Memorial Day Garden Party – Planning A Memorial Day Garden Cookout

By: Susan Albert, Freelance Garden Writer

If you’re a gardener, what better way to show off the fruits of your labor than by hosting a garden party. If you grow vegetables, they can be the star of the show, along with the main dishes. Are you a flower guru? You can make incredible centerpieces for the buffet table and decorate containers around the patio. And even if you’re not a gardener, a backyard Memorial Day garden cookout offers a great kickoff to the summer season.

Here are tips on how to get the party started.

Garden Party for Memorial Day

Need some ideas on how to celebrate Memorial Day in the garden? We’re here to help.

Plan Ahead

To make any party a success, be sure to plan ahead. Start with a guest list and invitations (if social distancing is still in place, keep the invites limited to less than 10 people). Invites can be mailed out or just emailed to friends and family. Or take advantage of social media if everyone is connected.

Decide ahead of time if the Memorial Day garden party will be a potluck or you plan to prepare most of the dishes. If you decide to take it all on, at least assign a couple people to bring yard games for the kids. Another idea is asking everyone to bring a dessert to relieve some of the burden.

Also think about decorations in advance. Do you already have red, white and blue items that can be used? If not, an inexpensive option is to decorate with red, white, and blue balloons, pinwheels, and U.S. stick flags or garden flags. Checkered paper tablecloths provide a festive look plus easy cleanup. Flowers from your garden make an easy centerpiece.

Decide on a Menu

  • If it’s a potluck, assign a category to each guest to minimize duplicates or everything showing up but the potato salad. Have them bring their fare in disposable containers such as foil trays.
  • Include easy-to-eat (think walking around while eating) appetizers to stave off hunger till the main course is ready.
  • Plan for a thirsty crowd. Look around your home for suitable containers to ice the sodas, beer, and water. In addition to coolers, any large container can be used. Just line it with a trash bag and fill it with ice and drinks.
  • Make pitchers of a refreshing adult drink such as Sangria or Margaritas. Pitchers of iced tea or lemonade also can quench the thirst buds.
  • Do as much on the grill as possible. An assortment of vegetables on skewers can be grilled as well as corn on the cob, hamburgers, hot dogs, and turkey burgers or chicken pieces.
  • Include classic side dishes such as potato salad, coleslaw, baked beans, potato chips, garden salads and fruit salads.
  • Take advantage of what you grow in your garden, i.e. lettuces and other greens, blueberries, strawberries, asparagus or whatever is ripe for the picking.
  • Put a note in the invitations for guests to let you know if there are dietary restrictions. Then also include some vegan and gluten free choices.
  • Don’t forget the relish tray with sliced tomatoes, lettuce, onion, pickles, sliced avocado, and sliced cheeses. Condiments such as barbecue sauce, ketchup, mustard and mayonnaise should be close by.
  • For dessert, choose fruits in season, frozen bars, watermelon, apple pie ala mode, s’mores, or a red, white and blue dessert.

Prepare a Playlist

Have the music selections picked out a couple days ahead so there is no last-minute scrambling for music while the burgers burn. Be sure the outdoor speakers and electronic equipment are set up ahead of time and do a practice run.

Dress the Yard

Tidy up the area where the party takes place; mow if necessary. Decorate with potted plants and flowers, round up the extra chairs and buffet table(s).

All that is left to do is have fun and pay respect to the veterans we honor on Memorial Day.

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Memorial Garden: Make a Permanent Tribute in Your Garden

Honor a soldier or someone special with a garden tribute.

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Plant a Memorial Garden

Memorial Day is a time to remember a fallen loved one or hero. Think of ways to honor their memory in the garden.

Photo by: Image courtesy of Lynn Coulter

Image courtesy of Lynn Coulter

Gardens are often filled with memories. When hummingbirds visit the bright red blooms on the cypress vine in my yard, I think of my mother, who gave me the seeds. My neighbor fondly remembers the grandmother who gave her a cutting from a beloved 'Joseph’s Coat' rosebush.

Some of our most special memories revolve around loved ones who are no longer with us. Memorial Day is a perfect time to plant in honor of our veterans. Creating a memory garden can be as simple as planting a single tree, or as elaborate as designing a new flower bed.

Before you start your memory garden, consider whether your spot gets sun or shade. While it might be tempting to plant underneath a tree, remember that it may be too shady there, and there may be too many roots in the ground, for plants to thrive. If you still want to plant there, try above-ground planters. Fill them with good organic matter and well-draining soil, and use plants that won’t need much sun after the leaves appear in spring.

A memorial planting doesn’t require a lot of room. Use a corner of your yard a container on your porch or deck or a box on the balcony of your apartment or townhouse. A single specimen plant, like a rose or hydrangea, is fine if you’re short on space.

Let one of these other ideas spark your imagination for honoring someone special:

  • If you have enough space, create an enclosed area. This could be a physical structure, like a small gazebo, or a garden “room” where tall plants, trees, shrubs and grasses form the “walls.” The idea is to give you a sense of privacy, so you can spend time in reflection or prayer.
  • Use plants from your loved one’s garden. Transplant favorite bulbs and tubers save seeds for sowing or root cuttings from shrubs and other plants.
  • Plant in a heart shape or other meaningful design.
  • Incorporate plants with special meanings. Baby’s breath suggests innocence and gentleness, while Easter lilies symbolize faith and new life. Amaranth represents everlasting beauty. Rosemary stands for remembrance.
  • Use plants in your loved one’s favorite color or patriotic colors.
  • Plant a tree. Southern magnolias, blue spruce trees, gingkos, beeches, maples and oaks are long-lived and seldom bothered by diseases. Eastern redbuds and dogwoods burst into bloom each spring. A Japanese dwarf maple makes a striking focal point.
  • Plant a theme garden, such as a butterfly garden for someone who loved butterflies, or grow plants that attract birds for someone who enjoyed watching them.
  • Roses have their own “language of color.” Red represents romantic love, while pink roses indicate admiration and appreciation. Yellow stands for friendship, and white means honor and respect. Do a little research online to learn more.
  • If sun is scarce, try hostas and ferns for a shady memorial. The flowers or colorful foliage of Astilbe, impatiens, coleus, hydrangeas, fancy-leaved caladiums, creeping jenny, Browallia, and tuberous begonias will brighten the spot.
  • Add a stepping-stone or plaque inscribed with a quote, or purchase a kit that allows you to personalize a small cement stone.
  • Choose an appropriate statue for your garden, such as an angel for a child or an eagle for a veteran.
  • Place a bench or chair in your memorial area, so you can rest and meditate there.

6 Ways to Make Memorial Day More Memorable

Backyard barbecues, long weekends, and good times with friends and family…these are the ways that most of us celebrate Memorial Day. But this special day wasn’t meant to be all fun and games. Memorial Day is actually a very important holiday that honors the men and women who have bravely given their lives serving our country. It’s a day meant to remember those courageous individuals who have sacrificed so much to secure all of the freedoms that we enjoy today. While Memorial Day can still include cookouts, beach trips and relaxing by the pool, start a few more meaningful traditions this year to remember this day of remembrance.

  1. Let Your American Pride Fly High

Salute the heroes who have fought to uphold our freedom by waving the American flag to celebrate Memorial Day. Decorating your home, lawn or car with the red, white and blue is a wonderful way to show your support on this patriotic day. If there’s a flag pole in your yard, raise the American flag up high, but be sure to lower it half-mast from dawn until noon as a sign of deep respect.

  1. Parade Your Support

Show your American spirit by marching to a Memorial Day parade. These festive community gatherings are full of patriotic music, floats covered in stars and stripes, and all kinds of Americana. Wave an American flag and cheer for the veterans, active service members, patriotic organizations and bands as they wave to you from the streets. Many of these parades conclude with a moment of silence or a special memorial service that remind us of the true meaning of the day.

  1. Pay Your Respects by Paying a Visit to a Cemetery

Honor our nation’s fallen heroes by visiting a local cemetery to place flowers and flags at their graves. Many cemeteries have designated areas reserved for these American heroes. If possible, visit one of the VA National Cemeteries found throughout the country that arrange their own Memorial Day services. Each adds its own special touch of gratitude and patriotism through wreath laying ceremonies, speeches, color guards, bands, choirs and more. To find out if there’s a national cemetery near you, check with the Department of Veterans Affairs’ National Cemetery Administration at

  1. Salute a Moment of Silence

At 3:00 p.m. local time on Memorial Day, join the millions of Americans that stop whatever they’re doing and stay silent for a moment. This poignant pause is the National Moment of Remembrance, which was established to reflect on the integrity, courage and sacrifices of the soldiers that have fought to preserve our freedoms. So while you enjoy your Memorial Day afternoon, please take a moment to take part in this national gesture of gratitude.

  1. Treat a Local Veteran’s Hospital to a Visit

While Memorial Day is a time to remember our lost heroes, it’s also a perfect time to honor the many veterans who have survived their selfless service. Plan a visit to a veteran’s hospital to make these brave men and women feel special and appreciated. Spend time talking with them and thanking them for all that they sacrificed to ensure our precious freedoms. Have your kids bring cookies, cards and small gifts to the veterans to help them understand the real meaning of the holiday. This friendly visit will brighten a veteran’s day and help you see why this special one is worthy of celebration.

  1. Volunteer for Veterans

Consider helping the heroes that we’re fortunate to have as a way to honor the ones we’ve lost. You can volunteer your time, donate funds, contribute clothes, boost morale and do so much more to help veterans nationwide. There are many veteran’s organizations that can provide information about giving back to the veterans who have given so much to you.

So on Memorial Day, remember to honor the brave men and women who have fought to ensure our freedom to enjoy this special day.

3) Choose An Area That Gets Some Sunlight

Since you’ll be growing some kind of plant or flower in your memorial garden, you’ll want to choose a place with a good amount of sunlight so it doesn’t limit what you can plant. Your garden should be a place that makes you feel content while you remember your loved ones so feeling the warmth of sunshine will radiate some positivity into the area.

60 Genius Summer Party Ideas for Easy Entertaining

It's impossible to have a bad time when there's sangria at the table!

Summer calls for amazing drinks, delicious food, and great company. Whether it’s the first BBQ of the season or a weekly gathering, host guests in style with these crowd-pleasing dinner recipes, DIY decor projects, and party-planning tips. Your friends and family will keep coming back for more all summer long.

Enjoy a refreshing slushie in minutes with only four ingredients. You'll need ice, water, frozen limeade, and the frozen fruit of your choice. We are loving raspberries, peaches, or mangos for this drink.

Turning an empty backyard corner into paradise is easier than you may think. A colorful rug, a floating couch, and plants pull together a space, but it'll be a porch swing that steals the show.

It's always a great time to have wine! Freeze your favorite wine in ice trays (about 1 ounce per cube), then pop one or two into a light pour to make your glass last longer. You can also add a few cubes to sparkling water to keep it light.

If you want to keep the cube trend going, transform an appetizer into a work of art. Arrange cubed watermelon, cucumber, beefsteak tomatoes, feta, and halved cherry tomatoes into a grid. Then drizzle olive oil on top with a dash of salt, pepper, and mint!

Look around your yard and you'll discover anything can become a party accessory, including a plant stand. After emptying it out, fill it with plenty of ice to keep drinks chilled. And if you're feeling creative, fill latex balloons with water, freeze overnight on a baking sheet, and add them in with the drinks.

That's right, your favorite drink just got better. In a pitcher, stir together vodka, lime juice, sliced plums, and sprigs of fresh thyme. Gently stir in ginger beer before serving over ice. Remember to garnish with more plums and thyme. Cheers!

Summer wouldn't be complete without hotdogs, but this year, we encourage you to remix your toppings in unexpected ways. You can thank us after trying one of these duos: napa cabbage with scallions purple cabbage and carrots cucumbers and radishes.

Position your buffet under an overhang or umbrella to protect it from the elements. Then, order its contents this way for easy cruising: plates, sides, buns, meats, fixings, and flatware. (Note: If perishable foods aren't gobbled up in an hour, swap them out with a fresh supply.) Come sundown, have lights nearby so folks can see as they serve.

Help guests move through the buffet line quickly with grab-and-go silverware in decorated Mason jars. Just tie ribbon remnants on a trio of vases and fill with reusable flatware.

A beverage station separate from the food lets guests mix drinks and mingle. Stock the bar with cups, straws (to double as stirrers), and plenty of ice — a large metal pail will keep bottles and cans frosty, but consider an insulated cooler for extra cubes.

When the RSVPs roll in and you realize you'll need more surfaces, relocate indoor furniture and dust off camping gear like folding chairs and tables.

Soften seats with no-sew pillow covers. Sandwich a cushion between two bandanas, then join each corner together with a rubber band and a thin ribbon.

Bobbing black-eyed Susans and zinnias, plus floating candles, turn an everyday birdbath into an instantly elegant water feature.

50 BBQ Party Ideas for a Bash the Whole Crew Will Be Talking About

As the weather gets warmer, it's the perfect time to head outdoors.

It's officially summer, which means it's the perfect time to take your meals al fresco and enjoy the beautiful weather. To be known as the hostess with the mostess, look no further for BBQ party ideas to make your seasonal cookouts even more spectacular. Even if you're just hosting your quarantine crew or if it's a (socially distant) party with friends, this list has all the details to make your event one for the books. The center of every barbecue is the food, of course, and we have everything you need to make the day incredibly delicious. Our favorite grilling recipes, barbecue sauces, barbecue side dishes, summer desserts, and summer drinks are all featured in this roundup, so you'll have plenty of options to prepare for your meal. We also have fun, fresh DIY decor to give your outdoor dinner table a little boost. For holiday barbecues, try setting the scene with Fourth of July party decorations or whipping up a few Fourth of July desserts to show your patriotic spirit. After scrolling through this list of tips and ideas, you'll want to plan a barbecue party for every single weekend of the summer.

Watch the video: Memorial Day Plainfield Cookout 2017

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