By Lana Torre
Last Sunday I finished planting my garden. Red geraniums, white geraniums and lots of blue lobelia add so much charisma to the garden. Some of the spring blooming perennials have opened their pretty little faces of color. The Spring garden is so fresh. The grass, creeping so close to the flower beds, is a bright, light green. The excitement of the garden makes me excited to plan a party for my friends- a garden party!
A few tips to plan your own party: First, set the stage. Pick the perfect spot in your garden and create the right setting. A shady spot is best, near a blooming bed. If your garden is in the afternoon sun, grab your table umbrella. Decorate the umbrella by hanging paper lanterns from the spokes, or if your theme is beachy, hang seashells with twine. An evening party is fun too, hang strings of fun lights. I have seen lobster lights, red chili lights and even champagne bottles. Fasten them to the umbrella using large clips or clothes pin.
Choose your dishes carefully. Clear glass plates always look fresh and inviting and work with any theme. Antique plates in lively floral patterns will give you a shabby chic look. Create the canvas for your table using white table linens. If you don’t own any, make a trip to goodwill or a thrift shop. You will certainly find the perfect linens there. If you own silver flatware, use it. Most of us only use it for the holidays, if at all. Wine goblets can be used for homemade lemonade. Always add a slice of fresh citrus.
Third, make individual flower arrangements for each place setting. Use old canning or jelly jars as vases. I once used cleaned fruit cocktail cans – they were totally cute. Fill your vases with cut flowers, leaves and herbs. And if you hate to cut flowers from your early garden, take a drive and collect some from the roadside. Even wild weeds are acceptable. Remember “ a weed is a plant that grows where you don’t want it too”.
Lastly, consider your menu. Make small sandwiches and cut off the crusts. Use your cake stand to hold them. Serve lots of fresh fruits sliced very, very thinly. Dessert should be light too. Make macaroons or meringues, or serve frozen yogurt in pretty pastel colors. Always remember, presentation is more important than flavor.
The stage is set. The canvas of your party table is painted with colorful flowers and seasonal food. The only untouched detail is the music. Download Ricky Nelson’s “Garden Party” and enjoy an afternoon with your BFF’s.