Garden Parties, which were common during the Victorian Period, can run the gamut from a dressy afternoon tea to everyone arriving in their gardening ware to help work in the hostess's garden. The garden party is, also, an excellent idea to bring people together for gardening clubs, a wedding shower or for the first time homeowner. Each guest brings a plant (small shrubs, ornamental grasses or other perennials) and a tool, or other piece of gardening equipment, whether new or a gift from the guests own tool shed.
For parties with gift exchanges, guests can bring items relating to gardening such as a plant, tool, container, garden ornament, etc... The hostess will need to somewhat define what types of items that guests should bring such as indoor, outdoor, flowering, non flowering, tools, etc.
One way of giving away plants as favors is to use small potted plants on the tables as all or part of the table decorations or tiny potted plants can be used as place card holders. The nursery pots can be covered with tissue paper, burlap or other fabric and tied with a colorful ribbon or twine or even repotted into inexpensive decorative or plan clay pots. Plants that work great for this are: herbs (rosemary, thyme, sage, lavender), mini palms, mini schefflera, young Shasta daisies, sunflowers seedlings, young ornamental grasses or bamboo as well as starter plants such as tomatoes.
Handing out seedlings as wedding favors has been popular for quite sometime. However, there are some considerations to keep in mind.
• Seedlings are seasonal and only available November through May. During the summer months, one would need to select small potted evergreens or potted herbs.
• Plants need to be ordered 6 to 8 weeks in advance from the nursery or greenhouse so that delivery can be timed for the week before the wedding.
• Designate a person, or persons, to be responsible for separating the seedlings and bagging each one with a handful of moist peat. This needs to be done within a couple of days before the ceremony so that they are still fresh and then kept in a cool, dark area such as garage, basement or pantry.
• Where will the plants be held (at the ceremony or reception) before being handed out? It should again be a cool, dark area out of the way. Heat and sun will dry them out possibly causing the plants to wilt severely or kill them. Depending on how many guests are expected, these boxes can take up valuable space.
• The most commonly used plant varieties for handing out as favors are: pines, spruces, dogwoods, lilacs, red maples, even late spring/summer flowering bulbs.
Using plants for gifts or wedding favors is long lived. Be sure to keep in mind your guests lifestyle. If most of your guests are city dwellers residing in apartments, they are not going to have anywhere to plant most shrubs or trees, so herbs or flowers would be quite thoughtful.
Choose a place that has a lot of visual stimulation. Somewhere on water, or in a beautiful botanical garden. Ensure that there is enough seating for everyone, and if not bring large picnic blankets so people are comfortable to kick off their shoes and get comfy in the grass.
2. Guest list
Garden parties can be small and intimate or large and elegant. Design your invitations according to the guest list. If it's just a small picnic then maybe a funny email would suffice. If it's a birthday, graduation, or wedding choose something chic in the colours of the flowers.
No matter the size or occasion, there should be something for everyone to do. If the location is more private, music and dancing is always a fun choice.