Outdoor Entertaining

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Shared moments in our garden with our family and friends become memories we will cherish throughout our lifetime. So why not transform you’re mundane garden, deck or patio setting from the ordinary into the extraordinary?
Generally, our gardens are at their premium use during the lush, sultry last days of summer. Keep this in mind when you are planning your Labour Day entertaining “stage”, those end of summer barbeques and al fresco entertaining.

An essential ingredient in creating your “Entertaining Stage” is the creation of a casually elegant and comfortable sitting/lounge area that can accommodate everything from “dinner al fresco” to lounging with a good book and your favourite cocktail.

Always make sure to include a tilt-able sunscreen umbrella, an expandable outdoor-table, a variety of adjustable chairs, several loungers, and numerous folding side tables. Teak furniture works especially well in our Canadian climate due to its naturally inherent resilience to pests, rot and its incredible durability.

Your entertaining area should also include a variety of personal accessories such as lanterns, seat cushions and rusticated garden ornaments and should always provide a stimulating and beautiful view of your “piece of heaven”.

When situating your late summer “showstopper” perennials, make sure to site them where they will be seen to their best advantage. This means that plants with brilliant red or vivid orange blossoms should be situated in full sun, prominent locations for their best display, while paler more pastel toned plants should be in a shadier location. Pale blossoms will glow in a shady location, whereas they become “bleached” out in full sun. Vivid blossoms are intense in full sun, yet become muddy or lost in the shade.

Try planting a bold clump of Rudbeckia (Coneflowers) in a prominent full sun location. Their spectacular display of brilliant yellow and gold blossoms will flower throughout the summer and fall, and will attract a variety of birds to your garden as well. Other late summer garden musts include:

1. Campanula (Bellflower) – a hardy and prolific spreading perennial that comes in a variety of blue, white and pink tones.

2. Linum perenne (Perennial Flax) – A stunningly beautiful perennial that should be grown in a large clump. It comes in a variety of colours and thrives in full sun, dry locations.

3. Lavandula angustifolia (Lavender) – An incredibly fragrant and beautiful plant that thrives in full sun, dry soil locations and rock garden settings. Situate near your outdoor sitting area to enjoy its rich fragrance.

Always strive to work “with” nature by growing a variety of plants suited to your geography, while being aware of where your entertaining, playing, gardening and wildlife areas are to be located on your property.

ROBIN’S Tips for Entertaining Outdoors

A candlelit Garden for evening entertaining will leave a lasting impression with your guests. An inexpensive method for creating the “look” of dozens of hurricanes in your garden is to purchase a 2 dozen box of mason Jars and place tea lights within them. To give them a more “Designer” look, buy bags of black sand and lay a 1″layer on the bottom of each jar. Then inset the tea light into the sand. In the evening glow they will look incredible.

ALWAYS remember to disconnect any motion detector lights in your garden for evening entertaining. Nothing ruins a party quicker than harsh lighting.

Remember to dress up your front door as well as the access to your garden. Try placing 2 patinated urns on either side of your door with planted with Sago Palms. Always remember to cover the top of your urns with a layer of Sphagnum moss to give it a more chic look.

Always use linen napkins and tablecloths when entertaining outdoors. However, don’t go to the expense of buying them, make them yourself. Go to your local Fabric outlet and buy a few yards of a cheerful ticking or gingham and simply serge the edges. Make sure to make them oversized (I always make mine 22″) to make your guests feel pampered.

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