Tuesday, June 10, 2008

How-To Garden Party

photo one - gardeners relaxing on the deck
photo two - my daughter watches as gardeners scope out what others brought to share (note the fancy dress. She hears the word "party" and goes all out)

I had never been to a literal garden party before, so I was excited when Karen invited my daughter and me to attend hers. She meets once every three or four months with like-minded women from all over New England whom she has met in her travels. The women share plants, tour her garden and chat. We had a lot of fun. Here are some thoughts and ideas for your own garden party that I picked up from attending Karen's festivities.

- Don't pick the hottest day of the year for your party if you can avoid it. My daughter was pounding down V8 juice like no one's business. (I love to take her on gardening adventures with me because I love her company and I think it's a good learning experience for her. But I think the most important thing she learned on this trip is that she loves V8 juice. Does anyone else have a five-year-old who goes for this stuff? I can't stomach it myself.)

- Encourage everyone to bring plants in pots to trade. Label the pots with as much information as possible. Lay the plants on the ground for attendees to peruse and choose what they would like. Karen is extremely generous and had dug quite a bit out of her large gardens for us. She was also willing to dig more if there was something we wanted. She ordered us to make sure no pots were left! I brought four items, but will try to bring more next time I attend a function like this.

- Do talk about your gardens and give the full grand tour. (My father used to call it the nickel tour, but I think with inflation these days it would be about $5 now.) People want to hear about what you have, where you found it, how it grows, etc. etc. I tend to be shy about speaking up, but people really do want to hear all about your gardening habits. Listening to others is one of the best ways to learn. Sharing stories with other gardeners is also a great way to pass the time. We all love to hear about others experiences in the dirt!

- Encourage others to bring food and drink and stay around awhile. Provide your own refreshment. Bring it out in stages. Karen's party was scheduled for 6 hours so people could drop in and out. Food was to be made available all day.

- Supply chairs that provide a great view of your garden spaces. Create a perfect outdoor atmosphere. Karen had up wind chimes and bird feeders that I know are there all the time, but they were perfect for our relaxing party.

I am hoping to have a party at the end of the summer to celebrate the upcoming publication of my book. (I am being positive that someone will pick it up by then.) I would love to hear more ideas about garden parties. Have you ever hosted one? Please let me know what made it special for you.


Daphne said...

That sounds like so much fun, except of course for the heat. And trading plants sounds like fun. I don't have anyone that I do that with, though I offer my plants often enough.

Amy said...

I garden party sounds like so much fun. I'd love to hear more about your book project when you are able to share. My husband is an author, and just signed a contract for another book, so I know how much work is involved.

Esther Montgomery said...

Having enough space to do it would be useful too!

Each year, I try to get to a similar event at Pennsylvania Castle (on Portland) (Dorset).

It isn't a private event - but a public one in aid of charity.

It is cheerful all the same, a good opportunity to look around, buy plants (and other things - like books) sit on the terrace with tea and scones, look at the tremendous sea-views - and wish life could always be like this!

Hope your book does get published!


P.S. Pennsylvannia Castle was built by the grandson of William Penn - who founded . . . um . . . Pensylvannia. (Though I expect that isn't the right name to describe it . . .. ?)


Wicked Gardener said...

Unfortunately, my garden isn't quite Garden Party status yet, but the 4th July becomes my version. I've been working hard trying to get the gardens in shape for the family to come over, but frankly most only have a passing interest in gardening. (BTW - my 5 y.o. daughter loves V8 too, but she is weird like that.)