Summer Supper in the Garden at Bee Cottage

At least once a summer I like to have dinner in the garden where we do it up. So we did it up last weekend.

Bee Cottage – summer supper in the garden

The occasion here is for Jane Scott Hodges and her book Linens for Every Room and Occasion, following her signing at Mecox Gardens in East Hampton hosted (where youmay call to order the book) by Chesie Breen, Charlotte Moss, and me. (You can click on the Mecox website and call to order the book πŸ™‚

The Garden at Bee Cottage

Jane, you may know, is the founder of Leontine Linens which grace some of the most stylish beds and tables in the land. And then they grace a few of mine, including those at Bee. I wrote a bit on her book a while back, HERE. The book is fab.

The tables and chairs (with rented linens, alas) go to this end.

The Garden at Bee Cottage

And the bar goes here, at the other end of the pool.

The Garden at Bee Cottage – Armillary

The porch gets a little spiffing. That plexiglass disc in the center of the pouf makes a level surface but leaves room for people to perch around it. That’s what you do on a pouf: perch.

Bee Cottage – on the porch
Bee Cottage – Annabel Hydrangeas

The dining chairs from around the porch table relocate to improvise seating areas in the garden.

Bee Cottage – improvised garden seating area
Bee Cottage – garden seating area
Bee Cottage – Annabel Hydrangeas, dahlia, and cosmos

Around to the side, the raised beds and grape arbor remain pretty much as is,…

Bee Cottage – raised beds looking toward grape arbor

…with a bunch of oak leaf hydrangeas on the table I hope does not collapse by dinner’s end. The flowers and the armillary brighten this darkish corner of the garden.

Bee Cottage – Hydrangeas under the grape arbor.

Summer is all about casual and laid back and can I bring my cousin visiting from Richmond. In other words, buffets work best, don’t you think? Praying for good weather (and for no more awful injuries in the World Cup) is  burden enough without the penance of place cards and seating plans.

With garden as backdrop, the tables don’t need much. Lanterns, votives, and roses floating in glass containers. The napkins were embroidered with pink polka dots around the border. Simple and enough.

Bee Cottage – summer supper in the garden

East Hampton artist Richard Udice did the flowers for the porch and tables. So lovely and just right. I love doing them myself, but not enough time this time. As a friend of mine’s grandfather used to tell him, “Son, you do what you can–and sometimes you can’t even do that.”

Everything’s almost ready… Flowers by East Hampton artist Richard Udice.

Dinner is served on the round table under the awning, which is handy in case of sprinkles, in which case the lawn tables are abandoned, and it’s every man for himself inside the house. It happens.

Fortunately and hallelujah the only sprinkles were from the fountain, which I still cannot quite believe, because it is ridiculous, but funny. Photo by Kelli Delaney Kot via  on Instagram.

Bee Cottage pool with fountains, photo by Kelli Delaney via her Instagram @kdhamptons 

Fortunately the rain held off this night. 

Thank you Hurricane Arthur. Having spent 4th of July as scullery maid on hands and knees in relentless deluge bailing out basement window-well which wasn’t draining (any insight on that I’m happy to hear, btw),

Frances bailing at Bee Cottage. Photo by Alex Hitz.

… said maid was all the more grateful for the beauteous weather the week following, including for last Friday’s dinner.

(If you’d like a signed, autographed copy of the above photo, let me know.)

Not only was it clear and cool, we had the Super Moon. Like a theater prop, it was, rising over the trees just as we were sitting down. Photo via my Instagram.

Bee Cottage – Summer Supper in the Garden – via Instagram

Thank you again Brent Newsome Caterer for the sublime sea bass, sticky rice cake, spinach, and watermelon and tomato salad, and Alex Hitz for the Berry Cobbler (recipe to come! ) A perfect summer menu.

The gardens at Bee are what they are thanks to Jane Lappin and Wainscott Farms, and Maureen and Lazaro. Thank you all, as always. 

Goodnight, (Super) Moon.



  1. Absolutely inspiring – and we are just back from seeing Sissinghurst. Thank you for sharing!

  2. Frances! This looks to be the perfect summer party!! The colors in your gorgeous garden and the tables – it looks like a little bit of heaven on earth! We were on the water and in the water that night and it was spectacular with the super pink moon rising!! It is a joy to not only read your clever blog but the photos are stunning!! And I have already heard how wonderful the party was.. Bravo to you for being so creative and gracious entertaining with so much chic warm style !!

  3. Your gardens and colors of the linens are just so summery and soft and lovely. A perfect backdrop to what, I am sure, was a memorable evening for all your guests. Brava, hostess par excellence !t

  4. Lovely !!! i, too, love the colors in your garden with the arranged flowers and table linens. Great ideas, as I am off to Cape Cod for the rest of the summer, and even though my eleven “grands” will be hooping it up, I hope to do a little adult entertaining. How did you control the insects, or were you just lucky that evening? Thanks for your blogs and great photos. Always uplifting and interesting !!

    1. Thank you dear Kathi, and I’m glad to hear you are “adult entertaining.” It is good for children to learn by example – both how to behave and how to do. We loved going to the grown-ups’ parties, if only for a few minutes. We’d get dressed up, maybe help pass an hors d’oeuvres or two, everyone would tell us how adorable we were, and about the time they were tired of us, we were tired of them, and off we’d go to play in the sand dunes. About the insects. I had about 7 large Citronella candles going, but I also think we were lucky. I didn’t have a single bite – and they love me… Let us know how it goes. x Frances

  5. Super Moon fans on the left coast now know the r-e-a-l reason behind last weekend’s lunar magnificence. That super moon was so super charmed by your Supper in The Garden. Thanks for the show & tell explanation, Fabulous Frances!

  6. What a treat to see the gardens at Bee Cottage. I can’t imagine a more perfect backdrop with super moon for such a wonderful dinner. The weathered teak garden bench is absolutely divine! Does it come with a story?

    1. Thank you dear Alison, we were lucky! About the teak benches – I got a pair of them years ago (like, 20?) through Atlanta designer John Oetgen. We painted them with high gloss marine paint, white, stuffed them with green toile cushions and pillows and used them in a mountain house in NC when I lived in Atlanta. Sadly that house was never photographed. I sold the house but kept the benches and finally brought them here. Stripped the paint, obviously. having some trouble with the slats but they are holding up okay so far. Neither John nor I can remember where they came from — maddeningly! xo Frances

  7. What a gorgeous, gorgeous night, Frances! And a wonderful thing to celebrate. I can’t wait to check out the book. There just really isn’t anything quite like Leontine… Sigh… Glad you (and Bee Cottage) survived Arthur! And it’s probably a good thing that no one has pictures of Will and me, him in boxers, me in PJ’s, wearing little Will’s explorer headlamp, up on ladders screwing boards into the ceiling when the roof hatch to the widows walk blew off! The things we do for the homes we love! Unfortunately, our Beaufort garden doesn’t look quite like yours. It seems to be the last line item in the renovation. Maybe it will be spruced and ready in time to have a party when YOUR new book comes out! xo

    1. Oh Kristy you do paint quite a picture, my goodness! Hope your house was okay and Beaufort not too badly beaten – I hear it was okay… Thank you so much for writing – and don’t worry – your garden will happen in its own time. Thank you so much for writing, xo Frances

  8. A perfect setting for a glamorous summer dinner.The garden, the tables, flowers but how do you supervise that garden when you are often in Santa Ynez.Thank you for the glimpse of Hamptons life for a full time West Coast gal.Elana

    1. Thank you Elana! All during that rain I kept wishing we could send it to California! About the garden, after five summers here, we have a pretty good routine. I don’t have a gardener, but I am lucky to have great local people helping. Couldn’t do it without them. Now if I can just get a routine down in California… Ah, one thing at a time, right? Thanks for writing. x Frances

  9. Girl, the dahlias are DIVINE! Now about that berry cobble recipe; need it stat. I am working my way through Atlanta @ Table & My Beverly Hills Kitchen one lb. at a time in anticipation of your visit to the Triangle. We are gonna’ throw you one heck of a dinner party but frankly my dear am torn between your Best Brownies Ever & AH’s Best Ever Brownies. Oh Fiddley Dee I think we will just gonna’ go with lemon ice box pie. He is a a-d-o-r-a-b-l-e & am itching to meet him! Loved his fried chicken segment on The Chew! Your “partay” looked amazing & hope you are now working on Bee Entertained Book!

    1. Thank you Miss Seeker. Hope the cobbler turns out great. A toss-up between Alex’s brownies and mine, but no question his fried chicken is the bomb! Yes he is adorable, and he is also a good speaker – just sayin’ πŸ™‚ – Love to you and can’t wait to come back “home” πŸ™‚ xox F

  10. We in California can only rejoice for you and the gorgeous greens in Bee Cottage garden,(tinged with more than a little envy!) THis was a spectacular event. Bravo! XX Kate

    1. Thank you dear Kate – as I said to Alana Donovan earlier – I kept wishing our 4th of July rain would blow over to the Santa Ynez Valley. Miss you all. Love, Frances

  11. I love that Bee Cottage. You alone have made it so inviting and enjoyable for all of us to look at. I love your style and grace. Not as in Your Grace.

  12. Frances,apsolutely the most beautiful party,thank you for sharing,you are truly so talented,again I must say your wonderful Mother ,Ruth, would be so proud and thrilled with you.Love MW

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