Salute the growing season by asking your gardening buddies to share their botanical bounty. Spring gardens--quickly filling with overgrown perennials--offer a treasure trove of plants ripe for division. Before guests arrive, set up a "shopping" table to display the potted donations. At another table, satisfy your chums' winter-weary appetites with a light buffet. Then feed their creative spirits with a decoupage project to enliven their spring gardens.
Before the party, cover a container in a lively interplay of fabrics to provide guests with a preview of the project to come. Fill it with flowers and foliage, and display the blooming beauty as an inspirational centerpiece.
Nothing makes a gardener happier than plants in need of planting and containers that bring good-looking utility to the landscape. Supply your guests with galvanized buckets and mix-and-match fabrics and ribbons that boast garden-fresh hues and patterns.
Galvanized buckets and containers
Mod Podge decoupage medium
Small foam brushes
Spools for grosgrain ribbon
Outdoor Mod Podge or a clear-coat gloss spray sealer
To determine how much fabric you'll need, wrap fabric around the container with edges slightly overlapping; cut the piece to fit. Allow extra fabric at the top and bottom for turning edges. Or cut out strips, rectangles, and squares of fabric to puzzle together across the container's surface for a patchwork effect.
Use a foam brush to spread decoupage medium across the container's surface.
Place the fabric atop the decoupage medium and smooth into place. If it dries during the process, simply brush on more.
Apply another coat of decoupage medium atop the fabric while working your way around the container.
Cover overlapped seams with decorative ribbon adhered with decoupage medium. For a striking effect, continue adding ribbon strips around the container. Push the trimmed upper edge of the fabric beneath the bucket's rim to hide the raw edge. Brush decoupage medium around and under the rim to hold fabric in place. Or smartly camouflage raw edges by adhering a contrasting-hue ribbon band just below the rim.
Brush decoupage medium on the bottom of the container. Pull the lower fabric edges to the bottom and brush with a coat of decoupage medium to secure. After the container has dried, seal the surface with a coat of Outdoor Mod Podge or a spray of clear-coat gloss sealer. If you'd like to plant directly into the container, drill drainage holes in the bottom.
Serve cupcakes baked in tiny terra-cotta pots lined with parchment paper. Top them with a scoop of frosting and sugary sprinkles in summer colors.
Offer guests a tempting medley of garden-fresh finger foods. Quench their thirst with sparkling glasses of just-squeezed lemonade.
Coming or going, a basket or bin holds the promise of planting pleasure. Here a satisfied "customer" totes home plants for both sun and shade.
In advance of the party, let everyone know how many guests are expected, and ask each guest to bring at least one division for each attendee. Not every guest will have the perfect spot for every plant, so encourage swapping.
Half the fun of sharing plants is spending time with fellow gardeners to share gardening tips and success stories. Be sure to have plant options that suit both shady and sunny spots. This variegated hosta is happiest in a shady area.
A generously sized table gives guests plenty of space to assess the variety of plants and even discuss planting plans and combinations.