The sun has been making a very welcome appearance in Edinburgh recently. Now that spring seems to have landed on our doorsteps, I don’t know about you, but my mind is awash with the prospect of outdoor dinners, gatherings, picnics and general merriment with close friends and family. Perhaps it’s a symptom of owning my own home, but there was a time when gardening didn’t hold much appeal. But now that I have access to my own little patch of green, I find my mind occupied with what flowers and plants would help to make the most of my garden. Musings on outdoor floral arrangements soon picked up speed and all of a sudden, my thoughts turned to hosting a full-scale garden party with delicious food, great wine, gorgeous flowers and of course, only the best in company.
After my thoughts – and imagination – had run away with me, I started to think about how I might put the wheels in motion and turn my party from a fantasy into reality. It turns out that there is a great deal of help at hand and I found this piece on Woman’s Day really helpful and it raised a few points that I hadn’t considered. The main one being, I didn’t have a theme in mind.
To the rescue was Martha Stewart (I have always wanted to say that). Her website is choc-full of inspiration on themes, from advice on choosing the right one for you, to examples of how to execute your vision. My love for all things vintage-inspired, means that I am a sucker for ceramic jugs used as vases – I will be recreating the Pitcher Bouquet Centerpiece for my garden party. Keeping with a more subdued theme, my decorations will be simple with iris reticilata and bright yellow tulips tied with ribbon for a more relaxed feel.
If you are swayed by bright colours and thoughts of sunnier climates, a Hawaiian or South Pacific theme might be more up your street. Using tropical plants, such as red ginger or a frangipani to embellish the tables and chairs at your party, will convince your guests they have been transported to a tropical island getaway without even a hint of a miniature cocktail umbrella.
Now that you’ve dealt with your theme and your flowers, it’s time to think about the food. Your food could easily match your theme. By adopting a French theme, cheeses, meats, baguettes and wine should be in abundance – you might not be able to go to Paris, but you can bring Paris to your guests. If you want to go that extra mile, you could even order in authentic produce from the country your theme is based around, but remember to do this in advance.
Good wines are now much easier to come by, with Marks and Spencer having a range of exclusive wine offers on their website. Whether it’s Italian, French or something more exotic, their selection of good wines is extensive and will help your party go with a bang.
Not only does throwing a garden party provide you with the opportunity to show off your gardening skills, but if you’re a crafty type, it allows you to put these skills to good use. HGTV has some great ideas on how to create place settings using your party theme. It also shows you how to add special touches such as guest place tags, petals from flowers grown in your garden, and centerpieces with any plants, vegetables, or flowers you’ve cultivated. You should be able to find the items you need to put together your decorations and table settings in craft shops. Try to incorporate as many items that follow your theme as possible.
Once the sun has got his hat on again, I plan on throwing my summer garden party. Look out for the pictures coming soon and let me know if any of you have any garden party plans up your sleeves.