It’s time to slip on your sandals and dust off the deck chairs – garden party season is officially here and we’re buzzing to get outside. From alfresco dining to late evening drinks, there’s nothing more enjoyable than relaxing outdoors with your friends, family and nature.
If you keep a keen eye on Pinterest, you’ll know the standards to uphold at the most lavish garden gatherings are sky high… But not every garden party needs Insta-worthy string lights and a quirky cocktail-making station. In fact, you can make your garden a natural haven for both your invited guests, and the busy, buzzing beauties that will naturally show up to make the most of it too.
We’re encouraging Brits to use their bee-autiful gardens to help feed our pollinating pals, so we’ve put together a few tips and tricks so your simple yet sophisticated garden gathering will be the envy of anyone not on the guest list.
1. Decorate with nature
Not everyone can be a green-fingered expert like #FeedtheBees pals Mr Plant Geek and Arthur Parkinson, but that’s okay. Just a little gardening knowledge can effortlessly transform your garden from a simple lawn or patio to a fabulous floral haven full of decadent colour and evocative scents. And even if you only have a small space, you can still turn it into an enchanting oasis by planting flamboyantly coloured flowers in containers like hanging baskets and window boxes.
This has a major added benefit too; wildflowers and other pollinator-friendly flowers help to restore vital pollen sources, bringing wildlife like bees and butterflies into your outdoor space. Not only will they thank you for your hospitality, but they’ll mesmerise your guests too. Planting wildflowers is just one element of our Hives for Lives programme of vital initiatives, which aims to protect the humble honey bee and enrich livelihoods at the same time.
And if you catch guests commenting on your ‘unruly’ lawn? Conservation is a great conversation starter.
2. Prepare a variety of food to suit everyone
Hosting a garden party in summer is just like hosting your extended family at Christmas, but it needn’t be chaotic! Catering for a variety of diets and tastes isn’t always easy peasy, but a few simple crowd-pleasers will have your guests lining up for more at the buffet table.
As the host, you won’t have plenty of time to dabble in the culinary arts in the kitchen. So, prepare tasty dishes that you can whip out of the fridge when you spot your first guests wandering up to the garden gate.
Bringing the sweet taste of summer to your plate, why not try a delicious salad dish? How about our recipe for a kale, chickpea and wholegrain salad with honey and chilli dressing?
So, your scrumptious salad or main course has gone down a treat, but what’s next for those guests with a sweet tooth?
A fruity and flavourful showstopper is bound to grab everyone’s attention – so why not try our honeyed tropical tart? It’ll have guests feeling like they’re abroad in a luxury resort in no time…
3. Keep the drinks flowing
Next, it’s time to put your professional barista or bartender skills to the test, so offer a classic crowd-pleaser that could be dotted around the dining tables in jugs and pitchers. Take the magnificent mojito for example, and perhaps add a little special something like fresh raspberry or smooth honey.
4. A few finishing touches
If your glamorous garden is all set up with blooming buds, you don’t need to go crazy adding decorations to your space. A fresh and authentic look will give guests the chance to focus on what matters most – the company.
But if you do want to give your outdoor space a little spark, why not try crafting your own homemade decorations? Here’s a few of our favourites:
- Save your empty honey jars, wash them out and add tealights to illuminate your table
- Make your own bunting using recycled paper or cardboard
- Place cut flowers into empty honey jars as centrepieces
- Use empty plant pots as napkin or cutlery holders
Don’t forget to put out some cosy blankets and pillows too, to keep guests warm and comfy from day to night.
5. Fun and games for hours of entertainment
Now on to the most exciting part of your backyard bash – the entertainment. There are a whole host of activities that’ll keep your guests entertained for hours, like:
- Lawn games, such as giant Jenga or a ring toss
- Ball games, like Swing ball or catch, if you have the space
- Flower arranging
And while the grown-ups re-live their childhood with fun activities, why not prepare a fun activity for the children too? To keep the kids busy and teach them about nature at the same time, try creating a fun spot-the-insect or spot-the-flower challenge with a special dessert for everyone who completes their list.
And, last but certainly not least, if your garden party is dependent on the Great British weather… you may want to consider having a gazebo on standby.
With hours of exciting entertainment planned in a natural, refreshing space with delicious summer snacks on hand, guests simply won’t want to leave your glorious garden party at the end of the night.