Hydrangea have to be one of the most useful flowers known to man or woman. Not only do they delight in the garden, they dry beautifully, providing exuberant arrangements with little to no effort throughout the non-growing season. 

I hosted this dinner late last fall, and thought how perfect the setting would be for a Valentine’s Day dinner: deep cerise napkins. hefty pink tumblers and pink-tipped hydrangea.

The table setting is a layered combination of antique girly-girly and modern pewter, but it works somehow. Juliska Pewter individual soup tureens top antique Dresden Flower reticulated dessert plates. Juliska Emerson Dinner plates sit on top of silver toned octagonal chargers from Pottery Barn several years ago.

The Dresden Flower dessert plates were among the very first pieces I purchased when I started collecting tableware. They’re not particularly high quality or valuable, but I loved the reticulated edge and vibrant colours. 

The producer is Schumann, and there are three different patterns, which I think of as “Lily” at the top, “Iris” above and “Pink Fuzzy Flower” below. 

Similar to Limoges in France, Dresden is a region in Germany renowned for the production of porcelain. So when you think of “Dresden” china, it’s the region, not the manufacturer. (Dresden also has the unfortunate history of having had the living daylights bombed out of it by the Allies during WWII…)

As a child, I remember being fascinated by the finely wrought, elaborate lace ball gowns on Dresden figurines. Remember these? (this picture is from Replacements).

In keeping with the “high/low” style of the table, I combined antique wheel-cut Webb clear goblets from Elise Abrams Antiques with chunkier, Tiffin-Franciscan King’s Crown Cranberry-Flashed water glasses from Replacements (what a mouthful that is!)

An antique St. Louis cranberry cut-to-clear decanter from Elise Abrams Antiques sidled up alongside modern, inexpensive cranberry glass candle holders…

…and a pair of Victorian clear etched-glass decanters with hollow globe stoppers. We use these decanters frequently, although I’m usually careful to move the stopper off to one side before the wine starts flowing. They’re incredibly light and could easily be brushed to the floor by a vigorously gesticulating guest during an expansive moment. 

It was a warm, inviting setting with a combination of silver and gold toned accents. The napkins are multi-coloured checked silk, and were purchased many, many years ago from the now-defunct Country Dining Room Antiques in the Berkshires. 

I finally figured out that Michael Michaud is the maker of the napkin rings, which I bought eons ago from Chintz & Co. in Victoria, BC. I’ve recently discovered that they are available on eBay or brand new from a lot of retailers. Just google “Michael Michaud”; he makes lots of botanical-themed goods for the table in both gold and silver tones.

Antique silver open salts and tiny spoons nestle up to modern, silver-plated mint julep cups containing more dried hydrangea. 

A cozy candlelit dinner is always a welcome way to spend time with good friends, especially on a chilly evening.  

Happy Valentine’s Day this week!

I’m sharing this post with Between Naps on the Porch.