Too Easy Simple Tablescaping

Tue 16th, Oct, 2012

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Hi ladies, woohoo it’s tablescaping hydrangea time in Beach Cottage Lane.

My garden is blooming, it is not picture perfect, actually it is far from it, but after a few years of popping things in here and there, after trips back from garden centres and markets with various plants and shoving them in any old where, things are looking a whole lot prettier…really though that was not hard, gosh it was worse than awful when we moved in, sorry I’ve bored you with that before.

So this tablescape is simple and doable for when you have people coming over and you don’t want or need fuss but you do want nice and this was indeed why this one is simple and pared back, I just had a enough time to get some snaps of it while doing my hair, and making the Pimms at the same time.  Just call me a multi-tasking blogger.


One way to go when you need quick and easy tablescaping is to lose any tablecloth (no ironing or having to wash afterwards) and to create a ‘runner’ with things that you love…

Single stems from a show-off poofy headed flower like the hydrangea were made for this look…they give impact, colour and texture all in one big old hit…

…lined up in row of simple vestibules, like the humble Mason Jar, and if vintage all the better, gives you bang for your buck baby and is the tablescaping version of the way I cook – no fuss, easy to do but big wow-factor…



And the one thing about laying a table, making it pretty and indulging in a leetle bit of foofing, for me, is it sets the mood of the whole event…be it a quick slam down of a bunch of drugstore flowers in a pitcher and a few thrift store napkins, a hastily set linen topper and some special glasses or (which more often than not is what I try to make time for) a full on in your face tablescaping session.


Call me old-fashioned, indeed call me obsessed or a raving lunatic but I think that putting in a bit of effort when people are coming over or when you sit down with your family after a crazy week, is the way to go…and so very much appreciated when reciprocated is it not?

When I picked these hydrangeas it took me right back to years ago in our house in England (the one before the one we moved out of to come to Australia and the one after our first house in Toytown) That house had a garden that had been designed, planted and tended by a very enthusiastic gardener, I didn’t realise it at the time but boy did I benefit from that…every single month something else bloomed, even in the long dark Winter of old Blighty there were plants that brightened up the day.
With my chubby little Honeymoon Baby, I loved that garden, the house not so much, but I tended that garden and came to love its little nooks and crannies.  I knew not a jot about gardening and in the early days pulled up much good things… but crouched down in the flower beds with my little baby by my side that garden helped me to learn…

You stepped out the back door onto a patio, it swept around to the right, a bit eighties I suppose and it faced South to South West, which in England is, my friends, a very good thing, it meant that when the sun came out it was warm, well, hang on, English warm.

The centre of this patio led to a path that went right through the middle of the garden and on the right a huge hydrangea bush, that without any fussing from me, every year did its thing.

Little did I know what a good thing I was onto in those days and for sure I did not have any inkling then that a new life Down Under and the lusting after hydrangeas would be the life for me.

The gardens of England are now, one of the things I know we left behind, I know its an old cliche but it didn’t take long for me to work out, that here, in Sydney at least, I wouldn’t be getting that back anytime soon…

… the first house we rented here couldn’t have been worse on the garden front – it was one of those ‘battle-axe’ blocks, – I am not sure if you know what that because for sure we didn’t when we first came here….but basically it’s where someone sells off the front or back of their land and someone else builds a house on it and often it’s not designed too well…in this case we were stuck in the front of someone else’s front garden with a dirty great stone and rock behind us with water from their house running down the back of the patio and their loud and inconsiderate walking up the path slap-bang beside the house and our bedroom at all times of the day and night.

It was there when doing some potting up and baskets that I realised my old style of gardening would have to change…and when we moved into the tattiest, ugliest, dirtiest house on Sydney’s beaches a few years ago I have been learning that ever since…

And so I often think of that garden and that Honeymoon Baby and sometimes I swear I dream of that hydrangea bush and its fuchsias girlfriend who sat alongside…

But now here in this very cottage there are hydrangeas and so I guess all good things come to those who wait

See you soon


p.s. I wrote here 6 tips I have learnt to keeping hydrangeas looking good


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21 Responses to “Too Easy Simple Tablescaping”

  1. Annie M says:

    Love, love, love hydrangeas and yours are spectacular. Can’t wait for mine to start blooming…bit slower up here in the Blue Mountains and especially in my very shady garden. I have been trying to find me some blue mason jars like yours that don’t cost the earth. Where did you buy yours or do you have any suggestions where I might find some that are a reasonable price? (What should I expect to pay?). Annie M

    • sarah says:

      I got given mine so I am not sure…. I have not seen any that are not very expensive – I saw some for $60 each!

      sorry I can’t be of more help x

    • janita says:

      where do you live Annie? I live in the states and can find them at goodwill stores, usually the cheepest there and flea markets…. for a bit more. Or the best place is a granny’s basement :) janita

      • Annie M says:

        Thanks for your help Janita. Unfortunately I cannot take your advice as I live in Australia and have not seen them at flea markets or goodwill stores here but I will keep looking. Thanks again for your information…I’ll certainly take it up if I am ever in the states again.

  2. Very very pretty Sarah. I am rather a lazy ‘tablescaper’ but you are inspiring me to try at least a few little things to jazz up the dinner table. Well, sometimes anyway! And I cannot say enough about the gorgeous hydrangea. Mine are yet to bloom….cant wait!!..xx

  3. alison says:

    I grew up with lots of large purple hydrangea plants lining the driveway. It’s interesting how plants go out of fashion and then return. I adore those creamy hydrangeas with a green tinge.


  4. Felicity says:

    So simple, yet so stunning. I know it has been mentioned on here before but I would be the first in line if you were to publish a book with all these beautiful images in it.

  5. Alice says:

    Your hydrangeas are lovely….Mine are still green buds curled up tightly… Must be patient… There aren’t that many of them (they are in large pots). Sigh… I live on a battle axe block… At the front too…. This area is full of them… So I can relate to other people trumping up by our dining/kitchen windows looking in as we are eating or trying to take a peek at us in the garden as we try to relax…It’s no fun not being able to relax…Have to keep my blinds semi closed to stop people from constantly trying to look into the living room….Mind you the layout of this house is not bad (not what I am used to though)and it is a good solid house but very plain and so painfully (I have bruises galore from bumping into furniture) small… (and now the new trend of building battle axe duplex to what I have now dubbed duplexville or duplexia and well I don’t know if you get the picture but I am dying to get out of here, this suburb has lost all its charm :(… )…You may have noticed but my rose shades have come off these eyes of mine..No matter what I do they just aren’t working anymore… I am stuck here for now so I will just have to suck it up and remind myself to be grateful to have a roof over my head!

    Lovely table scape, those mason jars are gorgeous!

    • sarah says:

      yes I hear you Alice but sucking it up is the only way to go…I HATED the house we rented so I can sympathise…

      keep those rose-tinted glasses as polished up as you can…it definitely works x

  6. Selby says:

    Mmn Mmn. Yep love me some hydrangeas!!:). A house my mum rented once had several big bushes and they were so great for a bit of table instant wow factor.

  7. Rukmini Roy says:

    I cant tell you how I love Hydrangeas but unfortunately its not available where I stay. There is one flower though that’s ubiquitous- looks like Hydrangea but red. And it has honey in it which you can have straight from the flower :D

  8. HRH Sarah says:

    Gorgeous, again! I love hydrangeas in the house, they are just so cheerful. Love your tablescape- simple enough to make room for actual plates and glasses! Thanks for the lil’ history, too. I love hearing about how your life has changed over the years.

  9. Karen says:

    They are v v pretty! X

  10. how2home says:

    This is such a pretty table set up. Simple and very elegant. Love it! It has such a shabby chic feel to it (www.eieihome.com/blog/shabby-chic-decor.html) Thanks for sharing!

  11. Ingrid says:

    Originally from Canada moved to Hawaii, I never thought that I would have hydrangeas. Who would think that they could grow in a tropical climat, but they do! When I first bought my old plantation home, I would walk the neighborhood with my dogs and look at what plants were growing. To my surprise , hydrangeas were everywhere!