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Entertaining in the Garden

Local retailers make it easy to personalize your outdoor soiree.

Orient Expressed Buffet

linda r. bjork photographs

It is the perfect time of year to entertain guests in the garden or out by the pool. I went to three of my favorite stores – Judy at the Rink, Orient Expressed and perch. – and collected items that would whet your appetite for your next intimate soirée. I first want to thank Bill and Pam Ryan for all of their help and for allowing us to photograph in their beautiful garden!

We set up a buffet table from Orient Expressed and added a long banana runner to the table. We took a whitewashed candlestick and added flowers paved in a square piece of oasis and placed on top where a candle would have gone. Shrimp salad was served in a Beatriz Ball serving platter and sliced avocados and onion slices on the other Beatriz Ball serving dish. The Abagail soup tureen contained a smoked tomato and basil soup. We used a pouf to place the orange napkins with the Lucite napkin holders with flowers. We also used their hammered silverware and serving pieces.

Perch. has an assortment of neat looking plastic glasses and plates that are fabulous for outdoor parties. Their stackable chairs in white are so easy to keep clean, and of course I had to add some of their huge faux flowers as chair-back bouquets. Just tie them with ribbons and add a name so guests know where they are sitting. We used a woolen throw for the tablecloth, Le Jacquard dishtowels with bracelets for napkin rings and the dinner napkins and three aqua clear vases filled with yellow calla lilies for the centerpiece.

Judy at the Rink has a number of different local artists to choose from – including Monet France, Steve Hasslock and Elaine Gleason  – but we decided on plates and a fish pitcher by Nick Vietri, which we filled with roses and sunflowers. As a favor, we found paintings of famous New Orleans restaurants by Jax and small colorful polka-dot pots filled with faux flowers. The hand-painted glasses by Susie Spaag have everything from snowballs to red beans on them.

Judy at the Rink Casual Lunch in the Garden

perch. Early Dinner by the Pool

All of these stores have many more fabulous items to choose from, so check them out and create your own outdoor party!

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