Portmeirionlore: Botanic Garden Dinner Plates


The Botanic Garden range appeared in 1972. First there was a coffee set and a few months later Portmeirion proudly presented the dinner service. Here are the original six dinner plates: Mexican Lily, Blue Passion Flower, Venus Fly Trap, Manchineel Tree, African Daisy and Yellow Crown Imperial.


All early plates come with the beautiful first Botanic Garden backstamp:



They were a magnificent set of dinnerplates:


The African Daisy, here seen with some African Daisies in the background, was the first flower that Susan Williams-Ellis put on a dinner plate for the Botanic Garden dinner service.


The Mexican Lily, with the dark butterflies.


The Manchineel Tree , with the dark greens and browns.


The Blue Passion Flower, a Botanic Garden classic.


The majestic Yellow Crown Imperial.


The Venus Fly Trap with the crawly insects.

There were all sorts of variations in motifs and lettering.  This is the Yellow Crown Imperial, with and without the green border. The top one has the newer lettering.


The African Daisy had an early version with brown butterflies. Later versions show the yellow and green butterflies,  a dragonfly was also added.


The Mexican Lily also had changes in butterflies. There are even three different butterfly variations, from the early dark butterflies, then the spectacular pink butterflies and finally the greenish one, matching with the bulb. As with all the plates, the lettering changed a few times.


There were sets of six dinner plates and apart from that  there was one 13 inch platter. It had the Blue Passion Flower motif with three large flowers instead of two on the dinner plates:


A later version of this 13 inch platter had an extra butterfly:


From here my pictures of the dinner plates are not all in chronological order. Hera are: Royal Highness,  Flowered Chrysanthemum, African Lily, Honeysuckle, Shrubby Peony and Christmas Rose.


The Christmas Rose has always been one of my favourites:


There are two versions of the Honeysuckle, the older one with sturdy brown colours, and a newer pink version. There seems to be a mix up in the Latin name as well.


In the following picture the Honeysuckle, Virgin’s Bower, Rhododendron, Sweet Pea, Asiatic Magnolia, Lily Flowered Azalea


The Sweet Pea, with some Sweet Peas:


The Asiatic Magnolia also has two versions, one with a blue butterfly:


Portmeirion keep producing new motifs, such as the Foxglove, Sunflower, Poppy (new in 2014), Hydrangea (new in in 2012, to celebrate the 40th anniversary of Botanic Garden), Pink Parrot Tulip and Arborea


The Hydrangea plates are among my favourites:


Exotic Botanic Garden is another recent range, featuring the Hawaiian Hibiscus, Moth Orchid, White Waterlily,Red Ginger, Bird of Paradise, Dragonfly and Winged Passion Flower. They really are an exotic lot of plates, very colourful, with lovely flowers.


A dinnerplate made for the Korean market looks very much like the Hawaiian Hibiscus, it features the Rose of Sharon:


This is an older motif, the White Gum Cistus, rarely seen on dinnerplates.


The White Gum Cistus was originally seen on soup plates and bread and butter plates. There is a double version that occurs on early salad plates:


At Portmeirion they are very good at what-iffing, here are some trials with salad plate motifs on dinner plates, the Fuchsia,  Ivy Leafed Cyclamen, Belladonna Lily, Blue Iris and Dog Rose.


When Susan Williams-Ellis died in 2007 the company honoured her life with the return of one of the earlier motifs, the Meadow Saffron, on a dinner plate.




Here is a rare dinnerplate withe the Botanic Garden border and a Ladies Flower Garden motif.


In 1980 the Mexican Lily appeared on a specially made plate:


There is a version with green lettering and one with pink letters:


The Collectors Club was presented with a hand-painted version of the Christmas Rose in 1993. There is no longer a collectors club now, and  no new Collectors Letters have appeared for a long time, which is a pity.



The Year 2000 and the new millennium  were celebrated by a new plate with the Millennium Rose:



Portmeirion designed a series of four Birds of America. My plates have the Botanic Garden leafed border:


They are the Mallard, the Pintail, the Bobwhite Quail and the Ruffed Grouse.

I am not quite sure whether the Botanic Birds are part of the Botanic Garden range, or whether they should be classified as Birds of Britain. Anyway, I put the dinner plates here. They are the Ruby-Throated Hummingbird, Baltimore Oriole, Chickadee, Lesser Goldfinch, Western Bluebird,  and Scarlet Tanager. Lovely birds, on dinnerplates with the Botanic Garden Border.


And there’s always this one: