The First ” Somewhat” Spring Dinner of the Season!

I have longed for spring and finally we have had a couple of days of warmth which has inspired me to have my first dinner of the spring season. But while I may have seen a lone robin or two and one day the temperature actually zoomed to 78 degrees we have nothing blooming at Weatherstone as yet. The daffodils are showing about three inches of leaf and the tulips have just peeked above ground. So I went to the flower market to “buy” some spring. I purchased flowers that are actually in the grounds of Weatherstone and will hopefully be showing their beautiful faces in the next month. So inspiration struck when I saw hellebores in the market. My hellebores are just staring to unfurl but were not quite ready for the table. I mixed hyacinth, thistle, tulips, under a canopy of cherry blossoms and then added pansy plants in little pots de creme cups and miniature faux Kangxi pots. We served hot asparagus soup, veal with morels and cream, and a chocolate mousse infused with Grand Marnier.



I wanted my bold spring flowers in a bright violet, hellebores in a strong celadon and a marvelous deep red violet to contrast with the soft pink of the cherry blossoms.


Of course my ubiquitous blue and white works with all of these colors.


I love the odd coloring of hellebores and think their coloring adds a level of sophistication to the clearer colors. The smokey blue grey of the thistle works as a lovely foil as well.


I adore pansies!  While strolling the aisles of Rungis, the wholesale flower market just outside Paris, years ago  I discovered that those stylish and clever French used them as cut flowers. How beautifully chic these amazing flowers are bunched into little nosegays. On this table I took the actual plant and potted them in antique pots de creme cups. Pansies will be my next subject to capture in watercolor; the rich variety of  color and the unique markings of their faces is so inspiring.



A top side view of the flowers and how the colors mix together. All of these colors would be just as beautiful with celadon or white porcelain as well.


I always add some silver elements, the pepper mill in this case, to my dressier tables as the sparkle adds a certain magic. It has the similar effect of a lady wearing diamond earrings




34 thoughts on “The First ” Somewhat” Spring Dinner of the Season!

  1. Very, very beautiful. Just love the pop of colour against the traditional blue and white!

  2. How exquisite and beautiful! I’ll never be able to have anything this gorgeous, but looking at your photos makes it all possible in my mind’s eye. Thank you.

  3. Perfection. I remember being treated to a glimpse of your home and creativity. There were sunflowers in a room that looked unbelievable and I clumsily asked if they were real! Being able to elevate the beauty of a flower is pure talent. Love your pictures.

  4. Stunning, as usual. You are going to LOVE the south. The Helleborus starts to bloom just after Christmas and the Pansies are planted in Oct. and last ALL WINTER!!! That is not to mention the Camellias that bloom all winter.

  5. TRULY BREATHTAKING!!!! You are an extraordinary talented individual. Your work is so inspiring.
    It’s so refreshing to have someone to mentor. Your work reminds us all that one cannot live without
    With much appreciation for sharing your many talents.
    Donna Chappel

  6. Lovely! I so agree with you about the silver elements and what they add to the table…. and love the blue and white, of course! Can’t see the china pattern because of the napkin, but it reminds me of one of my mother’s favorites: Blue Fitzhugh.

    Cheers, Liz

  7. Heleborus are one of my favorites. Your table looks gorgeous, as always. Thank you, Carolyne, for the pictures.

  8. Driving over the Willamette River last night, my husband remarked on the colors of the new chartreuse deciduous leaves among the pine against the glorious range of blues in our rain washed sky. Add the pinks of the flowering trees and you have presented our palette on one abundant table top. My favorite details are your use of the thistle to repeat the pattern on your vase and the addition of the thistle to the cherry blossoms to carry the blue upward.

  9. beautiful bouquets , delicious menu, but by “grand mariner” do you mean the French orange flavoured liqueur “Grand Marnier”?

  10. Wow! Beautiful settings. Only you and your magic wand could make this work! This looks very cozy, and I love your leather-bound books in the background. I am your biggest fan.

  11. Quite beautiful…everything including the menu…to be a guest at this fortunate!

  12. I have just come home with armfulls of helebores to plant. Your photos are an inspiration!

  13. Asparagus has been used as a vegetable and medicine, owing to its delicate flavour, diuretic properties, and more. It is pictured as an offering on an Egyptian frieze dating to 3000 BC. Still in ancient times, it was known in Syria and in Spain. Greeks and Romans ate it fresh when in season and dried the vegetable for use in winter; Romans would even freeze it high in the Alps, for the Feast of Epicurus. Emperor Augustus reserved the “Asparagus Fleet” for hauling the vegetable, and coined the expression “faster than cooking asparagus” for quick action.”

  14. I am admiring your beautiful blue napkins with the scalloped edge. Where did you find those?

    • Marlyse – thank you. The napkins are made by Daisy Hill. You can find Daisy Hill napkins at many stores across the U.S. cr

  15. How lovely – fresh elegant and inspiring.
    Many years ago I viewed the entrance display at the Landesmuseum, Zurich. There a classical blue and white vase, boasting a halo of delicate spring blossoms, rested in front of a gilt-framed antique mirror. It was awe-inspiring then and I have always sought to imitate it in my own hallway. This confirms just how spring and blue and white go hand-in-hand to provided perfection. Thank you for sending this.

  16. What a lovely way to cheer us up!! The flowers stunning and so cleverly arranged.
    These flowers are wonderful therapy for me.

  17. I absolutely love hellebores but I’ve never cut the blossoms to work in with flowers. The pansies provided winter color in shades of blue/purple and yellow but are now getting leggy in my garden. Azaleas are now popping and impatiens are going in the ground. Your table scape is stunning and definitely puts me in the mood to throw a dinner party! I look forward to all of your lovely photographs!!

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