Two Saturdays ago, I had a garden party. We have finally finished two years of backyard renovations, and I wanted to celebrate. (It was only later that I learned it was the Queen’s Jubilee, which made it even better!) I love garden parties, and tea, and little cucumber sandwiches with the crusts cut off. I found a local bakery that would make some petit fours. Christopher Robin scoured the local thrift stores for teapots and china cups, the more mismatched the better.
For two weeks, we planted and trimmed in the garden. I whispered kindly to the peonies so that they might grace me with their presence, and requested that the chives, which had been putting on quite a show, would hang around in good condition. We found an umbrella for the table that was just right, and I even found a dress I liked and a very small fascinator. I invited my sisters and nieces and mother, and friends from all of my various worlds (the seekers, the teachers, the hikers, the writers) and they were all happy to have an excuse to find a dress and put on a fancy hat. My sister’s granddaughter, aged 2, just could not believe we would drink tea in a garden!
Well, you can guess what happened, can’t you? It rained, starting at exactly two, and finally fizzling out when most everyone was ready to call it a day. Only the most vigourous little girls really wanted to go outside, so we stood under the lip of the roof on the back stairs and admired the lupine and chives and yes, the peonies that had just that very morning shaken out their negligee petals.
But we wore hats. Beautiful hats. And dresses—the little girls were especially fantastic. We served tea and lemonade and cucumber sandwiches on white bread with the crusts cut off. We talked and talked about nothing at all and admired each other and tried not to eat too many cakes.
A last minute purchase of two sets of doll-sized tea sets, unpainted, proved to be the biggest hit of all. The girls, and even some of the women, painted a cup or a teapot or a tiny saucer to take home.
As CR said, putting mismatched china in a box for Next Time, “It was a very English sort of tea party, after all.” And it was. There will be more.*
Have you had a garden party or a party that was rained on? Do you like having people over? Or, like some people I know, do you like to keep your home private only to you?
* Four days after the party, we had a massive hailstorm that shredded every blossom in the garden. It was crushing, but that’s the way it goes in Colorado.