Anatomy of “Puttin On A Tea Luncheon” – First of Four Posts

Beautiful gardens in Laguna Beach

Beautiful gardens in Laguna Beach

IMG_1356 IMG_1357 IMG_1358

Later this week I am having a few good friends over for a tea luncheon…it’s a gift to a friend and I want it to be special, memorable.  It takes a bit of planning and I love doing it.   My plan is scribbled on a yellow pad.  Over the next few days, I’ll post how I am doing against this plan and show you the final results.  My confidence is high that the event will be a roaring success for two reasons…first, these friends are engaging, delightful, and  easy going.  Second, we will start with sparkling wine in the garden :-).  My best friend and I developed the luncheon menu using our Tea With Betty books. I will share the menu in tomorrow’s post.

The Plan:  Four areas to work on… Yard/Garden…House/Table Setting…Food Prep…Final Serving including Tea

One week out:  Action: Spruce up the garden and front yard –  Status:  Done!

Four days prior to luncheon:  Develop shopping list and prep schedule – Done!

Two days out:  Set tables and shop for non-perishables – prep a couple items

One day out:  Shop for perishables and prep items

Day of:  Assemble prepped food items, serve

This post is about the garden setting… I forget how much I love gardening until I get out there and start bringing things back to life after winter.  Since guests first impressions will be of the front yard & porch, table setting, and backyard garden where we will gather prior to sitting down for lunch, I spent considerable time in livening up the flower beds and pots.

While I was motivated to get my yard into shape because of the tea luncheon,  additional inspiration came from seeing stunning gardens a few days ago on a garden tour of  homes in Three Arch Bay, Laguna Beach (hosted by the Laguna Beach Garden Club.)   Below are a few photos of the gorgeously inviting courtyards and gardens on the Three Arch Bay garden tour.  Many were most inviting for sitting down with a cup of tea and a book.


Beautiful table setting...Bird's nest themed from home on Laguna Garden Tour

Beautiful table setting…Bird’s nest themed from home on Laguna Garden Tour

O.K. – While not as elaborate as the gardens on the Three Arch Bay tour, here’s my yard, ready for company—four days prior to my luncheon.

My first effort at planting a succulent pot...for our front porch

My first effort at planting a succulent pot…for our front porch

Don’t you love having parties at your own home as a motivating factor to “get things done around the house?”  I grew up in a household where if we were having guests, we all ran

My backyard...sprucing up for spring and for the upcoming tea luncheon for my best friend

My backyard…sprucing up for spring and for the upcoming tea luncheon for my best friend

IMG_1541 IMG_1545 IMG_1546 IMG_1549 IMG_1552around with specific chores to ensure the house looked nice for company.

With the yard and gardens ready…I can move onto the food planning and table setting.  Am going to make a pot of tea and relax a bit for the rest of the day.

Willie resting after helping me plant tomatoes...he can't wait for them to fruit.

Willie resting after helping me plant tomatoes…he can’t wait for them to fruit.


  1. You are so funny!! Your yard looks beautiful and I can’t wait to see the final product later this week! Thanks for taking us through the prep process.

    • Thanks T. I think you’ll enjoy it. I’m having fun for sure and my yard is done!!! yay….ready for BBQ season.

  2. Gorgeous photos, your garden looks like the perfect spot to take tea. Looking forward to the coming days!

    • Thanks, I do enjoy sitting looking at the garden with a cup of tea. If I can keep the snails and squirrels away from “most” of the produce, I’ll be happy. I don’t mind sharing… 🙂

  3. The last two weeks have been really busy. I am so looking forward to this Friday’s Tea. It’s going to be great relaxing, looking at your beautiful garden and as always enjoying your delicious receipes.

    • Thanks Jean…Looking forward to it too. You might want to bring a sweater as the weather is changing to be a bit cool.