Need a great party plan for SPRING? When the weather starts to get warm, most of us are ready to freshen up outdoor spaces or get the garden started after a long winter. My Planting Party is one of my very favorite party ideas. It is not only fun- my number one criteria for a party- but it's also a great way to get kids and adults together to grow vegetables which will result in greater interest in healthier eating and the benefits will continue to grow and grow! Any occasion is right for a planting party: a birthday, wedding, bridal shower or wedding party at your house, neighborhood party, family reunion, or community garden day. You really don't need a reason to host a planting party. It's one of those do-good, feel good types of parties that I love!
Other dates to consider are Earth Day (April 22) and Arbor Day (the last week of April in most states) coming up and Mother's Day. Wouldn't it be wonderful to makeover your mom's patio or yard with some colorful new flowering or vegetable plants? Get my ideas for a spring yard makeover get-together...
Many schools, youth organizations, and neighborhoods are growing community gardens. But if you don't have that movement happening in your area, start one! You don't need a lot of people. You can start small. Ask a couple of neighbors to participate and split the cost and the responsibilities of maintenance.
There are plenty of sites with information on community gardens including tips on everything from getting started to funding. First you'll need a site. Once you have that, the rest is easy.
THE PARTY PLAN
Think old-timey barn raising-- remember when neighbors would help a family build a barn? Friends would show up with tools and the barn would go up. The family would feed the guests or everyone would bring pot-luck. This is the same premise. Invite friends to come build a garden or plant an existing space.
If it is a community garden, invite the neighbors who will want to share in the chores and in the results. Start small; with one or two families. Once the garden is established, you can add to it each year and the planting party becomes an annual event.
If it is your own backyard garden, promise friends some of the harvest in return for lunch and a fun day outside. If the party is for a birthday or Mother's Day, guests can bring plants as gifts or contribute to a fund to supply them.
Provide all the tools you will need to plant and ask guests to bring what they have, too. You will want to have the ground tilled and prepared before guests arrive. Tillers can be rented in many home improvement or equipment rental stores. You will want to have a "survival kit" for guests including sunscreen, bug spray, wipes, bandanas, and inexpensive gardening gloves. You can find all of these supplies at the dollar store.
FOOD AND DRINKS
The host provides lunch and plenty of cold beverages. Keep it simple. Offer a picnic menu of sandwiches, a chilled salad, some fruit, and some homemade treats. My salad in a jar is perfect for a quick lunch on work day. You can prep in advance and store in the fridge or a cooler until it's time to eat. Put the dressing in the bottom of the jar. Guests simply shake it up and grab a fork. Get the how-to for my salad in a jar...
Have some Popsicles on hand for a mid-afternoon treat and for the adults, my Sangria Pops are refreshing and fun. Get the recipe for my Sangria Popsicles...
A big dispenser with chilled water, lemonade, and/or Sweet Tea (I'm from the South where Sweet Tea is essential) will keep everyone hydrated and happy. Plus, the serve-yourself option always makes hostess duties easier. Or, if you don't have a large dispenser, fill up a tub, wheelbarrow, or large planter with ice and chill your favorite beverages. I personally like the wheelbarrow because you can move it around easier. As the sun shifts, you can move the drinks into the shade so the ice won't melt.
While not mandatory, decorations certainly make the event more festive. Look at the pretty decorations from our own Garden Makeover party. Garden supplies that guests can take home after the party are a great idea. I love these colorful ceramic toadstools from JJ Potts. You don't have to set the table if you have a big crowd- just let everyone serve themselves. The place settings look fancy but they are paper or melamine- very easy for clean up afterwards.
Neutral colored painter's dropcloths found at the hardware store make an easy tablecloth (even the edges are hemmed) and your flowers for the garden can be used as a centerpiece.