Going Green

As I continuously say, inspiration comes from anywhere and everywhere. For me, just walking past a simple green grocer and seeing an odd green flower I do not know ( I suspect it comes from some exotic climate), coupled with chartreuse Spider Mums is grist for the imagination.  My mind immediately thinks in terms of green everything : green dishes I own but have not used in a while, other green decorative elements, even all green food for a lunch. I know it is a bit nutty but it is how my mind works. A few packages of flowers and I am off to the proverbial races!


The fuzzy moss looking flower is Dianthus barbatus “Temarisou” (oh the wonders of the internet) mixed with Spider Mums. Neither of which I grow but decided to play green with.


While shopping at the grocery store I added mangos, green apples, and lemon leaves to augment my green vision. I raided my basement, foraging for a ticking stripe table cloth I had made for some party at some point, mixed my green tableware from Provence, and added a favorite set of leaf plates (late 19th c. that I bought years ago and which you have likely seen in my books and other posts), some napkins I bought years ago in either England or France – can’t remember,  and anything green I could find.


The glasses are actually small green votive holders – make do with what you have at hand. You know that old but true expression “necessity is the mother of invention.”


In my green enthusiasm I invited three tables worth of guests. This is another version using all the same elements.


Elements close up : a basket of mangos bordered in lemon leaves – I attach the lemon leaves to the bowl with floral clay.


Green Granny Smith apples are constants in my quick and easy table decoration cupboard.


I have always loved mixing various fruits with flowers informed by my love of Dutch flower paintings of the 17th and 18th c.


I ran out of flowers for the third table, so added artichokes and wheat grass to the bowls of fruit.


I throw everything together – I found the little glazed green flower pots and plopped the artichokes inside. I actually bought a flat of wheat grass, I suppose with a passing thought of consuming something healthy – changed my mind, cut it and added to the pots as well.


As the lunch grew I decided to do a buffet.


Another green mix of flowers viburnum and Spider Mums.

Now on to the green food – I promise no lime green Jell-O with green grapes or Del Monte  canned fruit salad – in Missouri they served it with a dollop of Miracle Whip on top – does anyone remember that stuff? My God I just checked on line and it is everywhere!!!! Don’t mean to offend anyone but I don’t think I loved it, even as a kid.images



Canapés: miniature bruschetta with a pesto spread with tomato and basil on small leaf plates.


A chilled green soup garnished with a sour cream and chives – we have many recipes for green soups – pea, asparagus, zucchini, water cress, mixed herbs, pesto based soup, a green herb infused vichyssoises.


A risotto with peas and asparagus.


A favorite when I can find them in the market – mini true artichokes in a vinaigrette. Who needs the wheat grass for healthy?


Of course a green salad – from the garden.


And finally….no green Jell-O, but mint chip ice cream with homemade dark chocolate leaves.

So my green food lunch inspired by a fuzzy green flower spotted on the street – and the next post will be how I took green to Aspen….green to be continued, or are we sick of green? I wonder what we could do for blue food?! – cr








62 thoughts on “Going Green

  1. Lovely, lovely post!! It made me happy just to see this in my in box, and when I opened it, it was just so inspirational. How do you keep hitting the ball out of the park every time, Carolyne?!?

  2. Carolyne dear,

    Ah Missouri, I’m a California girl who went to college dinosaurs years ago at Stephens in Missouri !
    Loved everything about the Midwest. Especially how green it was in the summer ! Here we have
    Brown most of the year …. Your GREEN tablescape and menu are divine. Wish I was there, as I’m
    Hot and tired from packing as we are moving to Pebble Beach in a few days. Thankfully the Del Monte
    Forest is green ? and cool and on the ocean xxxooo so happy you will be coming to the California Club
    In February … See you there ???
    Hearts love,

    • What a small world ..I am from a small town 90 miles from Columbia. Up until we moved to St.Louis my parents always planned to send me to Stephens. We went to Columbia to always smile
      Shop for new school clothes— an important thing for a budding fashion designer!!! We always drove past ” my future” school. Thanks Joanie. See you in 2016 L.A. Best cr

  3. Yummy!!! What time do we eat. How delicious and elegant everything looks, Kudos to your wonderful palette of colors, textures and just down right beautiful. Your blogs inspire me to do and try to do great things…….keep the fabulous ideas coming!!!!!!!.

  4. OMG, I love it all. You continue to inspire all of us with your extraordinary eye for design and color.
    Food for the soul!

    Keep the posts coming, PLEASE!

    • Thanks Donna, I once did an all white dinner…a bit strange but it was winter! Best, cr

  5. Carolyne.
    If I were to ‘throw everything together,’I can safely say it would never look so impeccable!
    Each dish really does look too good to eat,but I am sure it all tasted wonderful!
    To be a guest of yours must be such a treat.

    • Hi Wendy… Well throw together might be a bit of an understatement….but it is pretty easy as I have a rather large inventory of “stuff”. Forty years of collecting gives one a rather full inventory. I really do fantasize about scaling back but….. That takes a lot of time and effort best cr

      • I too have 40 years of ‘stuff’ that I cannot bring myself to divest ,as I MIGHT need it one day,and actually I like it all.
        I must try to utilise some of it as your posts are such an inspiration.
        Look forward to whatever you send next..
        It is rather like opening a beautifully packaged gift ,when your post arrives!

        • Oh Wendy the hardest thing to do is edit ones things—I started to read that book from the Japanese lady that has sold millions and after 2 chapters gave up in defeat! cr

  6. No, not too much green. This post is wonderful because all these items can be purchased at the grocer with little cost. Brilliant as usual. The green makes me think of St. Patrick’s Day as a child. My mother loved to give parties and was Sicilian. For dinner on St Patrick’s day we ate everything green. Salad and veggies were fine, but green mashed potatoes and green milk was over the top! Needless to say my sisters and I did not smile much the following day since our teeth were still green from our “Green Feast ” the night before.

  7. I enjoy your lovely tablescapes, and wonder how you serve with a fully set table like that? Obviously, in this case, you had a buffet, but when you serve guests with a fully set table, do staff bring the courses to your guests on trays so that they may serve themselves? Or are the plates removed then returned with the food once the guests have been seated?

    • Hi Tim,
      I do it both ways—-if it is a more casual dinner or lunch we just use the plate i place on the table and then Placido my house man of the last20 years serves. I f it is a fancier or more formal dinner I use a place plate which he first removes and returns to the table with a hopefully warmed dinner plate and then he serves to each guest. I rarely plate food because i do have staff but if I were alone I would have to. Best, cr

  8. Fabulous! I’m reminded of the inclusion of the wondrous green Yeoward “Marion” glasses you have in one of your magazine articles or books. I acquired a set which I use at Thanksgiving. But they are a wonderful summertime color when the earth is brown, the flowers in their outdoor boxes are wilting, and we are dreaming of beautiful spring green!

    Looking forward to your new book!


    • Thanks Terry —I love those glasses they are special but just don’t save them for thanksgiving enjoy them more often best, cr

  9. Carolyne.
    How I wish that If I ‘threw things together’ I would get the same impeccable result.
    Each dish looks too good to eat,but I am sure that it all tastes wonderful,especially the mini artichoke.
    What a treat it must be,to be your guest !

    • Hi Wendy thanks so much.
      I always snap up those small artichokes when I can find then—not that often unfortunately. We need to live in France , Italy or California to have them more often. best cr

  10. Just plain brilliant and just plain gorgeous! You have the gifts of raw talent…….combined with inventory selected with that talent! You bring us all beauty with things at hand! A rare gift! Thank you!!!!!

  11. Lovely! Lovely! Lovely! LOVE monochromatic schemes. Thank you for taking the time to share. XO

  12. The table settings and menus are wonderful. Please tell us about your flatware. It makes me swoon.

    • Hi Rhoda,
      I love it as well—in fact I have it in two colors; the blonde wood pictured and a darker mahogany version. I bought it from a company called Mariposa several years ago.

  13. Great post Carolyne…gorgeous lunch table, absolutely love it….how wonderful to be on your guest list!

    • Hi Sara,
      Not if I made you help me clean up the kitchen—-I am a very messy cook!?thanks cr

  14. Carolyne,
    Your gift of beauty is one that keeps on giving!
    I “treat ” myself when I have dinner alone, to enjoying your
    Exquisite Posts, and my own simple dinner is turned Magical!
    Thank You Moira

    • I love simple dinners alone—-we must treat ourselves—peace quiet and maybe just one flower on the table cr

  15. I love all of your tablescapes. I have trouble finding such beautiful tablecloths. Do you have a particular source, or do you have them made? Can’t wait to see your new book!

    • I have a lot of tablecloths made usually just finding remnants of fabrics–. hope this helps cr

  16. Dear Carolyne,

    I adore the green and white, especially the flowers. I prefer most flowers to have a touch of green to them. This post reminded me of an article by you in Veranda magazine (Jan/Feb 2009) which featured green and white and it was the first time I had heard of you (I am sorry to say) but living in Australia, before I had computer, I was somewhat removed from the USA. I fell in love with that setting and it made me want to know more about you. It has been wonderful knowing you through your posts and as I am around your age I hope to be reading more of your posts for years to come.
    ???? Marie. ????. (Love the leaf entree plates)

    • Dear Marie
      I am so happy you found me in 2009—you are a wonderful cheerleader and all of us in life need the kind folk who help by their interest and support. Thank you —carolyne

  17. Dear Carolyne,

    As I await my two grand dogs for a four day visit I logged in again and was so pleased to receive your reply.
    I am now on cloud nine, as I sip my gin and tonic!

    ? ?? Marie ???

  18. Carolyne, you are as clever as ever (rhyme intentional). How do you come up with so many, many ideas? The green tablescape is so fresh and appealing. Can’t wait to see what you do with it in Aspen. You are simply the best style “architect” whom I have encountered!! So what do you plan to do for a follow-up in Charleston? This former interior designer is waiting with baited breath!!

    • Hey Dixie—I like that the style architect!!! Yes must get back to charleston to take some pictures! cr

  19. ……another brilliant post and another Stephens alum. Your posts always make the day a little brighter! Thank you

  20. Dear Carolyne

    Like Marie from Australia, I too found you in that same Veranda magazine article. I just love the green theme, especially the green leaf plates but really, really like how you have used those beautiful exotic/tropical mangoes – that beautiful green with just a hint of red! It is always so nice to read your posts and marvel at your sense of style and colour! Very inspiring and uplifting.

  21. Carolyne, I am in the process of redesigning a home I am currently in the process of buying. I was so inspired by your impeccable taste,your homes, and from all your books. (I have bought every single one of your wonderful books!!) I was wondering if you could recommend any books that have inspired you and your decorating. I recently purchased a book on 17th and 18th century art and architecture from amazon, it was informative but nothing that inspired me like yours. Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated…..

    • Hi Peter,
      I am presently in Aspen and my design and garden library books are in CT. And my memory is far from good on actual titles. But two books that I have referenced so many times is NeoClassicism in the North—-it is a wonderful book for 18thc. Swedish design which I love. Another book that I have always loved is— Givenchy Style The first book was recommended to me by my late friend Bill Blass ( there have been many editions of the book). I also have had the good fortune to have visited Hubert Givenchy’s beautiful house in Paris several times for lunch or dinner and his book is so beautiful. hope this helps —those are the only two exact titles I can remember without the books near by. cr

      • Thanks for the assistance. I ordered 2 Neoclassicism books, and the Givenchy was a little pricey (used started at $200.00) I’ll put that on my Christmas list right after your newest book, of course…Would love any other recommendations when you return to Weatherstone, hope you are enjoying Aspen….

  22. I own, love, and appreciate every book that you have written. However, I truly believe that this blog is better than any of your published works. You speak from the heart, unedited, and you share your “fly by the seat of my pants” moments that all of us love to hear/experience. I firmly believe that your “essence and soul” shine through this blog better than anywhere else so please don’t change a thing.

    • That is so lovely for you to say. It means great deal to me as this is who I am –I speak in train of conscience and my train very easy gets off and starts going down another track over and over…. I do not if I was always this way or it is just an age thing. I actually do proof read these things…but I suppose I know what is in my mind and I write that and I think everyone of course understands what I am saying. Sometimes I look back at what I have written and say my God what idiot wrote that sentence??? thanks carolyne

  23. As always, this post is beautiful, inspirational and appetizing. I was quite captivated by the temarisou flower and looked it up. Apparently, it is new to market; bred in Holland this year and considered the “hot” flower by commercial flower vendors. Hot or not, I think is both lovely and adorable. Perhaps it will replaced those ghastly green-dyed carnations at St. Patrick’s Day?

  24. Dear Carolyne,

    I hope you don’t mind if I ask Anne from Australia where she lives in Australia. Perhaps we could start a fan club in Australia and then if you ever decide to visit you would have friends here who love what you do.

    ?????? Marie ??????

    • great idea hope to get there before too long—!!!! cr simon thinks he is the president of the fan club ????CUTE

  25. Dear Carolyne,

    Thank you. I nominate Simon as President of the proposed fan club.

    ?? Marie??

  26. Love your beautiful homes, vignettes, use of color and general all out creativity. Amazing, spectacular and awe inspiring. I have one of your books and plan to follow your posts. They bring a smile, and pure pleasure to my day.
    Thank you for the beauty your bring into our world. It is loved and appreciated.

    Rosemarie Hill

    • Love everything you do. I can not find one thing I do not like. The spectacular vision, and beauty you bring to your homes is truly inspiring.

      Rosemarie Hill

  27. Always find your post so inspirational, and green is my favorite color! And for the blue, may I suggest you do a white, red and blue food vignette? I remember when I was little, here in Puerto Rico it became very fashionable for wedding celebrations to serve potato salad dyed in the colors of your wedding. Blue, fuchsia and yellow potato salad are in my culinary memories!

  28. Hi Carolyne.
    I am convinced that if Dr. Seuss had known you were doing this post he would have called it Green Eggs and everything instead of ham.
    How beautiful is that centerpiece and the green tablecloth from Province. Love the back drop of the pinstripe. Heaven! I also loved that you used the votives as glasses, the different hues of green are heavenly. Anyone would be thrilled to sit at that table. Love all of your posts and can’t wait to have your new book in my lap with a throw on my legs and a great cup of tea or coffee by my side as I begin to read and get lost in your beautiful photography. Can’t wait!
    By the way Carolyne, how are you feeling, after your biking accident? And Is your mom healing well? Hope you are all well. God bless.

    • Hi Lisa,
      Thank you for inquiring about my health and about my mom. I return to the east coast Saturday to see her but she is doing well. As far as my head well I just say instead of one hole in it I have two! All seems okay. I am starting to rive up my travel life with the new book arriving in a little over a month. Plus off to Paris for a project I am doing which I shall write about in a couple of weeks. I hope all is well with you xox cr

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