ARE YOU READY TO PARTY?

Country Gardens - - Editor’s Note - Su­san Ap­pleget Hurst EDI­TOR

I am. Spring is here, and even though I love to “just chill” in my back­yard, I’m also look­ing for­ward to fill­ing it with friends. Don’t get me wrong—watch­ing the sun rise with a mug of cof­fee in one hand while dead­head­ing with the other hand is my pre­ferred way to start the day. But I also love host­ing my “neigh­borettes” in the front gar­den with wine and snacks, and es­cort­ing din­ner party guests through my con­stantly chang­ing back­yard is just as much fun. Like many of you, I en­joy shar­ing my gar­den. Per­haps you have shared it in a re­ally grand way by host­ing a fam­ily wed­ding or a birth­day party among the flow­ers. Or maybe you’d rather cut the flow­ers and take them to some­one else’s spe­cial event—a thought­ful way to pass along the sights and scents of your gar­den.

In this is­sue, we’ve cho­sen a few sto­ries that we think will in­spire a lit­tle gar­den par­ty­ing. A Con­necti­cut gar­dener shows us how she re­stored a beloved fam­ily gar­den for her daugh­ter’s dream wed­ding—pre­par­ing for un­pre­dictable weather by choos­ing plants and gar­den­ing tech­niques that made the event a suc­cess (page 84). We’re also fea­tur­ing three gor­geous wed­ding arch or chup­pah de­signs with step-by-step in­struc­tions (page 64), table­top flo­ral de­signs that are lovely but oh-so easy (page 80), and a charm­ing story about farm-grown wed­ding flow­ers with in­struc­tions for mak­ing a hand-tied bou­quet and a flower crown (page 92). And for those of you who love to share the first veg­eta­bles and fruits of your labors, we have some recipes for quick pick­les that make fan­tas­tic ad­di­tions to party food (page 100). No wed­dings in your fu­ture? These sto­ries could help you set up a flower-filled baby shower or pre-prom party in­stead.

There’s one more re­ally im­por­tant way that you can share your gar­den. Our an­nual Coun­try Gar­dens® Awards con­test gives you the chance to share your gar­den with us—and per­haps even with all other Coun­try Gar­dens read­ers. It takes us weeks to sort through the en­tries, but be­lieve me, we love see­ing what you’re up to in your yard. On page 5 you’ll find the in­struc­tions for en­ter­ing your gar­den in the con­test, along with some tips for mak­ing a good en­try. And for the first time, you’ll be able to sub­mit your en­try elec­tron­i­cally if you pre­fer, by send­ing us the link to it from a cloud-based ser­vice.

Let the party be­gin!

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