In the Potting Shed: Botanic Blooms and Butterflies

Summer blooms are waning in the garden but my Portmeirion Botanic Garden provides a continual flower show year round! I had a little tabletop and dish gardening fun with blooms and butterflies in the Potting Shed.

The beauty of these blooming dishes is I don’t have to wait until next spring to enjoy the short but sweet peony season . . .

If only the dinnerware had a scratch and sniff option so I could enjoy the wonderful fragrance too!

Portmeirion Botanic Garden has been my everyday pattern for about 20 years.

I always enjoying adding a flower to my garden of dishes if I find a blooming piece at HomeGoods or T.J. Maxx.

Introduced in 1972, Portmeirion Botanic Garden’s delightful mixture of floral motifs and signature leaf border, was inspired by early 19th century illustrations and designed by celebrated designer Susan Williams-Ellis.

In addition to the wonderful botanical designs, I was drawn to the butterflies and bees on the dinnerware which is also microwave, freezer and oven safe.

It’s also chip resistant and very durable. I’ve only had a couple of pieces to break over the years which happened during a move…*sniff*. I salvaged one of my broken plates to use as a planter accent.

Passion flower vine is blooming by my Potting Shed back door.

Passion flower vine is the larval host plant for the Gulf fritillary butterfly, also called the passion butterfly.

The larva feeds exclusively on species of passion flower. You can read more about Gulf fritillary butterflies and see the caterpillars and chrysalis, here.

La Rochere butterfly glasses are perfect for summer sipping your nectar of choice!

And I was all aflutter when I found these butterfly watering cans at T.J. Maxx this spring, one turquoise and one yellow. . .

I tucked a Chinese Aster into the watering spout for a touch of whimsy.

 The swallowtails are the first  visitors at the butterfly bush (buddleia) in the spring.

Pretend along with me that the pinkish-purple spikes of the buddleia filling my pitcher are actually lilacs . . .

Lilacs need a long period of winter chill to bloom which we don’t have here in the South.

These beautiful illustrations are from Edith Holden’s The Country Diary of An Edwardian Lady, a treat with its illustrations of flora and fauna if you enjoy nature and gardening. I found my copy from a used book seller on Amazon for $3.00 plus shipping.

Coneflower attracts pollinators, butterflies and bees alike and is a favorite of Painted Lady butterflies.

Don’t you love the name ‘Painted Lady’ for a butterfly?

 Ball jars are filled with a mix of grocery store and garden blooms. . .

And napkins, serve as placemats, layered over a jute runner, adding more butterflies and blooms to table.

Gardening gloves hold napkins and flatware for dining with the butterflies and blooms in the Potting Shed.

I’ve been stalking Monarch butterflies with my camera, most of the time unsuccessfully, but thrilled to find some fluttering by to stop at the milkweed that reseeded this spring.

Table Details:

Dishes / Portmeirion Botanic Garden

Flatware / Portmeirion Botanic Garden, HomeGoods several years ago

Butterfly Glasses / La Rochere, HomeGoods several years ago

Napkins / HomeGoods, several years ago

Butterfly watering cans / T.J. Maxx/ this spring

Jute Runner / Pottery Barn, several years ago

Womanswork Floral Pattern Arm Saver Gloves / Amazon

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  56 comments for “In the Potting Shed: Botanic Blooms and Butterflies

  1. Lisa
    August 24, 2017 at 7:37 am

    So inspiring! Thanks.

  2. Lynn Schantz
    August 24, 2017 at 7:44 am

    Omgosh Mary, love all especially the silverware and the yellow and purple are so striking.

  3. August 24, 2017 at 7:54 am

    Mary, what beauty as I drink my coffee to slightly lower temps and humidity! I have always loved the “botanic blooms” dish pattern! Gorgeous photos of butterflies flitting around and such cute watering cans!

  4. Robyn
    August 24, 2017 at 8:04 am

    What a beautiful post and way to start my day!!!

  5. Maureen
    August 24, 2017 at 8:17 am


  6. Patti Kachmar
    August 24, 2017 at 8:18 am

    LOVE LOVE LOVE this table setting! You just gave me some great ideas for an end of summer tea I’m planning.

  7. August 24, 2017 at 8:24 am

    What stunning details! That flatware with the butterflies has me swooning! Your potting shed is the perfect spot for this perfect display of your flower and butterfly dishes!

  8. Karen Wright
    August 24, 2017 at 8:31 am

    Lovely everyday pattern! I have been on the fence about collecting the Portmeirion Botanic Garden Pattern, since I have another floral pattern. But, I am off the fence, I am going to start collecting that pattern! (Hopefully, I can find it!). Along with the flatware! I have the butterfly glasses and enjoy using them!!! Thanks for the push, Mary!!! You do set a lovely table!!!

  9. Donna
    August 24, 2017 at 8:44 am

    Wow, love the china, the flatware & the way you are fearless in this display. My china cabinet is full but it makes me want to add to that & more. I have always loved this botanical china pattern. Can we dine in the potting shed?

  10. August 24, 2017 at 8:49 am

    Oh, Mary. How lovely! I will be scrolling back and forth rereading. I must order the book of illustrations you shared.
    Dreamy pics of the painted lady and eastern tiger swallowtail as well as your monarch. 😀
    I’ve always loved Portmerion’s Botanic Garden pattern. My daughter- in- law has it, too. I only have one little oval dish!😰

  11. August 24, 2017 at 8:55 am

    I have always loved this Portmeirion pattern Mary, and you have certainly married it with so many magical things from your collections. The butterfly flatware is so pretty, and all the blooms and springlike feel instantly lowered the hot summer temperature! It’s almost like a fairy garden grew in your potting shed! Delightful~

  12. August 24, 2017 at 9:20 am

    What a perfect, everyday pattern for you, Mary! I can see why you fell in love with it and still love it for these past twenty years. You’ve certainly displayed it so prettily in your potting shed.

  13. August 24, 2017 at 9:21 am

    Portmeirion = pure joy!

  14. Cynthia Raines
    August 24, 2017 at 9:22 am

    How very pretty! It does look like spring. Miss my butterfly bush, it made it about eight years and then died. We are blessed in the north to be able to have lilacs and enjoy their wonderful fragrance. Love the butterflies and the lovely flatware!

  15. August 24, 2017 at 9:30 am

    Absolutely beautiful from the plates to the butterflies to the bees! You always seem to capture beauty and nature at its best! I started collecting these dishes last Spring. So far, my favorite dish has the “Sweet William” flower on it. It reminds me of my youngest sweet son, William! Sounds corny, but I can’t help it….that plate touches my heart! I love the pitcher with the Hydranga…I haven’t seen this item before! Once again, I love how you blend in an educational twist to your posts! 😊

  16. Joy
    August 24, 2017 at 9:37 am

    It’s all beautiful but I especially like the tiny butterflies on the flatware. Lovely!

  17. August 24, 2017 at 9:47 am

    BEAUTIFUL!!!! I want that butterfly flatware!

  18. Debbie
    August 24, 2017 at 10:27 am

    So Beautiful!

  19. Joanna @ Gingham Gardens
    August 24, 2017 at 10:46 am

    Wow – so pretty and charming!

  20. Donna Milazzo
    August 24, 2017 at 11:01 am

    Beautiful as usual. Rosa Canina (dog rose, haha)!

  21. Vivian
    August 24, 2017 at 11:19 am

    I ordered the book ‘ Diary of an Edwardian Woman’ and loved it. But so sad she died at age 49. Love the butterfly dishes. I, too, have so many sets of dishes. More than I ever use…

  22. Pam Harris
    August 24, 2017 at 11:31 am

    Sitting on the Texas coast waiting for Harvey to bring us oodles of rain, i will enjoy these lovely pictures while buckets are coming down here and my garden is drowned! Thank you for the beautiful images, i always love your photos.

    • August 24, 2017 at 10:41 pm

      Listening to the news about the storm all day. Praying for the safety of those in the path of the storm in Texas.

  23. Nancy
    August 24, 2017 at 11:54 am

    I have these dishes and have gotten so much enjoyment from them. I love how you matched the flowers to the patterns on the plates,awesome!!!

  24. Patti
    August 24, 2017 at 12:08 pm

    As always, you covered every detail! Beautiful! Really nice break from my day!

  25. Esther
    August 24, 2017 at 2:01 pm

    I hold my breath every time I open an email from you as I know I am going to get carried away once again. Everything you put together is beautifully done, your shed makes my heart flutter, recipes are mouthwatering and your photography is exquisite. I stand in awe. Thank you for all the beauty.

  26. August 24, 2017 at 2:27 pm

    SOOOO pretty! Your photos ALWAYS amaze me!!! What an eye you have! Pinned again! I am catching up on emails as we have had SURPRISE (to me) houseguests!! Our daughter, SIL and Joe threw a surprise bday party for me last Sat. My sister and my son flew up from Fl.!!!! I was totally blown away!!!

  27. Erika
    August 24, 2017 at 3:58 pm

    Very pretty, I love flowers.

  28. August 24, 2017 at 4:01 pm

    Gorgeous post, I have always admired this Portmerion pattern but have never collected them. I wish I had. This is such an inspiring post.

    Carolyn/A Southerner’s Notebook

  29. Alice
    August 24, 2017 at 4:02 pm

    Mary, do you ever just sit and have tea in your shed? With all the ideas you have it must be a thrill to sit and have tea in there. Looking at the butterfly pictures I could see the dresses they wore were like little girls all decked out in finery, some with polkadot hems! I love them and your photos are amazing.

  30. RS
    August 24, 2017 at 4:17 pm

    the details! I just love your arrangements and attention to details, makes me go ‘ahhh’.

  31. August 24, 2017 at 4:23 pm

    So much love in this post! I love that these are your everyday dishes. I love that Painted Lady butterfly. (!) I love your watering cans, glasses, and all your flowers.
    psst…..leave some food on those plates without washing and you’ll get a scratch ‘n sniff….maybe not the one you were hoping for though. ;)

  32. August 24, 2017 at 4:34 pm

    Mary, you never skip a beat! I honestly don’t know how you continue to churn out these amazing detailed and informative posts with exquisite photography. You inspire with every post! Thank you, our generous friend!

  33. Marilyn
    August 24, 2017 at 5:10 pm

    Those butterflies are beautiful. Thank you for sharing.

  34. Joan
    August 24, 2017 at 5:12 pm

    The flowers are lovely.

  35. Marion
    August 24, 2017 at 5:14 pm

    Everything is so bright and colorful. That butterfly watering can is lovely.

  36. August 24, 2017 at 5:27 pm

    Enjoyed every signal picture and everything in each picture. Where do you store all your dishes? And do you carry them back and forth to your house? Just wondering ….

    • August 24, 2017 at 5:32 pm

      Hi Mary Alice, They’re my everyday dishes so they’re stored in the kitchen, yes I toted them. :)

  37. August 24, 2017 at 5:40 pm

    Breathtaking photos of your butterflies! Such beauty! I’ve noticed fewer butterflies in my garden this year; I hope it’s only an aberration.

  38. August 24, 2017 at 5:59 pm

    Your talents always thrill and amaze me………photography, display, design, staging……thanks as always for sharing your gift. It is inspirational!!

  39. August 24, 2017 at 6:49 pm

    Such a lovely vignette, Mary, one of my favorites this summer! I do love your pretty garden gloves holding the flatware. AH-dorable!

  40. August 24, 2017 at 8:31 pm

    Just beautiful Mary. Loved the flatware. I also have the yellow and aqua watering can. I bought one and the other a gift. Amazing pictures! Dianne

  41. Virginia
    August 24, 2017 at 8:38 pm

    Today’s post is so pretty, thanks for sharing.

  42. August 24, 2017 at 10:44 pm

    Lovely as usual. You are a pro with a camera. My favorite is the flatware with the butterfly.

  43. August 25, 2017 at 12:02 am

    Mary, love, love the dishes..when I decided to pick a new pattern, this was on my list because of the printlike florals and butterflies..but it wasn’t meant to new pattern is Butterfly Meadow and I love it but it has the same quality of florals and butterflies yours does..I never knew there was a pattern in silverware and stemware…it looks like the napkins were of the aforementioned’s a REAL toss up with these two floral did this one up right..such a beautiful table setting..thank you for sharing your love!! 🐞🦋🌹🥀💐🌾🌻🌺🌸🌼🌿

  44. August 25, 2017 at 12:08 am


  45. August 25, 2017 at 8:19 am

    Oh these dishes have to be one of my very favorites. I have often contemplated collecting these beautiful dishes whenever i see them at HomeGoods…my next door neighbor recently served us ladies lunch on these pretties! She has them so wonderfully displayed in her kitchen. Seeing these in your potting shed may very well make me take the plunge! As always, your presentation is beyond beautiful….and love those charming, charming watering cans! They couldn’t be more perfect for you and your shed!

  46. August 26, 2017 at 6:35 am

    Wow! Your post has made my day. These items are lovely.

  47. August 28, 2017 at 10:43 am

    My BF and I are constantly on the look-out for Portmierion for her mother in New Zealand. You have a great stash and they are just so beautiful. Love all the connections with the butterflies, love this post as I do all in the She-shed. Grins,Sandi

  48. August 28, 2017 at 8:30 pm

    Thanks for sharing at Home Sweet Home!

  49. Rose Marie
    August 30, 2017 at 7:17 pm

    I love the Portmierion dinner plates, I was wondering where you found the butterfly flatware. They are beautiful.

    • August 30, 2017 at 7:52 pm

      Hi Rose Marie, The flatware is Portmeirion also. I found mine at HomeGoods several years ago.

  50. Julie H from Michigan
    August 30, 2017 at 10:11 pm

    Hi Mary, The Portmeirion dishware I purchased was inspired by you a few years ago. Your blog was beautiful with the dishes and you had a lovely tablecloth from Kohl’s on the tablesetting. I bought that tablecloth too, along with the matching napkins. I love my Portmeirion dishes. They are very sturdy but lovely. They are my everyday dishes. Thank you again for your unique and stunning tablescapes!

  51. Maureen D. Eha
    July 23, 2019 at 6:53 am

    Hi, Mary, I noticed that in your “potting-shed-scape” you used only one spoon of the Botanic Garden pattern. I understand the soup spoon to this pattern is overly large. Do you usually use only the teaspoon, the soup spoon, or both? If you had only one in your set, which would you prefer? Also, which tablecloth is Julie H. referring to in her comment above? Thanks in advance for your input.

    • July 23, 2019 at 8:07 am

      Hi Maureen, I usually use the teaspoon. I honestly don’t know which tablecloth she’s referring to.

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