass dish rimmed with green moss - and lit the bowl with immersible lights so that at night the orchids “glow.”
Now is the time to bring out those garden sprites!
I also selected shamrock chocolates, Louis Sherry premium chocolate tins,
and the oxalis, shamrock or “love” plants -- it’s actually a wood sorrel - at our favorite, Sickles Market.
The plants look charming in my light green orchid chinoiserie planters -- (more shades of green with a nod back to the green plates.)
I bought the jade green hearts at a new boutique, Oyster General that opened last month.
The “emerald gems” and soft green mini dishes and bowls are from Flying Tiger (the bowls and plates are actually Japanese matcha servers).
This year again, in a kind of whimsical yet respectful ode to a part of Irish history - I placed a potato in each of the little green bowls next to the place settings. The spud color also complements the orchid and magic balls. (You do know that Peru gifted the world potatoes, right? Thousands of spud varieties. Love those purple beauties. And when I worked in Ecuador for a number of Januarys - the highway to and from the airport to the sierra up to Hacienda Cusin was filled with trucks carrying potatoes to export.)
The ornate silver cups and crown musical boxes are decorative accessories that call to mind castles and knights. Use mirrors under any number of items to amplify the look. On a couple of the mirrors I spray-painted gold -- because, well - you can never have too much glitter.
I also sprinkled green glitter on the tablecloth as the last addition to glam it up.
I used the cups to discreetly “hide” battery-operated lights for the evening dinner table’s entertaining glow.
And the glow from under the orchids is so lovely.
Supermarket florals work just fine for this design. I like the bright green of the mini-mums and the hypericum - these darlings are a long-lasting work-horse - and add so much depth to a floral design. I used them on the table - in a vase and in the unicorn vases. The green fish glass accessories honor Ireland’s abundant coastline and fishing)
And the cut flowers are also on the cocktail tables in our garden room and in the hallway welcome entrance. I also love the sparkly, green-glitter books - a reference to Irish writers. And guests can sign!
The place card holders are green garden topiaries that I use often and work very well here.
I also added a few green glass pieces to the table and green beads scattered about.
I purchased two gold glitter tubes to use - laid on their sides - and added my purple magic wand! I can better cast a spell for my guests and Bill. (love :)
I used our wedding crystal wine glasses for an appetizer of green and purple salad greens -- an elevated, tasty treat.
Day or evening, the Green Tablescape is now a lovely delight.
I hope you enjoyed the creation process as much as I did. Here’s a few video tours for you.
Happy St. Patrick’s Day! Sláinte! Now it’s time to whip up some special green cocktails.
Shop the site. (links provided)
Thank you for allowing me to share a glamorous, green tablescape -- as the art of entertaining..