The Summer dining season is probably my favourite. It’s no secret that I love to entertain. Here in the country everyone entertains at home and we invite friends regularly to lunch or dinner, we love to cook, lay an inviting table and set the atmosphere for a special shared moment.

In the winter and fall we eat inside, often around the fire, but for summer dining we nearly always lay the table outside. On the terrace beneath wide parasols, or on the long table near our outdoor fire. We’re fortunate not to be bothered by bugs.

I’m lucky to have a husband who is a great cook. This means that I handle dessert, and sometimes the first course or appetizer, but other than that I am free to lay the table and make some pretty.

My tablescapes will always include flowers and foliage, no matter the season. It could be a garland of fruit and flowers running the length of the table, it could be a series of tiny arrangements, one for each guest. But often, as in these pictures, I include one or two larger arrangements, with single flowers echoing the color scheme and dotted around the table.

Here I used antirrhinums, roses, carnations, lisianthus, iris and viburnum. The arrangements are tall and striking, and are held in antique soup tureens with chicken wire inside to position the stem. The colors of the arrangements are prolonged by using tiny antique silver stem-cups to hold individual flower heads.

These stem cups are something that I use a lot, and they work well with many varieties of flower from roses, to carnations, dahlias and in this case even iris.

When the meal is over and friends gone home, the table is cleared. The bouquets are reused around the house. I particularly love to have a small vase of flowers on my desk. So how about you? In your corner of the world? Which is your favorite season to entertain, and how do you like to lay your table?

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