It’s time again for our popular town fundraiser, Tablescapes at Waveny!
The New Canaan Beautification League members have been busy as bees this spring, cleaning up little plots of land scattered throughout our town, and this tablescaping event provides enough funds for them to beautify our town in a most glorious way! Waveny Park, which is home to Waveny Mansion, consists of many acres of gardens and woodlands and was designed by the famous American landscape architect Frederick Law Olmsted, Jr. of Central Park and Biltmore Estate fame.
Waveny Park is now one of our most popular town gathering areas, home to our summer theater, the town pool, running trails, a dog park, playground, exercise field, soccer and baseball fields, and plenty of open space for summer fireworks and other festivities. The Mansion (officially it is Waveny “House” but only in 1912 could this magnificent structure be considered a “summer cottage”) is mostly empty inside so it can be used for fundraising activities and celebrations. The Tablescapes fundraiser is one such very popular event.
Come along for a tour!
Although the League has recently changed its name it is really a garden club, full of dedicated and talented gardeners, so most of these tablescapes really emphasize the importance of a beautiful floral arrangement, with the dishes included as an afterthought. As usual, I wanted to tweak every table a bit to straighten up or show off the incredible dishes, but the League Ladies stand guard and no amount of distracting them with talk of the flowers was enough for me to get my hands on the dishes! I may have to finally give in and join them to have access to the goodies for the 2017 event, although I think all my gardening time still needs to be spent on my own yard.
Our gardens are not yet in bloom this year, so this collection of bright and bold parrot tulips, gerber daisies, peonies, lilacs and ranunculus with pops of white hydrangea was a most welcome sight! As for the table setting, well, I guess we are supposed to eat with our hands after playing with the chalk on the chalkboard placemats. Hmm. Still, the amazing color combo of the bolds, black and white, and the cute frog dishes earned this table a spot on my showcase! 🙂
Lately I’ve been obsessing over oysters and oyster plates, so I wanted to pull up a chair at this table. Don’t miss the artichokes, lemons and purple cala lilies in the centerpiece.
The event theme this year was “Trés Chic” although “chic” is the last thing New Canaan aspires to be. (I hope we don’t get that as an assignment for an upcoming Let’s Dish party!!) This table was sponsored by a (very nice) local dress shop and set by a noted professional table and event designer.
Does it qualify as chic? Well, I don’t know, but I did notice that while “flora” is missing here (I don’t count the golden apples!!) we do see “fauna” in the form of monkey napkin rings and seahorse candlesticks. Actually the table was quite striking in real life with a view of the fields out the window and neat-o placemats that I did manage to touch.
One of the highlights of the event is the “heirloom” table set on a long table in the dining room. League members create a setting with family china, crystal and silver and a short history of the pieces. While the rest of the tables use new pieces that can be found in local stores, this table showcases mostly vintage patterns and personal pieces.
This is Stolzenfels Bavaria “Streublumen” and traveled from Germany to this country when the family immigrated in 1953, in a wooden trunk made by this member’s father. The setting includes the passenger list, menu and luggage tags from the voyage!! I loved this story.
This table highlights the 1932 Wedgwood plate illustrating a scene of Columbia University. (Do you have china from your college? I do! Are you surprised?) 🙂 This member’s father-in-law rowed for their crew team and the mug was presented to his championship 1926 team. During a solemn ceremony the glass bottom of the mug is shattered at the oarsman’s death. So interesting!
I also loved these three settings. The Gorham Old French flatware in the first is the same as my sterling pattern.
Pillivuyt French porcelain:
If you are still here you will be rewarded with views of my favorite three tables. This first one was a wonderful balance of soft colors, elegant pieces like the silver candlesticks and bud vases, and rustic elements of the wood and stone pieces.
The remaining two of my favorites, interestingly did not really portray a table setting in the traditional sense, and I think they were successful because these gardening experts stuck to what they do best: garden elements! Each was created by a local florist.
First, a tower of purple pleasure! This pseudo–Eiffel tower was quite striking and is built using a wall hanging as a base and cake plates for the tiers.
I’ve used this florist for arrangements for my house and she knows how to do the lush display I like.
This is the top of the tower.
And while it would be difficult to actually sit at this table it would be fun to use these cute plates and imagine lunch in Paris with the real tour Eiffel in sight! Maybe this captures the trés chic theme!
Finally, the one for which all of you bee-lovers (I know I’m not the only one!) have been waiting!
Note the “Bee Chic” sign.
This table was designed to draw attention to the endangered state of the honey bee population and serve as a reminder of how useful bees are in pollinating flowers and creating honey.
All the elements were beautiful ~~ skeps, hives, flowers of every sort, garden tools and pots ~~ and this adorable little bee/tea pot!
The only unfortunate piece of this table was the attempt to add the “dish” element of an empty tea cup and dried up, half eaten muffin. I think it was supposed to look like a gardener had just had a little tea break and put her cup down before continuing on with her chores, but in this setting it just looked like the display had been pushed aside and a guest had dropped off her used cup, like you find stuck around your house on tables after a party.
See the mess?? I struggled to ignore it but I really, really wanted to take it away, tidy the cloth, and put another pot of moss and flowers there. Overall, though, this was an interesting, thought provoking setting and the flowers were extremely gorgeous! And of all the tables with the beautiful dishes displayed, this one without a place setting is the one to which I returned several times just to see every little bit.
Our town is known as “the next stop to heaven” and I’ll take this opportunity to thank all the hard working ladies of the League who spend so much time and effort in helping it earn that name.
So tell me, which is your favorite?
Would you like to sit at one of these tables or welcome your guests to one?
I’m joining the fun at