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.
Need some ideas on how to celebrate Memorial Day in the garden? We’re here to help.
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.
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.
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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Honor a soldier or someone special with a garden tribute.
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:
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.
So on Memorial Day, remember to honor the brave men and women who have fought to ensure our freedom to enjoy this special day.
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.
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.
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.