“In summer, the song sings itself.” William Carlos Williams
“Lone and erect, beneath light’s primal flood,
A lily! and pure as any one of you.”
The inspiration for this luncheon table was this stunning oriental lily, ‘Corvara’, which had just opened in my garden.I anticipated its arrival for weeks and postponed a vacation just so I could be home to enjoy it while it bloomed. That is how magnificent this flower really is! This hot pink lily with a mesmerizing fragrance is often called the Royal Lily. It is religiously symbolic with godliness. And it’s no wonder, it is a perfect creation! Did I mention its heavenly fragrance?
To set this table I chose to set up a round table under the pergola and near the cool wall fountain for the pleasant sound of the water on a sweltering hot day. I floated clematis, echinacea and black eyed susans in the fountain. I double draped the table with white on white embroidered tablecloths to create an illusion of coolness.Black wicker chairs with bold black and white striped cushions complimented the china.At each place setting I used a fuchsia napkin on an angle as a placemat for a punch of color to play up the hot pink of the lily. The lily was placed inside a towering black wire bird topiary cage, borrowed from my kitchen window sill. I wanted the majestic lily to stand alone and shine in all its glory. Two bird shaped green candle holders flanked the lily and brought a note of green to the table. A pink paperweight and an art glass bowl of cherries continued the pink theme and introduced reflective surfaces to make the dappled light dance around the table. Double napkins, a fuchsia one layered with a lace edged white one tucked inside, were tied with a clematis vine. A round black plate served as charger. Next I stacked a square white plate, on an angle. The pièce de résistance was the fun black spotted accent plate with a hot pink clematis on top. In lieu of place cards as this was an intimate table set for 2, I wrote garden quotes in pink marker on white cardstock and placed one at each place in silver teapot card holders. A trio of mismatched glassware completed the table setting. Don’t be afraid of bringing crystal glassware and good china outside~ it will make your guests feel really special. The tall champagne flutes were filled with, you guessed it, pink bubbly! With a sizzling hot day I went with a no heat menu. The starter was a chilled summer berry borscht, served in an antique coupe etched with a botanical motif. A perfect start to a girlfriend lunch in the garden. Then an assortment of store made sushi was served to go with the oriental lily theme.
CHILLED SUMMER BERRY BORSCHT
Makes 4 1-cup servings or 2 larger servings
8 oz of cooked red beets, peeled and roughly chopped
8 oz plain or lemon yogurt
6 oz frozen strawberries
2 T of diced red onion
juice of 1 lemon salt and pepper to taste
“To sit in the shade on a fine day and look upon verdure is the perfect refreshment.” Jane Austen