In the Garden


Bellinis and Blossoms

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Summer is now in full play in Newport! To toast the official “start of the season” (which is kicked off by the Newport Flower Show) I hosted a garden party.

Just thinking about entertaining brings a smile to my face. It’s been a way of life for as long as I can remember. In my heart, entertaining is a souvenir of life, a gift we give our family and friends. As always for me, party planning starts with a theme, a title, nothing complicated but something inspirational that gets me in the mood. For this occasion, it’s “Bellinis and Blossoms,” peach nectar topped off with champagne and served in a decorative flute. Everything after that point is a breeze…especially if you have dear friends who are here for the Flower Show, Margot Shaw ( founder and publisher of Flower magazine, and Katie Baker Lasker, both from Birmingham, Alabama.) The out-of-towners also included P. Allen Smith (gardening and television personality) and Jim Sumter, both hailing from Moss Mountain Farm, outside Little Rock, Arkansas.

Photo Credit : Maaike Bernstrom Photography
Photo Credit : Maaike Bernstrom Photography

Knowing that everyone would be scattered throughout the grounds, I chose passed hors d’oeuvres for their convenience and also because it adds such a “special touch.” That morning, silver platters of tea sandwiches…chicken salad with chutney, egg salad with minced parsley edges to the thin bread, salmon tartare on small rounds of marbled toast with a sprig of dill, and that old classic, cucumber slices…were prepared, each dressed with a small, floral bouquet. To round out the menu – demitasse cups of yummy cream of asparagus soup, and a rainbow selection of French Macaroons for a sweet finale.

Photo Credit : Maaike Bernstrom Photography
Photo Credit : Maaike Bernstrom Photography
Photo Credit : Maaike Bernstrom Photography
Photo Credit : Maaike Bernstrom Photography
Photo Credit : Maaike Bernstrom Photography
Photo Credit : Maaike Bernstrom Photography
Photo Credit : Maaike Bernstrom Photography

The house was festive with flowers from the garden.

It had rained all night and all morning (a freak tropical storm, up from the Gulf) but fifteen minutes before the guests were due, those droplets stopped just like magic. The first ladies arrived, the guest book started filling up with signatures and “the hats” headed to the garden, bellinis in hand. Please join us…

Photo Credit : Maaike Bernstrom Photography
Photo Credit : Maaike Bernstrom Photography
Photo Credit : Maaike Bernstrom Photography
Photo Credit : Maaike Bernstrom Photography
Photo Credit : Maaike Bernstrom Photography
Photo Credit : Maaike Bernstrom Photography
Photo Credit : Maaike Bernstrom Photography
Photo Credit : Maaike Bernstrom Photography
Photo Credit : Maaike Bernstrom Photography
Photo Credit : Maaike Bernstrom Photography
Photo Credit : Maaike Bernstrom Photography

What makes for the ultimate house party gift? Something that is from the guest’s part of the world and that is special to her, that she wishes to share. Here, a handblown glass container (by Orbix) that pairs perfectly with the hostess’s favorite flower – a magenta pink ITOH peony.

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Bettie Bearden Pardee

About Bettie Bearden Pardee

Author of Private Newport and Living Newport, garden furniture designer (The Parterre Bench), national lecturer, and entertaining expert. An honoree for the second year on "The Salonniere 100 America's Best Party Hosts", she was also the host and creative producer of "The Presidential Palate: Entertaining at the White House".

16 thoughts on “Bellinis and Blossoms

  1. Bettie. I’m having the best time being a part of the Newport scene via your blog.
    Very entertaining, pretty and fun
    You are gifted
    Best, marjorie

  2. Oh , Bettie , just too beautiful for words. Besides the gorgeous garden and roses, loved the hats and shoes!! Much love, Sue

  3. What a magical gathering!
    Your house and garden are nonpareil!
    Guests in their chapeaux and the beautifully presented goodies, and the rain stopped…
    Prayer works!
    It was perfection.
    Merci mille fois, Bettie, you are a hostess extraordinaire.

    xo Margot

    1. But having you with me was frosting on the cake. I Thought of you last night as I arranged my Princess Margaretha roses and put them in one of your yummy Orbix vases.

  4. Every time I read one of your delightful posts I feel like I have enjoyed a personal visit. Each of your insights of Newport reminds me of our Dallas Garden Club trip to Newport and your beautiful home. Your return visit to Dallas is not to far away and I look forward to being with you soon.

    Fondly,
    Ann

  5. Bettie, I so do enjoy your blogs. I’m a very good friend of Anthony Picozzi and he turned me on to you and your books. Love them! Now I’ve found this treasure. Don’t you just adore face book?

    1. Thank you so much…and please thank Anthony for sending you our way.Yes, I adore Facebook…it’s addictive, though

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