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Summer Dinner Party Tips

Throwing a summer dinner party? Master Gardener Carrie Petty shares a few tips:

The 4th of July really kicks off the summer entertaining season in our family. We love to host a great party, and its really become part of our summer traditions…The Summer Dinner Party.

Grab a couple sawhorses and a large piece of plywood, cover with a great fabric from JoAnn’s and set a beautiful table. Make large family style platters of food to pass, open some wine and enjoy these great summer evenings. I always ask the gals to pitch in something and bring a bottle of wine for the big bucket. Pasta salads, caprese salad with fresh farmer’s market tomatoes or a cutting board full of cheeses and cured meats looks pretty to pass. Gives that farm to table feel.

Chicken breasts on the grill are perfect because they can be added to any of the salads when sliced and put on a pretty platter to pass. I top mine with homemade fresh herb butter. Herbs chopped and whipped into soft sticks of butter, then rolled in wax paper like a log of cookie dough. Place butter log in the fridge and then slice off to top grilled meats. Perfect!

Don’t forget to use fresh green herbs or edible flowers for decorating; I even freeze a pretty bloom with a sprig of mint in my ice cubes for the water glasses. Adds a special touch to show your guest you care. And I always try to add an edible flower to the tossed salad.

Basic pre-preparation will help your party be a success. Create a great music list to play and buy lots of Citronella oil candles, they are a must. But two tips, you must trim the wicks so not to get all the black smoke and…light those candles an hour before guest arrive for a no bug bite night!

Make it fun and make it easy, but most important get together with friends and family and celebrate people! It is all part of helping you, “Grow a Beautiful Life!”

Carrie Petty is a fourth generation Hoosier! She is a lecturer, Master Gardener, as well as a top Garden and Lifestyle Blogger. An amateur naturalist, painter & photographer, Petty loves teaching families how to, “Grow a Beautiful Life.”NEWS: Now booking spring 2017 lectures, contact

Through her gardening & lifestyle blog: she can also be found on Twitter @Caroline_Garden