Pretty in Pink Alfresco Lunch with Chilled Strawberry Borscht

“In summer, the song sings itself.”  William Carlos Williams

“Lone and erect, beneath light’s primal flood,
A lily! and pure as any one of you.”
– Mallarme

The inspiration for this luncheon table was this stunning oriental lily, ‘Corvara’, which had just opened in my garden.imageI anticipated its arrival for weeks and  postponed a vacation just so I could be home to enjoy it while it bloomed.  That is how magnificent this flower really is!  This hot pink lily with a mesmerizing fragrance is often called the Royal Lily.  It is religiously symbolic with godliness.  And it’s no wonder, it is a perfect creation!  Did I mention its heavenly fragrance?

To set this table I chose to set up a round table under the pergola and near the cool wall fountain for the pleasant sound of the water on a sweltering hot day.  I floated clematis, echinacea and black eyed susans in the fountain.image I double draped the table with white on white embroidered tablecloths to create an illusion of coolness.imageBlack wicker chairs with bold black and white striped cushions complimented the china.imageAt each place setting I used a fuchsia napkin on an angle as a placemat for a punch of color to play up the hot pink of the lily.  The lily was placed inside a towering black wire bird topiary cage, borrowed from my kitchen window sill. imageimage I wanted the majestic lily to stand alone and shine in all its glory.  Two bird shaped green candle holders flanked the lily and brought a note of green to the table.   A pink paperweight and an art glass  bowl of cherries continued the pink theme and introduced reflective surfaces to make the dappled light dance around the table.image Double napkins, a fuchsia one layered with a lace edged white one tucked inside, were tied with a clematis vine. imageimage A round black plate served as charger.   Next I stacked a  square white plate, on an angle.  The pièce de résistance was the fun black spotted accent plate with a hot pink clematis on top.image In lieu of place cards as this was an intimate table set for 2, I wrote garden quotes in pink marker on white cardstock and placed one at each place in silver teapot card holders.  image A trio of mismatched glassware completed the table setting.  Don’t be afraid of bringing crystal glassware and good china outside~ it will make your guests feel really special. The tall champagne flutes  were filled with, you guessed it, pink bubbly!image With a sizzling hot day I went with a no heat menu.  The starter was a chilled summer berry borscht, served in an antique coupe etched with a botanical motif.   A perfect start to a girlfriend lunch in the garden.   Then an assortment of store made sushi was served to go with the oriental lily theme.


Makes 4 1-cup servings or 2 larger servings

  • 8 oz of cooked red beets, peeled and roughly chopped
  • 8 oz plain or lemon yogurt
  • 6 oz frozen strawberries
  • 2 T of diced red onion
  • juice of 1 lemon
  • salt and pepper to taste

In a blender place all ingredients, except salt and pepper, purée until smooth.  Season to your liking with salt and pepper.  Chill until ready to serve.image

“To sit in the shade on a fine day and look upon verdure is the perfect refreshment.”  Jane Austen

14 thoughts on “Pretty in Pink Alfresco Lunch with Chilled Strawberry Borscht

  1. And who was the lucky girlfriend to be invited to such a splendilicious lunch? I would have made a special trip all the way from Timmins to be a part of that!!!! This is absolutely stunning Johanne, Your creative mind never ceases to amaze me.

  2. Chere Johanna, I made this cold Borscht today and we loved it! Thanks for the suggestion. My lilies are mostly gone and no pinks, but it was an amazing soup. Just back from lots of bike riding in The Netherlands and getting re accustomed to this heat. Hope to see you at chanticleer on Friday… jacqueline

    • Welcome home Jacqueline! Looking forward to hearing about your trip. Happy you liked the soup. It was a totally improvised recipe from my imagination and what I had in the fridge. I loved it too. I did the Monet blue in the garden post in your absence. I know you wanted to read that one. See you soon!

      Sent from my iPad


  3. I can only imagine the fragrance!!! So beautiful! I love how you floated the flower heads in the bowl of the fountain. Such a nice touch. I wish I would have seen this before my Mom’s event yesterday. She now has 2 fountains flanking the terrace in the back, and that would have been a lovely touch. (Heck…I was so busy, I was doing good just to even notice whether or not the fountains were on!)

    Your table setting is lovely! I really like the design of that top plate! It’s a wowzer-and-a-half!!! I think the large clematis bloom on it really makes it super special and fun! It looks almost 3-D!

    Neat idea to have the quote cards!!!!!!

    • Wowser-and-a-half is my new favorite expression Alycia! A favorable review coming from my tablescaping idol just put me over the moon! Thank you for reading me on an especially busy weekend. How was the dedication?

      Sent from my iPad


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  5. Love your tablescape, Johanne! It is sooo beautiful! We added lilies last year that look similar…the tag says “Entertainer” and they really are entertaining us at the moment with upward-facing rosy-red flowers and a white center! They are all opening right now and I’m glad to be home to watch this!!

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