Ideas for next year’s outdoor entertaining
AS THE HOLIDAYS APPROACH, we turn our attention to the tasks of the season: we decorate the house and yard, shop for gifts, and make wish lists of our own. Soon we’ll find ourselves gathered at holiday festivities, spending time with family and friends. Planning and attending these celebrations offers fine inspiration for gifts for gardeners—particularly those who love to entertain. After all, the garden is the perfect setting for summer parties that bring together the same loved ones we see in November and December. So consider the following ideas, and give a thoughtful gift to help enjoy and enhance the garden as a gathering place.
BY MEGHAN LYNCH
DOVER SERVING CART
A serving trolley saves the host from making multiple trips to the kitchen and away from the party. Give this gift and make entertaining easier and more fun. $390, from Vermont Outdoor Furniture; 800-588-8834; www.vermontoutdoor furniture.com.
Filled with ice, these simple, classic tubs offer guests cold drinks with style. At smaller parties, or between gatherings, you can mass potted plants in these containers, creating a fine display. $199 for the pair, from Iron Accents; 866-438-4766; www.ironaccents.com.
GERANIUM LEAF SALAD PLATES
Attention to detail makes these eight-inch glazed ceramic plates a fitting addition to any garden table. Realistic and unassuming, the geranium leaf will complement the garden’s foliage and flowers—not to mention the fresh vegetables the plate is set to bear. Set of four, $49.95 from Sur La Table; 800-243-0852; www.surlatable.com.
Every gardener needs a good chair in which to relax and enjoy the rewards of hard work. With seating for two, the gardener can share such peaceful moments. Made of hardwood and finished with weather-resistant paint, this glider will charm year after year. $399, from L.L. Bean; 800-221-4221; www.llbean.com.
RUSTIC HARVEST BASKETS
Anyone skilled at both gardening and entertaining will doubly appreciate a gift of harvest baskets built to be as practical as they are pretty. These are handmade of weather-resistant cedar, steel, and wire mesh, and thus sturdy enough to last through seasons of use. Meanwhile their clean, appealing design makes each the perfect vessel for utensils on a buffet, or a fresh-cut-flower centerpiece. In three sizes, at $29, $34, and $39, from The Wildflower Seed Company; 800-456-3359; www.wildflower-seed.com.
VICTORIA FOLDING CHAIR AND PATIO FOLDING TABLE
Collapsible furniture gives the hospitable gardener the gift of space—it can be easily folded and moved out of the way of mowers, shears, and the like. This set, made of water-resistant wood and woven wire, refines utility with grace. Chair, $880, and table, $390, from Country Gear; 631-537-7069; www.loom-italia-usa.com.
Dress potted plants in style with handmade Italian cachepots. High-iron, high-calcium Gaelestro clay makes these pots durable and frostproof. Pictured here are the Testine (left) and the Millerighe (right). Available in a range of sizes, styles, and prices, from Sfoggio; 866-DERUTA1; www.gardenplanters.com.
A lawn game brings guests together in friendly competition. Petanque, a French game similar to the Italian bocce, challenges players to use strategy and finesse when aiming the small, chrome-wrapped iron balls towards the tiny target “pig.” This set stores and travels easily in its wooden carrying case. $49.95, from Quincy Art, Craft, Toys & Games; 800-299-4242; www.quincyshop.com.
COPPER BIRD BATH
A basin of clean water will coax songbirds to come provide pleasant music for a lawn party. This birdbath’s natural elegance adds visual interest to the garden, as will the colorful feathers and lively movements of the birds. 24-inch diameter; $300, from Stone Forest; 505-986-8883; www.stoneforest.com.
Firelight creates a welcoming atmosphere at an outdoor gathering; unfortunately, it brings along smoke, flying embers, and a pile of ash for the host to clean up. Happily, this outdoor hearth eliminates the unpleasant aspects of a crackling fire by burning ethyl alcohol rather than gas or wood. 30 inches tall, $799.99, from Avalon Garden; 800-854-0880; www.avalongarden.com.
COPPER LANTERN TORCHIERE
Oil-fueled candle flames illuminate an evening party beautifully, as their rounded copper lamps mimic the brightly setting sun. Removing the lamps from their stakes, the host can create a candlelight centerpiece for an al fresco dinner. 71 inches high, $24 each from Smith and Hawken; 800-940-1170; www.smithandhawken.com.