Dockside Dining with Butterflies and Hydrangeas

Create a flower arrangement using hydrangeas from the garden as a centerpiece for the table. Post includes includes flower arrangement longevity tips and additional floral inspiration.

Happy July!

It’s the first Monday of the month, which means I’m joining my blogging friends to share some floral inspiration and Monday Morning Blooms! You’ll find the links to my flower-loving friends’ blooms at the bottom of this post.

Our common theme for this week was using an urn for an arrangement. This garden urn has a classic egg and dart design and is from my retails days and a favorite ‘go-to’ for flowers. I love the shabby white finish with bits of rust showing through, but would love to find a resin or fiberglass version, as it is cast iron and heavy.

 These French Hydrangeas got their start from my mother-in-law’s garden who gave me a tiny plant about eight years ago. I cut a few blooms to fill my urn along with some Endless Summer Hydrangeas, that are just starting to fade from their vibrant spring blues to softer greens of summer.

As the urn is not watertight, I placed a plastic container inside and secured it with waterproof floral tape. I used a piece of chicken wire, which makes for easy arranging to support the hydrangea stems in the urn.

Keep your cut hydrangeas from wilting with the alum-dipping method!

Cut your hydrangeas in the morning with they are fully hydrated and not stressed from the heat. When arranging them, cut each stem at a 45 degree angle for maximum water uptake and dip 1/2 inch of each cut stem in alum powder, found on the spice aisle at the grocery store. Place your dipped hydrangea stems in your vase of room temperature water. For best results, remove the leaves from hydrangeas since they cause evaporation loss and take water from the head of the flower. Hydrangeas are heavy drinkers, so check your water level frequently and top off as needed.

I cut some hosta leaves to tuck in along the edges of the urn among the hydrangeas.

A quilted coverlet is ideal for dining with butterflies and provides a tablecloth.

Have a seat at the table . . .

Lenox Butterfly Meadow Cloud has embossed butterflies (hard to photograph!) on the plates, paired with butterfly napkin rings.

And a butterfly watering is filled with a few hydrangeas and white flower spikes of loosestrife.

Always add the floral preservative packets to your vase water to prolong the life of your flowers. The packets usually come with your flowers or most grocery stores have a basket of packets you can help yourself to when buying flowers. If you don’t have any floral preservative, you can make your own with this easy formula.

This Gooseneck loosetrife is recycled from my Easy Patriotic Flower Arrangement and lasted over two weeks with the addition of floral preservative and by giving the stems a fresh a fresh cut after changing the water.

I added a butterfly garden stake to the arrangement for a touch of whimsy.

 Portmeirion Botanic Garden flatware is alight with butterflies. . .

And La Rochere butterfly goblets are ready to serve your nectar of choice. I highly recommend a Rosemary Lemonade Fizz cocktail or mocktail, or Land of the Free Lemonade, to celebrate Independence Day this week!

While it’s hard to believe it’s already July, our mid 90 degree temps and sweltering humidity are a reminder.

I was glad to have some shade under the cover of the dock and was ready to jump in the lake after taking these photos!

Table Details:

Quilted coverlet with butterfly / HomeGoods, several years ago

Butterfly Goblets / La Rochere, HomeGoods several years ago

Plates & Bowl / Lenox Butterfly Meadow Cloud, used here

Flatware / Portmeirion Botanic Garden

Butterfly napkin rings / Pier 1, several years ago

Butterfly watering can & napkins / HomeGoods

Butterfly garden stake / Walmart

Butterfly pillow / Pottery Barn, several years ago

Urn, retail days, used here, here, here

Visit my talented blogging friends to see their blooming inspiration this week:

Pam at Everyday Living

Shirley at Housepitality Designs

Lidy at FrenchGardenHouse

As an Amazon associate, I earn from qualifying purchases. If you purchase anything through an affiliate link, I earn a small commission at no extra cost to you.

Thank you for your visit, sharing with:

Between Naps on the Porch


  35 comments for “Dockside Dining with Butterflies and Hydrangeas

  1. Diane Dubuc
    July 1, 2019 at 6:12 am

    Hi Mary, as usual, stunning!

  2. July 1, 2019 at 6:25 am

    I love to see views of your gorgeous lake! Your hydrangea arrangement is stunning paired with your quilt!

  3. Ann Woleben
    July 1, 2019 at 6:42 am

    All of my favorite color combinations in the floral arrangement and the quilt ~ so inviting ~ and the serene setting by the lake. It all speaks “Summertime!”

  4. Pat
    July 1, 2019 at 6:46 am

    What a great way to start this morning! You never disappoint with your tablescapes and beautiful centerpieces. I just bought a simple chippy urn for $3 at an estate sale and now I have your inspiration on what to do with it.

  5. July 1, 2019 at 7:04 am

    You started off my day with a huge smile with my favorite flowers! The hydrangeas are magnificent and love the fact that they started with a plant from your mother-in-law. Hydrangeas and butterflies…what could be better…then it is made even more beautiful with the background of the lake. LOVE the urn…it’s a beauty!…Have a most wonderful week Mary and may you have a fun and safe 4th of July!!! Happy to be sharing the flowers with you today!

  6. Ellen
    July 1, 2019 at 7:10 am

    There are so many pretty elements on your table…very subdued which is welcomed in the heat!! 🦋🐛🦋🐛🦋

  7. Evie
    July 1, 2019 at 7:14 am

    Absolutely beautiful. The pictures say summer.

  8. July 1, 2019 at 7:22 am

    Mary, your lakeside table is just stunning and provides heat relief just looking at your beautiful images this morning. The quilted coverlet gives a wonderful foundation for your hydrangeas and butterflies. I love that your hydrangeas began with a plant from your mother-in-law, I know they provide sweet memories so beautifully arranged in the perfect garden urn. I would love to find a similar one, but no luck so far! Wishing you a lovely week and 4th of July! It is always a pleasure to share MMB with you!

  9. July 1, 2019 at 8:20 am

    Love love LOVE THIS! The coverlet is adorable and so refreshing by the lake, the whole table is a dreamscape! For a month I have been telling myself to pick my hydrangeas for a bouquet and I never get around to it, maybe this will spur me on 😉

  10. Debra Smith
    July 1, 2019 at 8:27 am

    Beautiful!! Reminds me a pretty table sets the mood for a memorable meal

  11. Karen
    July 1, 2019 at 8:46 am


  12. July 1, 2019 at 8:50 am

    So beautiful Mary, from your beautiful quilt, the blue lake background and the fabulous garden blooms…you have created such a delightful spot to enjoy the day! Hopefully there is a lovely breeze on your dock and plenty of Land of the Free Lemonade!

  13. Char
    July 1, 2019 at 8:56 am

    Your tablescapes are always so beautiful. This one has my favorite colors and looks so relaxing. Wish I were there to enjoy with you.

  14. Bonnie Morgan
    July 1, 2019 at 9:21 am

    Mary, I love your multi-colored hydrangeas in your stately urn. Great arrangement and I like the addition of the hostas. Your table is so pretty with the lake in the background. Your colorful coverlet makes a lovely tablecloth and your all things butterfly elements makes me all aflutter since I love butterflies. That butterfly pillow is so striking. I love your watering can also and it was the perfect color.
    I had to chuckle at your comment about being ready to jump in the lake after photographing your table grouping.🦋😎

  15. Liz
    July 1, 2019 at 9:22 am

    Ooh I love this arrangement in the iron urn. I have an iron urn too so I know just how heavy they are! The hydrangeas are beautiful. Our hydrangea season hasn’t begun just yet but it’s close! Your table cover and the whole arrangement look lovely! I can see the haze across the water so I can imagine how humid it is there!

  16. Rita C.
    July 1, 2019 at 9:41 am

    Happy July, Mary! Those lakeside photos of the hydrangeas, quilt table cover and water as backdrop are stunning! My porch urn is one of the few garden items I kept and brought in our move. I completely understand the weight issue!

  17. Sharon
    July 1, 2019 at 9:52 am

    Just beautiful.

  18. July 1, 2019 at 9:59 am

    Yes, I’d love to have a seat at your lakeside table, Mary!! Your hydrangea arrangement is stunning. I loved to know that your late mother in law gave you a start from her French Hydrangea plant. Happy 4th of July week to you! 🇺🇸♥️🇺🇸

  19. Becky Fikes
    July 1, 2019 at 11:13 am

    Thanks for sharing your beautiful arrangement and tablescapewith us

  20. July 1, 2019 at 11:25 am

    Lovely and serene! The water backdrop is beautiful. Fingers crossed the rest of my hydrangeas bloom — they’re not happy this year (:

  21. Clara
    July 1, 2019 at 11:25 am

    Beautiful, Mary! It’s a very inviting table for two as the blue is so cool & refreshing next to the lake. I was @ HomeGoods yesterday & saw a gorgeous table runner with blue butterflies, hummingbirds, & bees embroidered on a cream floral background (thought of you when I saw the bees) as though they were visiting the flowers & now this tablescape with butterflies just makes my heart happy! The coverlet is lovely shade of blue & the butterfly napkin rings are perfect. I love your urn of hydrangeas; they are so healthy & colorful. Have a great day! Clara

  22. Marilyn
    July 1, 2019 at 3:10 pm

    Beautiful post We all love butterflies. They are so dainty pretty. Walking with my sister we came across a caterpillar. I pushed it in some shrubs out of the way of danger. Another time as I was out a butterfly came around me and kept after me. Joan said that must have been the caterpillar you saved out of harm’s way.
    Marilyn,Joan and Marion

  23. Darlene
    July 1, 2019 at 4:34 pm

    Beautiful color and flower combinations, the sweet butterfly stake just made it pop!
    So look forward to the 1st. and 3rd. Monday’s, you girls are a breath of fresh air.
    Have a great 4th.

  24. July 1, 2019 at 4:39 pm

    What a beautiful mix of hydrangeas, Mary! I eagerly await these posts. Each of you shares such beauty! Happy July!

  25. July 1, 2019 at 6:06 pm

    I love the beautiful spectrum of blues in your hydrangea arrangement Mary:@) Happy 4th of July Week!

  26. Cyndi Raines
    July 1, 2019 at 11:28 pm

    Now that’s a little bit of heaven come to earth, wow! Such beautiful varied hydrangeas, love the blue/ purple bouquet. The backdrop of the lake and the beautiful matching quilt is awesome. How do find so many things to match? ! Haha. You are the Tablescape Goddess! I know what you mean about the heavy urn, I have a small iron urn and it’s heavy enough, I get it. I hope you did take a refreshing dip, you sure earned it, this post is lovely. Happy July! 🇺🇸🌞

  27. July 2, 2019 at 5:08 am

    What a delightful combination of blues and whites and butterflies …sprinkled with hydrangeas! Beautiful!

  28. Diana Joy Parsons
    July 2, 2019 at 10:47 am

    I’ve never seen a hydrangea deep purple before. did you feed it food coloring or did it grow naturally that way?

    • July 2, 2019 at 11:00 am

      Hi Diana, Our French hydrangea grow that color. They change color depending on the ph of your soil. Generally speaking, acidic soil, with a pH lower than 6.0, yields blue or lavender-blue hydrangea blooms. Alkaline soil, with a pH above 7.0, promotes pinks and reds. With a pH between 6 and 7, the blooms turn purple or bluish-pink.

  29. Mildred
    July 3, 2019 at 11:01 am

    Beautiful! How pleasant it must be to sit in your dock and enjoy an evening meal.

  30. Kari
    July 3, 2019 at 12:27 pm

    Mary your beautiful quilt accents your lovely flower arrangement so beautifully and using the lake as a backdrop couldn’t be more perfect. I adore butterflies and your incorporation of them is stunning as are your hydrangeas. I definitely have hydrangea envy. thanks for sharing your arrangement, it makes those of us better at flower arranging with all your great tips.

  31. Virginia
    July 3, 2019 at 9:45 pm

    Again you have inspired me and gotten my creative juices flowing. We recently spent time visiting my Mother, who was in a clear out and clean out mood. She gave me a pretty urn which my husband’s Mother had given her nearly sixty years ago. I am headed out to the garden first thing in the morning to cut some hydrangea blooms. Thanks for the inspiration.

  32. July 14, 2022 at 11:13 am

    Mary, we cannot grow hydrangeas here and I so envy the gorgeous plants you have. I’ve never heard of dipping the tips in alum. Since I have to buy hydrangeas and they never seem to last, I am going to try this method. If you don’t mind, I would like to share your post on my Saturday Meanderings blog post. Thank you.

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