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How to set a rose garden tablescape?

Where does the inspiration for this rose garden tablescape come from?

My first memories of roses date back to my childhood when my parents would take my brothers and me to the Bagatelle park in Paris. This trip was usually a nice excuse for my mom to show us the beautiful rose garden bloom at the end of May. It is such an idyllic place to visit this time of year, and what makes it even more charming is the small castle in the park. A funny fact about Bagatelle is that this folie was built in the XVIIIth century, following a bet between the Queen Marie-Antoinette and the Count of Artois. I remember walking around those beautiful rose alleys and smelling their delicate and sweet fragrance. 

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A few years after our trips to Bagatelle ended (due to lack of time), we still hold those memories dear and they are probably the reason why we have our own rose garden too in the countryside. After having spent the lockdown in Paris, we just felt the need to enjoy the garden – and nature in general. This was my inspiration for a rose garden tablescape. As we are still respecting social distancing, I wanted to set a small table for just a party of four.

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Simple tips for setting this table

It is quite a simple table setting: all roses come from the garden, and it is their number (the more, the better) that gives an impression of opulence. If you want to play on the fragrance too, I would strongly advise you to plant Granville roses from André Eve (they are also called Dior roses as they use them in their cosmetic line, Dior Prestige) or Gertrude Jekyll from David Austen. They both have a wonderful perfume.

Since I wanted this tablescape to have a calm and romantic atmosphere – just like a perfect Summer evening – I choose soft pastels such as blush rose, pink, cream and nude. Soothing colors that I’ve combined with more colorful cutlery and glassware for a little bit of depth. Plates were chosen in the same colors as roses and, to create an even more intimate atmosphere, I’ve opted for a round table. I do not know if you like round tables as much as I do but to me, they are much friendlier than rectangular ones.
Of course, you can’t have as many people sitting around it as with a rectangular table, but it is easier to talk to everyone. And small parties are often much more fun too! Add a bottle (or more) of rosé wine (it also perfectly matches this soft paste table) or Gewürztraminer (my favorite) and I guarantee you that you’ll spend a wonderful evening. 

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I added matching candles and a tablecloth (with a delicate stripe pattern) for a natural and effortless look. A single rose was also combined with twine instead of a traditional napkin ring, giving the whole tablescape a very bucolic and almost quaint charm – very French romantic in other words. I really wanted this table-setting to be an ode to roses, and this time of year is really the perfect moment to enjoy this ephemeral season. This is probably why we worship those flowers so much.

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This tablescape was made for a dinner party and I would strongly suggest you cut the roses at the very end of the afternoon – an hour or so before your guests’ arrival – so that roses do not wilt too much. Never cut them in the heat of the afternoon. Also remove any bugs that might be inside as it is not very pleasant to watch aphids walk on your table while dining! 

And when you light the candles at night, I can assure you the whole table looks truly magical and everything that is on the table is enhanced by this cozy atmosphere. This tablescape is very easy to replicate (you can choose other flowers than roses as long as you have plenty of them) and your guests will genuinely enjoy the effort you’ve made for them. 

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