Secret Garden

Host a sweet-as-honey gathering

The Pacific Northwest is full of beauty, but when gardens are in full bloom and the weather is warm, it’s time to celebrate. I can’t think of a more perfect backdrop than a beautiful garden — after all, Mother Nature already did most of the decorating; just take a cue from her. She knows what she’s doing.

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Photos by Brooke Clark | DIY Flower Power Chandelier

DIY Flower Power Chandelier
Create a focal point with serious flower power with a reclaimed wood picture frame, a screen from the hardware store and your imagination. I paired flowers clipped from garden center potted plants (I then planted the potted flowers in our garden to enjoy the blooms for weeks to come). I got orchid stems from my favorite local florist and added whimsy with air ferns in hanging teardrop terrariums!

Pretty Pavlova
This may look complicated, but it’s just a simple meringue piled high with whipping cream and sprinkled with fresh raspberries, mint and edible flowers. This is a great do-ahead dessert that plays up fresh seasonal berries. Just make sure to add the whipping cream and berries right before serving.

Cucumber, Mint, Lime Sparkler
Combine half Dry Cucumber Soda and half nonflavored sparkling water. Elevate the presentation with slices of fresh cucumber, lime and a handful of fresh garden mint. Provide guests with a small container for topping off their drinks.

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Honey Bee & Lemon Drops

Honey Bee & Lemon Drops

The garden is a beehive of activity this time of year, so why not serve a gorgeous honey-hued cocktail to match?

  • 1½ shots honey-infused vodka (instructions below)
  • ½ shot of mint simple syrup (instructions below)
  • ¼ shot fresh-squeezed lemon juice
  • A dash of orange blossom flower water (available at select local markets)

Add all ingredients with ice to a cocktail shaker — shake, strain and pour into chilled cocktail glasses — garnish with a small cube of succulent honeycomb on a bamboo skewer.

Honey-flavored vodka: Infuse your favorite vodka with a hunk of honeycomb for several days. Strain and store the vodka in the refrigerator. It will stay good for a week.

Mint simple syrup: Simmer 1 cup each sugar and water on the stove with several sprigs of fresh garden mint. Strain and chill.

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Deconstructed Melon-Wrapped Prosciutto

Deconstructed Melon-Wrapped Prosciutto
This is a delish deconstructed salad made with baby kale, salty aged crumbled ricotta salata and roasted sunflower seeds drizzled with a simple lemon and honey vinaigrette. I served it on a slate tray from Sur la Table.

Easy Caprese
Thread fresh mozzarella, basil and grape tomatoes onto skewers made of rosemary branches and drizzle with lemon vinaigrette. Herb skewers really rev up the fresh flavor and add to the earthy presentation!

Easy Tabletop Decor

  • Keep the garden party table looking light with modern glass containers layered with rocks, sand and moss. Tuck in orchid plants and succulents.
  • I love the cool mid-century garden seating. These garden chairs are from Haystack Home in Kirkland.
  • Add bamboo plates and pretty guest takeaways in recycled breadcrumb tins covered in colorful garden prints. The takeaways include table cutlery and a mini cocktail kit so guests can make their own Honey Bee Lemon Drops at home.
  • Create thrifty placemats with pressed ferns. Iron ferns between sheets of craft store newsprint and adhere to paper placemats with spray adhesive.
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