What a wonderful gift! On Tuesday, February 7, 2012, the hostesses for the monthly meeting prepared a bountiful and beautiful Colonial Tea. It was a glorious day – another gift, unseasonably warm and clear for February – as eleven guests and twenty-five members gathered at 11 a.m. at the clubhouse in Mill Pond Park. Lynn McHenry, one of the hostesses, presented a fascinating and informative program on “Entertaining with the Washingtons.” Pointing out that, in Washington’s words, Mount Vernon was a ‘well appointed tavern’ since scarcely any strangers who travel east to west or north to south, do not spend a day or two. In 1768, dinner guests were noted 82 of the 291 days on record. The menus of the time, as Lynn detailed, were extensive. After his eight years as President, he and Martha returned to Mount Vernon, where his retirement consisted of improving and developing his farms and entertaining guests. In 1798, the year before his death, 656 dinner guests were noted, with 677 overnight guests. In a perfect segue, Lynn continued with gardening in Colonial times. Washington and Jefferson were both involved in horticulture and garden design. Washington wanted a compromise between formality and the new pastoral styles that were very popular in England. He gave in to the natural elements with serpentine walks rather than straight paths off an axial. Jefferson, who inherited, at age 14, the land on which Monticello sits, spent much of his time after 1771 planning the landscaping. In 1822, near the end of his life, he wrote a friend: I thank you for the seeds…too old to plant for my gratification; I shall do it for posterity. What a wonderful example for us! Lynn concluded her program by inviting several members and guests to share their experiences – successes and failures – in gardening today. A spirited discussion ensued with the consensus that we are in a drought-prone area and the best plants are those that are native, but all of us do try, from time to time, to fool Mother Nature!Meanwhile, the other hostesses, Cathy Ledbetter, Aileen Roberts, and Clione Rochat had put the finishing touches on the tea tables and had the brewed tea ready to be served from the antique silver tea services. Punch, from the crystal punch bowl, was also available, as well as iced water from silver pitchers. Finger sandwiches with boiled ham, egg salad, or tarragon and cranberry chicken salad; sweet potato biscuits and tiny ham biscuits completed the array of foods. The dessert table featured a Burleson Buttermilk pound cake from an old family recipe, with lemon curd or Colonial baked cranberries as toppings. Also available were delicious shortbread and Hot ‘n Dot tiny spice cookies and nuts.Guests attending the Colonial Tea were: Karen Johnson, Martha Leigh Whitten, Donna Baker, Kathleen Hawkins, Joanne Weik, Pat Reavis, Kate Beckes, Celia Bell, Gail Eltgrath, Dianna Furlan, and LeAnne Pollock. New members Jimma Byrd, Sharon Conyers, and Andrea Robinson and ‘seasoned’ members: Pat Belk, Gail Bruner, Sherie Clarkson, Nelda Edgmon, Trish Fullerton, Bonnie Harkey, Imogene Hawkins, Sharon Hayes, Fran Hulgan, Cathy Ledbetter, Ann McElroy, Lynn McHenry, Marilyn Miller, Becky Moore, Sandra Parks, Jane Randolph, Aileen Roberts, Clione Rochat, Jeanne Sauer, Debbie Shahan, Patricia Warren, and Anna Wilson.