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Spring is an amazing time in a New Jersey garden. I grew up in Rhode Island where winter in the garden was long, cold, and lonely. Then one day, usually in early June, it was summer. In New Jersey, the air warms slowly and much earlier. Spring flowers really get a chance to put on a show for us all to enjoy which is why a garden party is a great idea.
I usually try to throw my garden party in conjunction with my peonies blooming. I grow several varieties so I tend to get six to eight weeks of their fabulous blooms. I will usually cut from my own garden for my arrangements and then embellish with market flowers. Whether you enjoy creating your own arrangements or prefer to hire a floral designer, he or she may be willing to cut from your garden but be sure to leave enough blooms so that your gardens still shine. I love being able to cut from my client’s gardens, too. They often have things that I cannot buy in the market and their plants are often in better condition.
When planning your garden party arrangements, try to think outside of the box when you head outside with your clippers. For instance, tree branches can make quite a statement when you want to add accent to a vertical arrangement. Hosta leaves can be amazing in a design and add a real tropical and finished look. Oh, and that mushroom you were going to throw out, think again. It might look great on the mantel in a fabulous woodsy design. Always look in your own backyard first before heading off to the flower shop.
There is always great pride in being able to say, “that came from my garden.” Always be sure to cut your blooms either early in the morning or late in the afternoon when the sun is not too hot. It is very important to properly condition your flowers. Place your freshly cut flowers in lukewarm water and let them sit for at least four hours or overnight. They will be lass likely to wilt that way. Also, be creative when choosing your containers for display. A beautiful serving bowl in silver or one with an interesting china pattern will do nicely.
I like to make the bar a destination at my parties. My guests are greeted at the front door and then walk through the house to the patio and garden. By strolling through the garden to get to the bar, everyone gets a chance to enjoy the garden. At the end of their stroll they are rewarded with a tasty mojito or other “house” cocktail made with fresh mint from my herb garden.
May through June is a great time to plan an outdoor party. We are all ready to leave the cold weather behind and enjoy the fresh air and sweet scents from the garden. Whether you choose to throw a cocktail party, afternoon lunch, buffet dinner, or, go all out with a sit down dinner party, any style will do. Your invitation can set the theme for the event and then you should continue it throughout with the décor, the food, music, and even a special cocktail. Live music is a real treat for your guests and need not be too pricey if you choose a small ensemble – one musician playing the steel drum is simple, fun, and unexpected.
Even though it’s the start of summer the evening air can get chilly. An outdoor fire is sure to please. There is an excellent assortment of creative firebowls and chimerias on the market – be sure to see what your local artisans have in their studios! Also, a pretty thrown on a chair comes in handy if one of your guests gets chilly.
Gardens are a work in progress. If you are anything like me, you’ve been working on yours for years. Isn’t it time you invited your friends to enjoy it? My company, Greystone Designs, will be more than happy to consult with you on your garden party or any other event you want to host. Remember that perfection is impossible and it is the illusion of perfection that we all enjoy so very much! Call us at 609-306-1907 or visit the website at http://www.greystoneevents.com/. Happy Spring!
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