With summer at its zenith, now is the time to dine out of doors around a long table set with vintage tablecloths, friends, and farm-fresh flowers. Along with the chipped, mismatched china and greens from your garden, be sure to set the table with a mix of these flowers that are sure to have your farm dinner guests feeling like kinfolk by the end of the night.
Sometimes referred to by its Latin name, Nigella, this buttercup relative has fine, feathery foliage that looks amazing in a mason jar with other farm fresh picks like sunflowers or dahlias. Easy to grow from seeds (which can be eaten and have a taste similar to black pepper), these stems are available at your florist in white, yellow, pink and pale blues and purples.
There’s something so summery about these sensational sunflower relatives. Tall, brightly-colored and sturdy, mix yellow, pink and red zinnias for a rainbow on your table. Cut tall and arranged in an enamel pitcher or short and tucked into tin cans, these fresh cut favorites will stand out against white tablecloths and add festiveness with their firework-like radiance. Consider using them on their own or mixed with finer-textured greens from herbs like fennel stalks or the flowers from dill for both texture and fragrance.
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Many varieties of this side dish vegetable have been bred for color and form and a progressive florist will have these in stock from summer to winter. Tall stalks of ornamental kale form flower-like rosettes with green leaves fading to a white, yellow, pink or purple at the center. A bit unusual, but very much in place at a farm dinner, they will look great on their own or mixed with more traditional flowers.
Whether your “farm” is the backyard of a Chicago suburb or the small patio of a Denver apartment, add a little south of France to your table with several vases of lavender. This subtly scented perennial herb is perfect for a summer night outside and can be dried afterwards for a touch of the Mediterranean all year long. Slender stems topped with fragrant flowers make the perfect purple wands to top your tables. Place them in different sizes of glass jelly jars along the table for guests to enjoy.
While the name sounds rather morose, this lovely, red variety of amaranthus is anything but. Fuzzy, trailing tendrils of this bright annual flower simply drip out of vases and add the perfect whimsical touch to any mixed bouquet. Trim them so that the blooms spill down the side of the vase and onto the table. Chances are, it won’t be to only spill that night!