How to make a spring tablescape fit for a celebration

Dress your table to the nines and celebrate the arrival of spring with a high tea, long luncheon or dinner party.

Words and images: Jane Wrigglesworth

Talk about flower power!

This tablescape is perfect for spring when all sorts of flowers are coming into bloom. Use long-lasting flowers that last for a reasonable time out of water, such as orchids, chrysanthemums, carnations and other dianthus, statice, hydrangeas, proteas, spray roses, and sprigs of manuka. A number of foliage plants last well out of water too, like rosemary, magnolia, karaka, alocasia, heuchera, eucalyptus, bay, and more. If you’ve run out of fresh flowers, faux flowers work well too.

I’ve used vintage china to dress my table, for added flower power.


The wreath base is made with stems of foliage. Use stems that bend easily, such as bay or eucalyptus. You can use any flowers – whatever is in season for you – as well as dried or faux flowers.

Foliage for wreath (I’ve used bay)
Long-lasting flowers (I’ve used chrysanthemums, spray roses, a rambling rose, and the pink-flowered manuka ‘Wiri Shelley’.
Feature foliage (I’ve used a single stem from an alocasia
Taper candles
Florist’s wire

1. Create a wreath with the foliage stems, gently bending them into a circle. Three or four layers give a fuller effect. Tie the stem ends with florist’s wire to secure.
2. Cut the flower stems about 8cm long. Insert the flower stems into the wreath in a decorative fashion.
3. Once you have dressed your wreath, place the candles in sturdy candle holders and position them within the centre of the wreath.

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Flowers positioned beneath the table top give you and your guests a lot more room than if they were placed on top of the table. A glass top is ideal as it allows guests to admire the blooms beneath. Upcycle old glass tables – search secondhand stores and online auction sites for a bargain. My glass tabletop cost me $1!

Glass table top to match the depth of your existing dining table
Table protector (like a plastic tablecloth or dropcloth)
4 ramekins or terracotta pots (to lift the glass above the table)
Fresh or dried flowers and foliage
Faux flowers, if required, to fill in gaps
Large leaves, if required, to fill in gaps

1. Cut or fold the table protector to size and place it on the table where the glass will sit.
2. Place the four ramekins on the dining table where your glass will sit, at the corners. If your glass top is large, use a couple more pots and place them in the middle for support.
3. Position flowers and foliage on top of the table protector. Any bare spots can be filled in with large leaves. I’ve used karaka and magnolia leaves to fill in any bare patches and to cover the ramekins.
4. Place the glass on top of the ramekins. Plus stray leaves or flowers under the table if they are hanging out. It’s OK if some tendrils poke out.
5. Finally, dress your table with dinner plates, side plates, cutlery, etc, and your table centrepiece.

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