By Lynette Norris
Greene Publishing, Inc.
When autumn rolls around, so does the holiday season, but having a well-dressed table to go with the different holiday themes and decorations doesn’t have to mean stressing out or going broke.
Mina Bloodworth, speaking at the Dec. 1 meeting of the Madison Garden Club, said that her favorite places to buy floral supplies, including vases, were places like TJ Maxx, Target, Marshall’s and Walmart. She has even used baking pans, bread trays and other containers from her kitchen, she said, picking up a long, low, narrow arrangement of red and white carnations…in an hors d’eourve tray. No one had even guessed that was what it was.
When it comes to flowers, they can be hard to come by after Thanksgiving, but there are certain kinds of flowers like torch lilies that pop up in yards during this season. Sometimes, an arrangement can work even without flowers, consisting things like pine cones, holly berries, cast iron plants and cedar foliage, things she had found in her own yard and that of friend and neighbor Sarah Adams. They work just as well and last a good long time. If candles are used in a tablescape, they should be either above or below eye level, so that they don’t shine directly in everyone’s eyes.
A long table down the center of the room held about a dozen or more examples of Bloodworth’s tablescape designs, which included a floral centerpiece and place setting designed to complement each other. There were examples to suit every almost every occasion, not just the ones that occur in the fall. Her designs included everything from a casual, breezy summer setting with a yellow floral paper plate on a bamboo placemat, to a whimsical Halloween setting with a solid black plate with a black spider napkin ring holding an orange napkin, to an elegant red and white Christmas setting with touches of silver.
As she proceeded down the table, she explained the principles of floral arrangement, discussing such things as pattern, form, color, line and scale, and explained how to pair centerpieces with place settings. For the casual summer tablescape with the bamboo placemat, the centerpiece was a light, airy arrangement of sunny yellow flowers that made great use of open space, in a light vase raised up on legs that made it open underneath. By contrast, one of the more formal autumnal tablescapes with the heavier china plate in muted colors required a more substantial vase and a denser floral arrangement.
The fun Halloween setting was accompanied by a floral arrangement perched high on a tall narrow vase that stood on slender, spiraling metal legs, almost like a spider or jellyfish. The tall narrow legs allowed the guests to see each other through them, and the vase held orange Gerber daisies and contorted mulberry twigs spray-painted black.
Bloodworth and Adams had also been hard at work getting lush, green, fragrant Christmas wreaths together to sell as a fundraiser. About twenty of them were placed on a back table, and several had been sold by the end of the meeting.
With Christmas coming up fast, Martha Beggs reminded everyone that they still needed a few volunteers at the park to finish up decorations in time for Light Up Madison, and thanked those who had worked so hard to deck the halls of the Mansion, dressing it up in all its Victorian glory to delight its many visitors, for what might be the final year.
“Please go by and see it during Light Up Madison,” said Beggs.
It could very well be the last chance anyone would have to enjoy such a sight, she reminded them…unless a miracle happens before next Christmas!