Saturday, November 12, 2011

Seaside Gardening

The key to seaside gardening is blending a garden into its surroundings.  Obviously, weather is a very large factor in selecting plants for your seaside retreat.  Plants need to be able to stand up to the harsh winds living by the ocean bring. 

 Day Lillies and Shasta Daisies are two examples of perennials that can stand up to life at the beach! 

 Vinca, Sweet Assylum and Wishbone Flower are a few annuals that do well. 

 In our new garden at the Jersey Shore, shrub roses and hydrangea perform beautifullly. 

 Our section of our little island is home to many pine trees and olive trees appear to do well beside them.  When we designed our beach-side garden, we wanted it to be colorful, yet virtually maintenance free.  So far, so good!

Grasses are a staple in the Northeast seaside areas.  Very little maintenance and can certainly stand up to the winds.  We incorporated an old anchor from a salvage yard into our landscaping. 

Hardscaping in tones of blue-green can mimic the hue of the sea.  Wood is always a natural choice.  We just finished installing a ground level entrace patio out of epe wood which has now become a haven from the sun with a few teak lounge chairs!

The gardens of Nantucket are just amazing!  Something about their naturally-weathered shingles against all of those bright, colorful flowers.

The blue of the Caribbean Sea is a stunning background in and of itself!

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Sunset Over the Bay!

There is so much I love about the beach.  The days spent on the beach or boating on the bay. One of my favorite times of the day is watching the sunset over the bay.   Everyone gathers on our deck after a full day to watch this event, chat about their day and enjoy cocktails and hors d'oueveres before dinner.

Some of my favorite conversations have been had over wine and cheese on the deck.  It's a wonderful time for everyone to share their water experiences.  Speaking of cheese ... our local cheese store on Long Beach Island has made me basically obsessed with one of their cheeses. At their suggestion, I tried a piece of their cheese rubbed in espresso.  I was hooked! 

I think my wine always tastes much better when I am sipping from my starfish red wine glass. Can it be the amount of wine this glass can hold?

After a day on the beach, or boating on the bay, our family and guests gather on our deck for our pre-dinner cocktails and hors d'ouevres.  We always have a selection of cheese from my new-found favorite Bellavistano Espresso to simple mozzarella. 

As I love all of the serving pieces we stock at By the Sea Decor, I own many of them and enjoy using them especially for our gathering time.  Our cheese is always served on the Granite Cheese tray shown below:

Chips and dip are usually housed in one of these beautiful serving platters:

Our baskets are filled with bread for dipping and crackers for cheese:

A few of my favorite functional and beautiful serving platters that will become staples on your seaside table:

Don't forget the plates . . . our starfish appetizer plates are perfect . . . add a set of Isola Bella hand-printed cocktail napkins . . . and let the conversation flow!

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Tapas on a Sunday Afternoon

When our daughter was studying abroad in Barcelona, one of my favorite events was enjoying the many tapas bars in the city.  Everywhere you looked there were people socializing over their favorite beverage and tapas.  As dinner is served so late in Spain, tapas became a kind of appetizer before the 9-11 dinner hour.  I found that I relished tapas so much, that I did not even need dinner after that. 

We found a wonderful tapas restaurant in Chelsea called Tia Pol within talking distance of the High Line Park.  They serve a delicious array of tapas with my favorite . . .  aoli sauce, which, I might add can be used on just about anything!  Although no one can make empanada like my Cuban mother-in-law, I appreciate the empanadas served as tapas.

Entertaining at home with tapas can be a great experience.  Ask guests to experiment with making a tapa or two to share.  Pair tapas with a Rioja or Tempranillo wine to get the whole vibe.

Our small plates are perfect for your small plates!