A better centerpiece

I have this fantastic, custom-made dining table. I’m not bragging, it’s the only piece of furniture that was worth anything my husband and I have invested in. We special ordered it from an English craftsman. It’s old barn oak salvaged from Northern England, shaped into a 7-foot-long football with two drop leaves that make it the perfect, 2-foot-wide rectangular buffet. Parties rock with it, as I can really decorate it as a buffet and then pull in the folding tables for seating. It’s huge and I can seat 10 people at it – 15 if they are kids. And since it’s made with reclaimed wood that is more than a hundred (or two!) years old, I have to say I don’t panic about a scratch here and there. Oh, and the finish is to die for…

So, the table is perfect. But, I have no clue how to dress it. Oh, at Christmas it’s fantastic. I have this enormous 2-foot tall abstract-y metal reindeer in red and gold that slides under the chandelier and is absolutely perfect. I generally puddle some green netting at his base to protect the table and soften things. At Halloween, yep, I have that covered with a giant fake pumpkin full of seaonal, dried and preserved flora. It lasts through Thanksgiving.

But the rest of the year… blah…You see my dilemma though, right? Dining table of my dreams, it needs some oooomph.

Not this…

It usually at least has not-dead flowers in it, but it was the end of this bouquet's life when I took this. You can see the size/scale though.

It usually at least has not-dead flowers in it, but it was the end of this bouquet's life when I took this. You can see the size/scale though.

I wanted something grand, but then I’m not a huge fan of silk flowers. Real is good. Real is also out of my little budget. You can buy flowers at Aldi for about three bucks a bunch, but it would still take a small fortune to supply a large centerpiece every week.

And, sadly, I’ve been obsessed with the following dining room since it appeared in Traditional Home. And I have set the bar at this gorgeous, show-stopping, heart-breaking centerpiece in Heather Christo’s home. (She’s a fellow blogger, give her a click!)

The perfect tablescape for a lovely Sunday dinner.

The perfect tablescape for a lovely Sunday dinner. Click the image to see more of her lovely home and blog!

Yeah, see how I managed to set my expectations far, far too high? You should see the rest of her house. Let’s just say my husband is a social worker and hers is an Internet marketing guru. (In fact, when I first read about Heather, I already knew who her husband was and felt incredibly well-read, being the Web-head that I am!) Anyway, Heather has a champagne display here and I have a Kool-Aid budget. But, I bet even with this specatcular dining room, she doesn’t feel the need to rock something that big and bad every day, so I shouldn’t feel too badly about my Kool-Aid budget. Kool-Aid Fizzers rock, after all. Right? Smaller can be tasty.

Let’s see, I digress. I have spent a year or so looking for something that gave me the same feeling as the “Heather flowers.” No dice. But, I picked up Better Homes and Gardens this month and I found something that might be a nice substitute. A living, succulent centerpiece.

It’s living.
It’s got some scale, since it’s in a pedestal bowl.
It’s got visual interest from the different textures and colors.
It’s not cheap looking (although it was).
And it’s -hopefully – going to stay around for a while.

Here’s an example from their Web site that inspired me…

Isn't it pretty?

Isn't it pretty?

They actually have nearly 30 examples of using succulents in containers on their Web site. I think I might have to try another one or two for the back deck – it’s hot and needs something tough and spikey, since it’s dog territory. Here is the link: http://www.bhg.com/gardening/container/plans-ideas/succulent-container-garden-plans/

And here’s my version…it’s an old pedestal bowl from PartyLite Candles. I had a three-wick candle in it, but just never really liked it. I tried putting potpourri around it, beads, sparkly stuff – but it just never looked right to me. So, one big $4 container of healthy looking hens and chicks, two bags of polished stones from Dollar General ($2) and about three minutes and I have a centerpiece. The color is good, the scale isn’t bad – I may go find some taller succulents to add in, now that I think about it – and I really like that it is “alive” and not some dried or silk arrangement.

The new centerpiece.

The new centerpiece.

A closer look.

A closer look.

Do any of you have succulent gardens or containers? What is your favorite succulent plant? Do you have recommendations for others?


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