There’s something rustic and strong about the unspoiled beauty of sunflowers. These unpretentious blooms turn their faces toward the sun during the day (a trait known as heliotropism), and are considered a happy, cheery flower. One of my fondest memories is standing in the middle of a massive sunflower field in Kansas at dawn one morning, with stalks tall enough to hide me and massive vivid yellow blooms surrounding me as far as the eye could see. These glorious flowers deserve to be the star of a dining table. After all, they inspired both Van Gogh and Monet!
When creating a bouquet with sunflowers, please know that these are thirsty little things. You will need to make sure you keep checking the water level in your vase. Other than that, they are fairly low maintenance if you get them when they are really fresh. Perhaps it’s just me, but I see sunflowers as comfortable and unpretentious, not fancy. As a result, when I look for things to pair them with, I stay away from prissy and delicate flowers that won’t measure up to the strength of our little faces of sunshine. On this table, I used a vase that was coated with tree bark to start the rustic “back to nature” theme.
You will want your vase to be a little taller than you might normally use on the dinner table, because these stalks are long and thick. Here, I arranged the sunflowers with whole stem-on artichokes and a member of the thistle family known as blue sea holly, or blue thistle. (I have also seen them called Scotland Thistle Flower.) Keep it simple. You don’t want a big mixed bouquet. You want just a few supporting actors for your stars, the sunflowers.
The dishes and glasses were chosen because they worked well with the sunflower colors. Pairing fine china gilded with gold with these hearty blooms would result in a visual disconnect, I assure you. There’s a vintage yellow and white checked tablecloth on bottom. What else? Rattan chargers beneath the goldenrod-colored plates. Orange stemmed glasses. Vintage glass compotes (some yellow, some orange), fun silverware that brought in all the colors on the table. Mary Engelbreit salt and pepper shakers, and a platter that echoed the color theme. The goal was to create visual harmony so that what you really notice are the brilliant flowers of the field. The result? A sunny sunflower tablescape that will make you and your guests as cheery as our sun-facing floral friends.
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