Seashells and Gardenias

What started as a table for two, in my head~ “Seashells by the Lakeshore”~ for Kathleen’s Let’s Dish~ At the Beach Table Challenge, morphed the moment the fragrance of the gardenias drifted my way. . .

To me a table or picnic isn’t complete without flowers!

I had already “planted” an orchid in shells in a burlap bag for a centerpiece for my table~

I kept glancing at the gardenias as their scent wafted my direction. . .

I felt compelled to add a few gardenia blooms to the shell “vases”. . . then decided against this unlikely pairing.

“Shells only,” and “Beach Challenge,” I told myself~ no need to gild the lily, or orchid in this case :)

I  found myself looking back at my gardenia post from last year~

I surprised myself when I reread a quote

I discovered from Southern Living

about gardenia buds and seashells. . .

“Sultry as a summer evening and as intoxicating as an exotic perfume, the scent of gardenias settles like a memory onto your soul. The blossoms are just as enticing.”

“Buds shaped like seashells unfurl into velvet soft flowers in the warmth and humidity of early evening. But it’s the fragrance that captivates.”

~Southern Living

Their fragrance had captivated me~ subtly urging me and prickling my subconscious to pick a few blooms to add them to my table. . .

So validation and permission granted from Southern Living~ Gardenias sprouted from shells and blossomed beside starfish in shell-shaped dishes at my table!

White shell-shaped dishes and a vase (Olfaire and Ceriart SA, made in Portugal) washed ashore at HomeGoods a month ago~

Originally I had planned on using the vase for flowers, but discovered it was just the right size to hold a bottle of wine at the table~ Ocean Song, a Pinot Grigio, a crisp & light summer white~ perfect for sipping lakeside or seaside!

Abalone napkin rings are from Kohl’s~ found recently scavenging the aisles like a beachcomber to find a set of four :)

Scattered Shell napkins are from Pottery Barn this season and have assorted shells, sand dollars and red coral designs.

A nautilus on the napkin is repeated on the coverlet, intended as bedding but used on my table, from Bed, Bath & Beyond.

 I received this set of three burlap bags recently as a gift.

My thoughtful gifter sent these burlap bag/buckets my way with their versatility in mind~ imagining their endless uses. . . filled with fruit, flowers, shells, or wine :)

 I picked up sea fan placemats  from Pottery Barn on sale at the end of the summer last year~ not sure how I would use them until now.

Seashells & Gardenias Table Details:

Goblets, White Shell Dishes & Vase-Ceriart, SA  Portugal/ Olfaire/ HomeGoods

Flatware/ World Market

Napkin Rings/ Kohl’s

Napkins & Sea Fan Placemats/ Pottery Barn

Tablecloth/Coverlet/ Bed, Bath & Beyond

Thank you for your visit, I’m joining:

Cuisine Kathleen for Let’s Dish!~

A Stroll Thru Life for Table Top Tuesday~

Between Naps on the Porch for Tablescape Thursday~

The Charm of Home for Home Sweet Home~

French Country Cottage for Feathered Nest Friday~

The Picket Fence for Inspiration Friday~

The Tablescaper for Seasonal Sundays~

  42 comments for “Seashells and Gardenias

  1. June 18, 2012 at 1:33 pm

    Love it! Seashells and gardenias go hand-in-hand in your inspired pairing!

    I used to have a huge collection of starfish, sand dollars and seashells from all over the world…some huge my husband bought for me in Taiwan and the Philippines.. Unfortunately, I lost them in the fire we had.a few years ago…. I now have several of the white (skinny) starfish and several very nice seashells…but nothing like the larger previous collection…

  2. a beach diary
    June 18, 2012 at 1:45 pm

    touches my very soul… i have all the same, except i forgot to get the quilt last year, i see i must follow through this very minute… stunning, clean, sweet and perfect, love it all… a treasure trove by the lake sea… and of course the gardenias are heaven scent~ you made the most of everything as i knew you would! so aprreciate your artistry… heavy sigh by the deep grey sea, foamy white shores and misty grey shores of wet cool fog~

  3. June 18, 2012 at 1:53 pm

    Two of my favorite things … seashells and gardenias … perfect!!!

  4. June 18, 2012 at 1:58 pm

    Mary, seashells and gardenias ~ how lovely. I love the fragrance of gardenias, but alas my gardenia bush didn’t survive. ;-(
    Another lovely quilt for the table, this one perfection for your theme. I went to BB&B immediately after your recent email and now have one of the lovely Coventry quilts for my own table. Mary, your tables are ones that fill my senses, don’t know how you do it time and time again, but please don’t ever stop. ~ Sarah

  5. June 18, 2012 at 3:02 pm

    Mary, A totally wonderful table. I can just imagine the scent of the gardenias. It must be heavenly sitting there. I love them with the seashells. Your new dishes are perfect for your table. Great quilt too! Matches those napkins i didn\’t pick up so very well. You\’ve hit another winner.. So, really when is your book coming out? have a blessed week. xo marlis

  6. June 18, 2012 at 3:09 pm

    Beautiful use of naturals and neutrals, Mary! I love the quilt pattern that fits so well into the overall theme! I love the use of the gardenias in a beach setting…very unexpected and quite lovely! Their fragrance speaks volumes while their coloring is quiet and subtle. LOVE the centerpiece items, dishes, and the sea fan placemats!!! This is an all-out beauty!!!

  7. June 18, 2012 at 5:58 pm

    Mary, you have done it again. You have created a unique and beautiful table the inspires. The soft loveliness of the gardenias with the solid gifts of the sea is magical and evokes a feeling of a south sea island. Hmm, I can almost feel the sand at my feet and hear island music in the background. Your table is stunning. From Nantucket to North Carolina to Fiji this is the perfect beach table.

  8. Happier Than A Pig in Mud
    June 18, 2012 at 5:59 pm

    That’s a very pretty, and I’m sure-fragrant, table Mary! Love the shells and the burlap bags are too cool! I’m sure we’ll be seeing more of them-enjoy:@)

  9. June 18, 2012 at 6:10 pm

    I swear I could smell the salty ocean while I was looking at your lovley tablescape. The clean white gardenias and neutral tones of the sea shells go together beautifully. Summer is finally upon us, isn’t it? –Lucinda

  10. shirley@housepitalitydesigns
    June 18, 2012 at 6:17 pm

    Oh Mary….magnificence and perfection again….I so love the table with the lake in the background. You always style your tables so beautifully….I cannot imagine how wonderful your table must smell….Gardenias and shells, what a wonderful combination!….and the burlap bags are genius with the textures of the shells and flowers….Gorgeous Mary….!!!

  11. June 18, 2012 at 6:44 pm

    What a pretty table, and I love the details…even the wine! So adorable! The burlap gift bags look fantastic on the tablecloth….so pretty!!! Although you and I are both lake girls, it is nice to enjoy the beach sometimes, too ;P

  12. June 18, 2012 at 11:21 pm

    Oh the fragrance of gardenias!!!!!!!! It is intoxicating for sure! I ahve one gardenia plant in a pot that I have raised from a SMALL plant. I am praying it will stay alive, I have had it a few years now. Looking for some blooms right now. Your table is exquisite once again. I always SIGH at your creativity and execution. I am so glad you decided to use the gardenias. To me they make the table. Have a great week, mary. XO, Pinky

  13. June 19, 2012 at 3:28 am

    All so beautiful, and how I long for those warm sunny days, lingering into evening…your theme of seashells and gardenias are just beautiful, and gives the feeling of relaxing times amongst perfumes and sounds from the lakeside view. So true, I believe also a table isn’t set until the flowers bloom from the center of the table. Creative as always.
    A little housekeeping: I don’t know if it’s a wordpress problem but I can never connect from my your subscribed email from my inbox to your blog. I can connect to all my other wordpress subscribers in this way!
    Have a wonderful sunny week! Yvette x

  14. June 19, 2012 at 9:12 am

    How beautiful!!! What a terrific table!

  15. June 19, 2012 at 9:39 am

    Lovely, simply lovely. It is in the Spring and Summer months that I miss Long Island the most. The beaches, the sand, the seafood and yes the wafting scent of the flowers. Although, never any alluring Gardenias. I feel rejuvenated after visiting this post Mary and it’s only 9:30 in the morning!

    Thank you so much for sharing…

  16. June 20, 2012 at 8:36 am

    It’s just wonderful, Mary. I love gardenias. They happen to be a favorite flower of mine. Some folks think the fragrance is too strong, but I just plain love it. Everything about this table is so perfect from the plates and pattern in the table cloth right on up. I love the bags full of shells, and that vase used for the wine is a perfect choice.

    Another home run where the boat is!

  17. Linda Kemp
    June 20, 2012 at 10:42 am

    I love Gardenias. This was a beautiful post.

  18. June 20, 2012 at 7:10 pm

    The burlap bags are wonderful!

    Your table is gorgeous Mary. Those sea fan mats are beautiful. Once again you mixed textures and colors to perfection.

  19. June 20, 2012 at 7:24 pm

    I knew things would be over the top here! So gorgeous and so many unique items and ideas! I really enjoyed scrolling through…

  20. June 20, 2012 at 7:32 pm

    Mary, another beauty you’ve created. The beach tablescape is so calming and soothing with the neutral tones. I love the quilt, the vase as wine bottle holder and I can almost smell the gardenias…love, love, love!!

  21. June 20, 2012 at 7:59 pm

    Stunning! I love gardenias and was out today enjoying their intoxicating fragrance. I think adding them to shells is perfect. Love the colors you used. So peaceful! Toasting you with a glass of wine! ~~ Linda

  22. June 20, 2012 at 8:32 pm

    The elements of the sea look so pretty against the white dishes and coverlet! And the gardenias–I think Mother Nature only has one rule, and that is there are no rules! Everything she creates works together! Very lovely photos of a very lovely table!

  23. June 20, 2012 at 11:09 pm

    I am just in awe how you do it again and again. This table is so lovely and I can smell the gardenias and love them so. My bridal bouquet was gardenias along with my mother’s and daughter’s.

    Creative, beautiful, delightful and much more!

  24. June 21, 2012 at 6:29 pm

    What a fantastic table! So many good ideas, as the eye goes from piece to piece. The wine bottle in a shell is a stroke of genius.

  25. June 21, 2012 at 10:06 pm

    Washed ashore from HG! Cracked me up.
    I will be watching the shore for some HG booty!
    This is beautiful,Mary. I can just imagine the aroma of the gardenias! We can’t grow them here.
    Love the pairing of the delicate gardenias and the burlap, and the dishes are lovely!
    Thanks so much for linking to Let’s Dish!

  26. June 21, 2012 at 10:30 pm

    wow, this is so beautiful. Love the tablecloth and just love the subtle beauty of the whole table, and the addition of the gardenias, I have some blooming too, gonna have to get some inside now…… lol

    Thanks for sharing all your lovely pics with us, they really are beautiful,
    great job.
    blessings, Nellie

  27. June 22, 2012 at 1:42 pm

    This is very pretty. Love the neutrals with white – it has a relaxing, calming feeling. Love the dishes and vase. Cute burlap bags. The gardenias are the perfect touch.

  28. June 22, 2012 at 7:38 pm

    So serene and intoxicating to see this magical table.

  29. June 23, 2012 at 8:19 am

    Each time I visit your blog (daily) you amaze me with your talent. The tables you create are way beyond superlatives. There is a magic touch to the way you put items together and your artistic eye that defies description. This table takes my breath away. Thank you for sharing your remarkable gift for creating lovely tablescapes with the the rest of the blogging world. Peggy from PA

  30. June 23, 2012 at 12:46 pm

    your table is perfect! shells and gardenia’s are two of my favorite things! i just love how you combined everything together. what is that expression about the sum being greater than the parts? grouping all these items together in this way made for a delightful, inviting tablescape. just love it!

  31. June 23, 2012 at 3:39 pm

    So pretty, Mary. Love those burlap bags…and the gardenias are just gorgeous.

  32. June 23, 2012 at 4:36 pm

    Inspired. You are such an artistic. Love the gardenias, burlap bags, et. al.

  33. June 25, 2012 at 5:51 pm

    Oh my, your tablescape is stunning. I would never have thought or gardenia and shells, but they are lovely together. Such pretty flowers and all of your shells are so big and gorgeous. Beautifully done. Thanks tons for joining TTT. Hugs, Marty

  34. June 25, 2012 at 6:26 pm

    Oh I love the coverlet, and the table is just beautiful!

  35. June 25, 2012 at 8:45 pm

    Gosh! So very pretty in every tiny detail! I have a mini gardenia bush thanks to the previous owners of my house and I am intoxicated by their smell whenever they are in bloom. Your gardenia bush is large and divine.
    Your table setting is so wonderful and thoughtful. I love that even the wine has a nautical name. I saw your post over at “A Stroll Thru Life”.

  36. June 25, 2012 at 10:20 pm

    Beautiful as always!

    Susan and Bentley

  37. June 25, 2012 at 10:29 pm

    Absolutely beautiful tablescape! Every little detail is just perfect! And I love the combination of the gardenias with the seashell theme! The burlap bags are a fabulous addition, too! :)

  38. Sherry
    June 27, 2012 at 6:48 pm

    Lovely! Thank you for joining me at Home Sweet Home!

  39. July 6, 2012 at 9:16 am

    C’est magnifique ! J’adore…

  40. lady
    June 13, 2013 at 2:42 pm

    I dont even know how I got here but got captivated by sea shells and gardenias two of my favorite things ever, but I have fallen in love with the set of burlap bags, is there any way you can tell me where I can get some? Lovely lovely blog, will look around some more. blessings, lady

    • June 13, 2013 at 3:25 pm

      Thank you, Sorry they were a gift!

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