Ne’er cast a clout ‘til May be out
It’s raining, it’s 11 degrees and I regretted my clout casting on my dog walk this morning…but the burgeoning hedgerows, the slightly flattened cow parsley and the appearance of a peony bud after 8 years of trying to grow peonies has inspired me to take fingers to keyboard.
The Hawthorne is out (the ‘May be out’ is possibly an allusion to the flowering on the Hawthorne Tree) so I have decided that it is all about perspective. If May won’t come to the ball then I shall simply create my own ball – I may even skip spring and have my own summer ball. If I start now then I can enjoy an extremely long summer. The bunting for the Coronation celebrations was my initial springboard. It made the garden look so cheery (with a little help from the tulips) that I have decided to keep it up and explore other ways to create a summer ambiance that may well shame May into warmer sunnier weather.
Bunting and lanterns are a wonderful way of bringing colour and movement into the garden. They are quintessential garden party decorations -particularly at this time of year when it is too cold to remain outside late into the evening so fairy lights never get their time to shine.
The next major party player is the humble tablecloth. Ordinarily I plump for a lacy number to echo the fragility of spring flowers (ok it just looks really beautiful with the wisteria!!!) but I think more colour is required for warmth. Pinks and blues work very well in spring and are a popular combination at the moment.
Another fabric addition is a comfortable colourful cushion. It’s important to make guests as relaxed as possible if they must endure a little shivering because of one’s alfresco fervour. Naturally waterproof cushions are the best option so that you can simply grab your wine glass…and plates etc of course…and leg it inside when May decides it isn’t in the party mood and throws a diva strop.
The beautiful waterproof collection including bolster cushions from Country Abodes
Joyful waterproof cushions from Weaver Green made from recycled plastic bottles
A luxurious touch is to add a nearby picnic blanket and cushions to give the ambiance of lounging even if it far too cold to approach ground level yet.
My current obsession is Coco and Wolf – their use of Liberty print fabrics is out of their world beautiful and just looking a these beauties brings a warm glow to the heart.
Image from Coco and Wolf
With the changeable spring weather, it is a good idea to use trays on the table for flower filled jars and bud vases that can be lifted inside to decorate the hastily improvised “indoor spring party”.
Bud vases from Sarah Raven
Light candles in pastel coloured lanterns that add ambiance but won’t get immediately blown out by the vicious May winds (yes- vicious- it’s fabulous for clothes drying but no friend to the intrepid alfresco adventurer).
Lanterns from Wayfair
Blankets are an absolute must so it’s time to indulge that wicker passion and invest in a large wicker hamper from which an array of colourful blankets can spill invitingly.
Alternatively it might be the moment to finally surrender to nostalgia and purchase a wicker shopper on wheels – the perfect cow parsley carrying companion and ideal for loading up with blankets and rapidly wheeling inside to warmer saner climes.
Whatever the weather, be brave, we need to make the most of the “summer” months. There is something rather magical about eating outdoors, whether it is simply the fresh air or perhaps it reminds us of long lazy evenings sitting outside a taverna in just a summer dress and sandals. Even if warm boots are required and blankets are on the invite as part of the dress code, boldly embrace alfresco (but be ready to leg it back indoors when May has the last raindrop laugh).