Home & Garden

Nature’s Chandelier

Add the wild summer vine to your next dinner party

Photo: Margaret Houston Dominick

For Sara York Grimshaw, the heady scent of Japanese honeysuckle heralds the arrival of warmer weather, hummingbirds, butterflies, and bees. “I love how ambitious and sturdy it is all the way through summer,” says the Charleston, South Carolina, floral designer. “Every other plant in the garden will be suffering from the intolerable heat but not honeysuckle—it continues to thrive.” That tenacity also feeds its infamous invasiveness, so Grimshaw makes ingenious use of the bounty by creating a living chandelier for alfresco suppers. She typically harvests twice as much as she needs, then tucks a clear glass vase of water into a hanging container, positioning the prettiest vines in the water and allowing them to spill out over the planter. Star jasmine and passion vine make fine substitutes, but, Grimshaw says, “I love the long, twisting tendrils and the natural, draping form honeysuckle takes over the tabletop.”