Using Your Own Garden for Entertaining

shutterstock_385031635When I was young, my Aunt Ellen never came for a visit without cutting roses from her garden as a hostess gift for my Grandmother. I remember the beautiful multicolored and scented bouquets and how my grandmother would rave about them. I can hardly picture my Aunt’s face without thinking of her prized roses. Years later, a dear friend of mine visited my home on California’s Central Coast to cut garden and cottage roses to fill vases for an elegant bridal shower. The simplicity of the nodding roses alongside coordinated but unmatched china gave a personal, understated elegance to the event.

floating flowers peonies candles

Float fragrant flowers and candles in conversation areas.

Maintaining a garden that can be sourced for bouquets and centerpieces, while never really out of style, has become increasingly popular as we strive to add meaning and a personal touch to entertaining after straying over time from the graces of yesteryear. Flowers from our own garden just feel good. Nothing makes a home feel just a little more joyful than a vase full of cut perennials sitting on the kitchen table and a centerpiece boasting hydrangeas or peonies can punctuate a late Spring dinner party. Don’t forget to float gardenias, peonies or magnolias with candles in conversation areas for beautifully scented ambiance. When planning your garden with entertaining in mind, think about the different seasons and how you like to entertain. What types of blooms and greenery do you like to use? Most of all, plant what you love because this is all about adding your personal style to your entertaining.

Don’t forget that your garden itself can serve as a dramatic and colorful backdrop for a patio or garden party and that potted plants can be moved around as needed to decorate areas where your guests will linger. A large pot overflowing with trailing annuals near a bistro table adds a nice touch and potted herbs offer ready to cut sprigs to be added to lemonade or cocktails for guests (think mint for mojitos and lavender for lemonade). Another wonderful thing about using potted plants is that you can enjoy them long after the party is over. We threw a butterfly themed birthday party for my daughter a few years ago and filled pots with butterfly attracting perennials that went from decoration to gift – my daughter’s very own butterfly garden – and she is still enjoying it!

5 Tips for Outdoor Entertaining:
1. When planning your garden, consider planting things that flower at different times throughout the summer.
2. Decorate the areas where you know your guests will linger.
3. Plant nectar and pollen-rich plants like wildflowers and butterfly bushes to attract butterflies.
4. Float flowers like gardenias or magnolias with candles in conversation areas for beautifully scented ambiance.
5. Sprinkle flowers in vases around your space just like you would indoors.
6. Consider moving a few upholstered chairs outside to make the space feel like a room.
7. Grow roses on a trellis and use it to create a separate space.

8. You can never go wrong with twinkly lights! I love stringing them through out my garden.
9. Use rugs to create different conversation areas.
10. And don’t forget when you’re a guest, a beautiful vase and cut flowers from your own garden can make the nicest hostess gifts.

flowers in vase

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Author: Jennifer Bennington

Jennifer Bennington is a Realtor with Berkshire Hathaway Home Services and a freelance writer living in the Triangle with her husband, two children and two beautiful Shelties Originally from California, she has enjoyed exploring and discovering the Raleigh, Durham, Chapel Hill area and loves sharing "Tips" from the place she proudly calls home.;