This summer unofficially closed with a rare “balmy” night that prompted me to embrace the spirit of the last few months — finding a creative way to breach the stifling protocols of Covid-19, and continue my romance with the great outdoors, and my garden specifically. While I have typically used the gardens for daytime events and cocktail strolls with friends, I was inspired anew by the feel of this particular day. It promised to be a once-a-summer- night al fresco, so I made a quick call to two dear friends and started planning an early pop-up dinner for four.
The spot I chose? One that I had never considered for dinner, until this summer of very small gatherings…around the Parterre Bench in the Fountain Garden. It was a special view, looking across to the south-facing side of the house with the melodic sound of the fountain splashing in the water.
A put away and forgotten Italian linen cloth was my starting point; its perfect weight let it sway gracefully in the soft breeze.
It’s also the height of dahlia season now in Newport! A bird’s eye view of the supper scene shows them arranged in a footed metal epergne that is perfect for floating these beauties.
Fall colors, brightened with goldenrod yellow, speak to the subtle transition of a seasonal change, and yellow cherry tomatoes from our Cutting Garden add their seasonal note to the tablescape.
Of course I couldn’t resist giving the Parterre Bench a festive dress-up.
Trying a new setting for a supper table also gives us the opportunity to view plantings and design details from a new perspective.
May your Fall be filled with spontaneous moments with friends.