Sunday, February 10, 2019

Star Quality For a Valentine Table

It's the week of Valentine's.

I'm glad you've stopped by for a touch of February inspiration.
This post is about an amazing winter star for your garden along
with inspiration for an easy meal and a simple 
table for your special valentine.

~ White By The Gate ~
I planted this camellia japonica years ago, 
and I selected it specifically for its double white blooms.
Camellias are considered the rose of winter
in southern gardens.  The dark green glossy foliage 
is a beautiful contrast to the pure white.

This winter stalworth produces continuous displays 
of perfectly formed pure white flowers.

 This has to be one of the most perfectly
formed pure white flowers I've ever seen.

~ White By The Gate ~
I've added several to our garden and plan to include
more in a new garden area we have planned for the future.

Our bushes are full of buds and blooms, so
I've been cutting them to bring into the house.

  The stems are short, and a shallow container works best.
Our Courtly Check gravy boat is a perfect choice.

This pretty pink camellia is 
from a friend's garden.

Pink Camellias

This time of year, my friend's camellia trees 
offer up a cheerful pink treat for cold winter days.

These lush pink petals were the
stars of a tablescape some years ago,
 and I share as inspiration for a Valentine's meal.

Pink paired with 
my favorite Courtly Check
is perfect for a Valentine's table.

More fresh flowers filled a small 
Courtly Check flower pot.

The arrangement complimented the 
pink stars of the evening.

Crisp White Linen

Layers of Shiny Black, 
Courtly Check, and a Ruffled Woven Mat

Antique Ivory Salt and Pepper

Tasty Daube a la Provençal Made with Lamb
You'll find the recipe here at Dean and Deluca.

Fresh Spinach with Citrus, 
Beets, Red Onions, and Olives

Tri-colored Roasted New Potatoes

Pink, Purple, and Cream

A Tower of Corn Muffins

This all made a delicious winter meal and
likely one your valentine would appreciate.

The simple black and white isn't too girly for the man in your life,
and the touch of pink adds a a delightful feminine touch.

Hope you have camellias 

blooming in your garden this winter.
Definitely Star Quality


The summer we married, my husband was in graduate school, and I was employed as a teacher. We took a portion of our savings that summer and purchased a sailboat. We christened our Catalina 22, “Hyacinths For The Soul” after Saadi’s poem. Our "Hyacinths" provided years of pleasure.


  1. Camellias are too gorgeous for words - beautiful photos!

  2. Your camellias are so beautiful, Sarah! They were my mother's favorite flowers. Happy Valentine's Day!

  3. The camellias are gorgeous and oh how we need flowers this time of year!

  4. Sarah,
    My dad loved camellias. Your white variety is gorgeous. I need to add camellias to my list for the garden.

    Happy Valentine's Day,


  5. Sarah - I am sighing with delight over your post … I can ALMOST imagine inhaling the scent of the camellias. (But we are in a Winter Storm Watch with buckets of snow predicted …) They are a treat for all the senses. And your Courtly Check tableware is the perfect complement for the pink and the white flowers. I noticed a pear and pine crept into your flower arrangement - a neat idea for the future. Thanks so much for joining Mosaic Monday this week - please come again!

  6. Your white camellia is perfection in the purity of its whiteness. I am planning on adding a red and a pink camellia to my garden. I like the story of how your sail boat was named, when my husband and I were first together we bought a Cal 20 sailboat named Ariel, which as I recall means the wind.

  7. Beautiful and delicious Sarah! I agree with you, what a perfectly formed bloom. I pinned to my 'plant it' board and would love to add it to the garden. Our neighbors had a pink variety similar to yours that I was always cut and to helped myself too. It must have been 15 years old and had a 6 foot spread of blooms. They took it out last year to do construction and I was heartsick. Love your beautiful Courtly Check table. ♥

  8. Sarah, how lovely your camellias are. With winter being dreary, those pops of color make everything look wonderful, even your luscious white flower.The menu sounds perfect for a chilly day. I shall look into the recipe. A perfect Valentine meal to enjoy.I always enjoy seeing your beautiful collections of MKC.

  9. Good morning Sarah. The camellias are beautiful and the food looks delicious especially in you McKenzie Child’s server! Hope you have a great week!❤️

  10. Your Camellia is lovely and one of my very favorite flowers. We planted a red camellia here a few years ago and it's blooming nicely! Happy Valentine's day my friend!

  11. Sarah. I share your passion for ‘White by the Gate camellia. It is my favorite one. I love all your arrangements. Looks lovely in your Courtly Check. My Horchow catalog came in the mail and MKC was showing a blue and white Courtly Check collection.

  12. Unbearably beautiful, Sarah -- every photo, every bloom!

  13. Oh Sarah, your camellias are stunning! And the touch of pink with your Courtly Check pieces is gorgeous! Your meal looks so good! There is nothing better than finding beautiful camellias in bloom on a dreary winter days!

  14. Sarah your white camellia's are stunningly beautiful! They are absolutely pure white and nothing cheers a home in winter more than fresh cut from one's own garden. My dear mother in law had the pinks and they grew to be 12-15 ft. tall covered in blooms. She delighted in always having fresh flowers in the house. Your friends pinks are specular as well. I love how you've paired your blooms with MC. Oh how I wish I'd planed these beauties when we built this house. This is a true Valentine's Day table. I'm sure your sweetie appreciates your special table settings.................I'm working on a special table with my new hearts, just wish I had a few Camellias.......

  15. I really do check to see if camellias will grow here at the beach. They remind me of my childhood home and are so pretty.

  16. Dearest Sarah,
    Lovely post and don't our Camellias bloom at a perfect time in winter?
    We too have White by the Gate Camellias and enjoy them for years.
    IF we ever sell our adjacent property, they will be no longer ours...
    To place them in water is always tricky indeed but we have a special container in black with three flutes for putting 3 short stemmed Camellia inside.
    Wishing you a very Happy Valentine together and that 365 days...

  17. Sarah, the white camellias are especially swoonworthy! Oh my goodness. I don't have any but I think they would do well in my landscape since it's a sort of microclimate inside the brick walls. I know others in the region who've planted and lost theirs due to prolonge, extreme winter temps. Gorgeous plating of all the enticing food among the flowers. Happy Valentine's Day to you and Monnie!

  18. Hi Sarah, your white camellia is just beautiful. I have a bush that is full of buds now, but the center of mine looks like your pink one. I don't know what the true name is for it. I love camellias, they are so pure looking, especially the whites. All your decorations are so pretty and that meal looks very tempting. I love potatoes cooked that way. I have made your corn muffins before and we loved them, but I haven't made them for awhile. I love them with a hot bowl of soup, so that will be my next endeavor..Happy Valentines..xxoJudy

  19. Hello Sarah, the white camellia is beautiful. You're so right the flowers are the whitest I have ever seen. In person they are probably even more so I imagine. Everything looks delicious and using your McKenzie Childs is perfect.


  20. Sarah, the “White By The Gate” camellia is stunning in its perfectly formed flower. The MKC courtly check always looks beautiful on the table, especially with your delicious food. Happy Valentine’s Day!

  21. Camellias are beautiful flowers. We had a plant a few years ago, but it fell victim to a disease and had to be removed. We've not replaced it. Your cozy Valentine meal looks delicious and celebratory.

  22. Hello Sarah! What a delightful post filled with beauty and deliciousness. Those flowers are stars for sure. I know I'd enjoy that comforting Valentine dinner for sure! Happy Valentine's day to you and yours.

  23. Such a tasty looking meal at a beautiful table set as always with your beautiful china and linens Sara.

    I love the white camellia - mine are red. My neighbor's are more pink and hang over my fence so I admit to cutting a few of his when in bloom - he doesn't mind of course, and his tree is gigantic with so many flowers!

    Enjoy a LOVEly week down there in Texas.
    Hugs - Mary

  24. Sarah, I love the camellia japonica and its double white blooms. When we visit Cory and Maria in San Antonio, you have given me an idea for a housewarming gift (if they have a house by then). Happy Valentine's day to you, the chef and Sadie. xo

  25. The meal sounds wonderful! Now I need to plant some camellias!

  26. Sarah, your camellias are gorgeous and are the perfect thing to brighten up a winter's day! That meal looks most scrumptious! I hope you have a Happy Valentine's Day!!!

  27. Such a stunner! Those white blooms are pure joy and such gorgeous color. Happy Valentines Day!

  28. Sarah,
    The white camellia is exquisite!
    Love your black & white Courtly Check!
    Your tablescape and menu sound delightful!
    Happy Valentine's Day!

  29. Love your white camellia. Thank heaven for camellias to get us flower people through to spring!

  30. Sarah I've been meaning to stop by and catch up with you. And really to tell you how incredibly grateful I am for your friendship. I don't think I can thank you enough for all your kindness and supportive words lately on my posts. It really does lift my spirits and keeps me moving forward. Some day I'm sure I will look back at this time and wonder how I got through these early months and I'll know it was because of the grace and prayers I'm receiving from friends like you. It means so much.
    Sending love,

  31. Sarah, your camellias are absolutely gorgeous! Thanks for sharing at Vintage Charm!


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