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.
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.
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…
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.