Food & Entertaining - Entertaining

Throw a garden warming for new homeowners

Kathleen Dore
Photography by
Mark Burstyn

Follow these tips to organize a planting party for a blank-slate yard

The enormous work and expense of moving and setting up a new home can leave little time, energy or cash for tackling the garden. If you have a friend who is hiding indoors to avoid a freshly acquired forest of weeds, scary, out-of-control shrubs or (worse!) a big patch of nothing in a brand-new backyard, organize a “garden warming”—a spruce-up and planting party that gets the patch on the road to recovery just in time for barbecue season. Guests bring plants or garden-friendly gear, and everyone digs in—as the old saying goes, many hands make light work. After the party’s over, the homeowner has the beginnings of a real garden and one less thing
to worry about.

Planning the party
First make sure your friend is receptive to the idea of a garden warming, then use these tips to start planning for planting:

Meet with your friend to discuss how he or she envisions the garden. Help by bringing inspirational gardening magazines and books for  easy reference.

Create a garden plan
If you’re knowledgeable about plants and gardens, devise a simple design—or ask a friend or family member to help.

Find out how the space will be used (for entertaining? for quiet relaxation?). Are there children or pets? How much maintenance is the homeowner up for? If a newbie, suggest starting small.

Consider concentrating on improving one area, especially if the property is large. If your friend loves to entertain, tackle the back deck or patio.

Some garden centres will devise a basic plan, siting elements such as paths and beds, and a suggested plant list.

Search your local library or bookstore, or the Internet for lots of ideas.


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