This past week we were busy prepping, cleaning and prettying for a fall fundraiser we hosted in support of our local park. I was very fortunate to have many many helping hands so the setup and cleanup were a breeze. The best part about that was I was able to spend more time putting some lipstick on this late summer yard.
When I volunteered to host an outdoor party in February, I was clearly forgetting what late September looks like in the garden – burned out grass, crunchy plants and dead flowers in pots. In our country house late summer was quite charming but I had a couple of planting years under my belt there and established grass. Not here.
So, I had to do a bit of finessing and faking and hiding but it all turned out well and we raised record money which is really what matters!
This is the back door and as you can see the porch is in rough shape. Some mums and ferns helped soften the area. The allium in the pots is well past its prime but I find the dried flower globes so charming.
This is the same courtyard area and here are the window boxes – planted! I dropped in a mum, coreopsis, creeping jenny, cabbage and euonymous at the 11th hour.
Some mums to brighten up a dark seating spot. This was the path to the party so it had to look just as festive.
And, these were strung as well. These gardenias were a last-minute act of desperation. One of the topiaries in these pots died 3 days before the party, so I had to do some moving around. Let’s just say they looked better at night with their little fairy lights on. I bought moss at the craft shop because the petunias were spent and I actually really like the look – simple and green. Easy!
Okay, so onto the party setup. I was too busy to take during and after pictures but here are some befores. And, fortunately our talented neighbor/photographer took some of the party after dark.
We set up the tables in the lower yard and the caterer used the corner space down there to set up her L table. Guests didn’t have to take plates up and down the stairs which was a concern of mine. We did set the wine table up in the upper yard by the grove of trees to entice people to look at the art that was displayed in that area. Artists associated with Brandywine Plein Air spent the day at the local park painting different scenes. Most of the pieces sold and all the artists sold at least one piece – a good night!
If you look carefully at the tabletop below you can see one osage orange – ONE. They are my standby pot and bowl fillers for fall and when I took the kids on our annual hunt a smidge earlier than usual, we learned that only the very rotted oranges had fallen. That is when the Plan B took effect – store bought moss.
The night before my husband went on a tear and decided to make a top for one of the urns. The other one is a firepit. The stain color leaves some to be desired but it did the job and a little grey stain wash will soften that right up. It worked out well for some of our older party goers who did not want to attempt the stairs. We had seating for 20 on the patio for that purpose and all those seats were taken.
A neighbor made and donated the centerpieces. We were all so so grateful as quite honestly the tables would have likely held hurricanes with candles and a little bit of cut boxwood. Night and day!
All pictures below credited to Jim Salvas.
Now off to go put my feet up and read Danielle Rollins’ book Soiree Entertaining with Style.