I wear my heart on my sleeve. It’s no secret that I love, love, love peonies.
They are my favorite flower. (Don’t tell the viburnum or the hydrangea, nor the casablanca lily, or…)
I grow a variety of deciduous and itoh peonies ~ Paeonia Itoh ‘Julia Rose.”
My heart does skip an extra beat for ranunculus ~ I’m even growing them this year, for the first time. We’ll see how this turns out.
I find the papery-thin, voluminous, petticoat-like blossoms of the ranunculus and the peony, similar in a romantic, seductive way that is just so heart-clutching. Turns out they are genus cousins, if you will; part of the same taxonomy family.
But the fragrance of the peony makes it the luxurious, glamour-girl of the garden.
That it is also a symbol of peace makes this beauty the perfect star of my recent tablescape. Now that the peonies have been in full-bloom in the garden, I hope this lovely table decor, brimming with peace and love, inspires you …
Give Peace a Chance
My May tablescape design was tasked with a kind of “double-duty” ~ meaning I wanted it as an appropriate homage for my Ladies Who Lunch Conversations that featured Marlena Santoyo, a director from the Women’s League for Peace and Freedom (WILPF) and Mother’s Day. I very much wanted to emphasize the need to focus on peace. And love…
I knew from previous writings that at every peace accord signing and peace treaty negotiations, the flowers for the tables were chosen with great care as to the meaning of the flowers; their significance.
The language of flowers has long been an expression of the range of emotions from love to healing to purity to modesty to joy to wealth, knowledge.
Think about the laurel leaves worn on the crowns of the early Olympians and how poppies became the symbol for the end of the first World War, and the Forget-Me-Not for wounded veterans; Rosemary for remembrance. There are so many more intriguing, enchanting flower symbolisms.
If you’ve ever wondered about the meaning of flowers, you’ll be fascinated to learn their special stories. You can enhance your next floral gift with an extra meaning and expression of sentiment…
Peony as Peace Symbol
When I again researched floral symbols for peace, I was overjoyed to learn that the meaning of the peony is symbolic of meanings both mythological and historical, including new beginnings and compassion.
It is said the peony is named after the physician of the gods and is a testament to the plant’s healing qualities, because the peony’s roots, seeds, and flowers were frequently used in medicine.
One myth claims that the flower is named after the Greek physician of the gods, Paeon. Paeon, a student of Aesculapius (who is the god of medicine), used a peony root to heal Pluto.
I don’t know about this or another myth of peony’s tied to a nymph. After all, the peony is native to China. Nevertheless, I like the stories.
Moreover, from its heritage, the peony has long symbolized peace and prosperity.
They had me at romance…
You know I always look to tell a story with my tablescape designs and with peace, love, and romance as the overarching theme, I couldn’t go wrong.
Plus, peonies, peonies, and more peonies was the pretty-in-pink ~ and white ~ star.
I had peonies from my garden and would add copious blooms from my florist.
When I saw the luscious peony placements from Hestor & Cook in a magazine, I knew it was a perfect background accessory.
I believe that the key to an extraordinary tablescape story design is layering. Layering is the important design principle upon which a good table decor design is created.
The color theme for the Peony and Peace and Love table was shades of pink; gold, white, and green.
I started with a pink linen table runner from Williams & Sonoma.
I used my (battery operated) string lights that I’d previously wrapped with pink florals and gold ribbon.
You can tuck the battery cassette control element into or under a table accessory.
I built up the look with gold chargers I recently acquired from an estate sale.
I used a favorite table settings from Lenox ~ the pink Trianna Blush collection and used the gold cutlery I purchased not so long ago on Etsy.
I love the crisp, smart look of classic linen for the tablescape. Here, I used the Williams & Sonoma pink double hemstitch napkins.
I recommend you choose your napkin placement to complement the table decor. For example, with this tablescape look, I placed the napkin on top of the layered tableware and fanned it out, using the bejweled pink dragonfly as the napkin ring for added drama and eye appeal. In other designs, I’ve pleated the napkin; in others, I’ve added a holiday token such as Easter’s egg tucked into a napkin fold. For other designs I’ve put the napkin under the bottom plate with the color and stitching draped over the edge.
Think about your napkin placement ~ it’s often the top layer of the place setting. Further, after each dinner or lunch party, of course I need to wash the napkins but I also iron them after each use ~ spritzing each napkin with my homemade starch made with cornstarch and homegrown lavender. The lavender spray helps retain that traditional, tailored look and a subtle, sweet fragrance.
I added in the Williams & Sonoma pink glasses as water glasses, along with the red and gold Italian wine glasses. The color shadings of the glasses amplified the color of the peony blooms.
It was such a romantic fantasy shaping up that I couldn’t help but include my gold Cinderella coach ~ with tea lights inside for a dreamy effect at night.
I layered in a few whimsical pieces ~ every good table design should feature at least a few ~ and here I used my glass, pink flamingos. (They are the stems of martini glasses that broke in the shipment, but I figured I could repurpose these beautiful birds. And it works!)
Elevated entertaining at home should include Place Cards, where you hand-write the names on cards indicating their seating. Your guests will feel more welcomed with this added touch of hospitality. Plus, you can arrange the table seating to spark and maximize the table conversations between seated guests. A listener next to a talker is a good combo (smile). And Lefties (as in left-handed ~ not a political bent. And as for political conversations while dining? I leave that up to you. Do you ban any political discussion or breed it?)
As if the courtesy of the Place Cards isn’t reason enough to employ them, I just love all the different designs ~ there are ones for every occasion and passion, including flowers, pineapples, stripes, and colors and more. Use them as a table accessory.
Here, I used the blowsy, pink French Tulip Place Cards.
As an added, special touch, you can print up your menu and share at each guest’s place setting. I use Canva to create designs and feature my curated menus. Plus, I find the guests like to take the menus home as a lovely memory celebrating our meal together…
I also want to share with you a pretty and tasty hostess drink I made for our Mother’s Day dinner party.
I made hibiscus tea; added to champagne, and floated a few dried hibiscus flowers for a pretty garden-to-glass treat. I source the spice blossoms from our friend Lior ~ from his La Boite Voyager Collection that he created with chef Eric Ripert.
I hope you enjoy the beauty and charm of this seasonal table design~honoring peace, love, and nature’s blossoms. If I can answer any questions or provide you with more information, don’t hesitate to ask me. Here's a quick video tour of the tablescape design: