My visit to Claude Monet’s house and gardens in Giverny at the beginning of the summer greatly inspired me to use very summery floral tableware, which in the end I don’t use as often as I’d like. As I rediscovered Monet’s paintings, I thought I could combine these green plates with the little dotted lines that remind me of the Impressionist style, and which would go perfectly with a more floral motif. The fresh, pastoral feel of Giverny’s gardens had a strong impact on me, and I came home determined to extend the experience and set a summer table.
Indeed, on the very evening of my visit, I rushed to the china cabinet to try out this combination. I always look forward to creating new tables, especially when they give me the opportunity to try out new combinations and feed my imagination.
A cheerful and convivial summer table
In summer, we often have our meals outside in the garden, and it’s actually quite simple to set up a summer table without too many constraints. Flowers can easily be found in the garden or picked directly from the meadows, and made into pretty bouquets to be placed on a rough wooden table with vintage crockery – the result is often pleasing. Speaking of flowers, since I’ve been growing my own in a small corner of the garden, I rarely go to the florist because I find everything I need on the spot. And when I do, I put on my boots and often find what I’m looking for in a meadow just a few minutes from the house.
For this summer table inspired by Giverny, the first impression I wanted to create was a joyful, convivial table that stimulates the senses. I also wanted to maintain a natural atmosphere, but add a few acidic touches to liven things up. The blue napkins and green candles do just that.
When I started thinking about this table, I thought I’d make lots of little bouquets with different colored flowers. But in the end, I saved this idea for another table (which I’ll show you very soon) because the plates were already visually busy enough, so adding colorful bouquets would probably have made the whole thing a bit confusing.
A combination of different patterns
Simple bouquets were therefore essential, and the choice fell on large white flowers of the Annabelle hydrangea variety. I read recently that this is a very popular variety with gardeners, but I have to say that I have a preference for the Alice variety, which has very beautiful oak-leaf-like leaves that turn magnificent colors in autumn. We treasure it for autumn wreaths or tables.
I hadn’t originally chosen these checkered placemats. On the contrary, I wanted to preserve a rustic spirit, a certain simplicity in the staging of this table, but something seemed to be missing: the table was indeed too « bare ». All I had to do was add linen placemats with check patterns (I love checks!) in soft shades that could also be used for an autumnal table. And it was done.
Ultimately, this is a simple summer table to reproduce, as the trick lies mainly in the combination of different patterns, a few small bouquets of monochrome flowers and the tangy notes found in the « accessories ».
On the menu, we served a feta salad with melon and watermelon (no feta for me, though!), a drizzle of balsamic vinegar and mint, and chicken kebabs with peppers. For dessert, strawberry-rhubarb sorbets purchased from a nearby farm were a hit. A seasonal meal, a bucolic al fresco table that made for a very pleasant family lunch.