Hosting a Garden Party and Plant Exchange

As evidence by my other posts I have a serious passion for plants and gardening. I have heard of people going to and hosting plants and/or seed exchanges and I always wanted to be a part of one! It seemed like such a great way to add variety to the garden while also making it a social event. This year I finally got the courage to host one. I wanted it to be fun, elegant, and successful. Luckily here in Florida people are as into gardening as I am – so it wasn’t too difficult to find people who were interested in attending. Then the real panning commenced… I took to Pinterest, talked to others who had been to a plant exchange, and got to work. I was pleasantly surprised at how successful it was and I hope to improve upon my endeavors in the future.

Invitation – I personally really like old school invitations to parties. I find that it is more personal and really sets the tone for any event. Luckily I have the most talented sister-in-law, Lauren James,  to help me with any graphic/invitation needs. I mentioned to her that I was hosting this party and asked her if she had something that would fit or if we should just create a new invitation. Luckily she had something that was really perfect already!! We changed up the wording to meet my needs and viola we had the perfect invitation. (Side note – feel free to contact Lauren with any of your invitation/stationary needs!)

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Décor – I love party decorations! It is a kind of way to transport your guests to a fun new location. For the garden party I am lucky enough to live in a home with fantastic landscapes and greenery. Therefore actual décor was luckily minimal and many of them I was able to gather from my own garden. I knew I wanted a wide variety of flowers to be placed on tables and create a centerpiece as well. Overall I think the effect was perfect for the event.

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{Pictures taken by Lauren Coppotelli Carlisle}

Food – As far as the food is concerned I wanted light refreshments that echoed the theme of the party – gardening and elegance. The menu was charcuterie, crudité, smörgåstårta (Swedish tea cake), Pistachio Bundt cake, and lemon lavender cookies. I was pleasantly surprised with how well all of the food came out remarkably well and really fit the theme I think. Listed below are the pictures of the food I created and the links I used for inspiration. I have also included any of the improvements that I made as well.

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{Picture taken by Lauren Coppotelli Carlisle}

Charcuterie – I read several articles about how the create the best spread. I also love to eat this kind of food on a regular basis – which makes it very easy for me to create different tastes with the food provided. I will also say that I loved near a Trader Joe’s which also makes it easy to pick out good cheeses for a reasonable price.

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{Picture taken by Lauren Coppotelli Carlisle}

Crudité – This is also another food that I eat constantly. This also screams garden to me – for there is nothing better than eating produce straight from the garden. I found an example of this kind on pinterest and it just looked so lovely that I decided to create one as well. It was surprisingly easy to make the cabbage into a bowl which was nice.

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{Picture taken by Lauren Coppotelli Carlisle}

Smörgåstårta (Swedish Tea Cake) – Tea sandwiches are such a classic taste and so easy to make. However I wanted to put a little twist on mine and found the idea to make the tea sandwich into a cake! It was surprisingly easy and tasted delicious! However I will mention my faux pas – I did not cut off the bottom crust which made the cake difficult to cut thru – but outside of that the flavor and look was fantastic!

Pistachio Bundt Cake– One of my favorite flavors is Pistachio – especially in desserts. My garden party was also near St. Patrick’s day so I thought it would be best to create something green as well. This recipe was really easy! Instead of using white icing like the recipe calls for – I made a lemon icing instead from the recipe below.

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{Picture taken by Lauren Coppotelli Carlisle}

Lemon Lavender Cookies – This recipe was also incredibly easy and so delicious. I really wanted to do something with lavender because I think it add such a fun element to anything with lemon. Instead of cooking the lavender in the cookies I decided to just add some to the icing of some of the cookies (in case some people didn’t want the lavender).

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{Picture taken by Lauren Coppotelli Carlisle}

Plant Exchange – So even though I read a bunch of articles and talked to several people about the exchange part I really didn’t know how this was going to all work out. Luckily the ladies there brought a wide variety of plants and were so cordial in the exchange – that it really made my job easy. If I am truthful I probably wasn’t the best host during this part since I didn’t really have a game plan with the exchange and kind of just let the others take over. Next year I think I will have some kind of orderliness to the exchange so that way everyone isn’t standing around and staring. So to be continued because I would love to do this again in the future with even more success!

Pins of Inspiration – Here is a list of some other examples that I found so inspiring and I hope to use possibly in future event or garden parties! I hope that you too can find some fun inspiration in these pins.

Plant Exchange Explanation

I found this article extremely helpful and plan on implanting more of these ideas on my next go round

How to Throw a Garden and Seed Exchange Party - girl. Inspired.:

I really wanted to do this but ran out of time – but it did inspire some of my decorative pieces

This article inspired me for a lot of the food I did

WEEKEND AT HOME / 27 | D E S I G N L O V E F E S T | Bloglovin’:

This article really inspired me for centerpieces for the party as well

Outdoor floating candles and flowers:

Despite some hick ups the party was an enormous success and I think everyone was able to leave with a plant that they will come to enjoy. I hope that I will be able to make this an annual event so that everyone can enjoy some new plants and some great fellowship. Honestly the day was perfect and I don’t think I could have asked for better weather or company. I am so thankful for these new friendships and the fellowship that we share. I hope that this post will inspire others to also get involved in gardening.

Lauren Cop is a SAHM (Stay At Home Mom) of Irish Twins and Senior writer/editor of ciao_laurencop_sig-01the Olive Shoe Blog. Currently Lauren and her family live in Tallahassee, FL where she helps teach at a local pre-school. A Clemson fanatic, alumni and general sports enthusiast. She loves reading, gardening, food, and traveling. Follow her Twitter, Instagram, and Pinterest.

The Olive Shoe | Paperie & Design | Celebrating Creativity and Creatively Celebrating is designed and run by Lauren {LAC} James © 2015 LAC James All Rights Reserved.


Lauren {LAC} James
is a Sr. Designer of Product Graphics for an international manufacturing company by day and a creativity crusader, designer, planner extraordinaire, artist and blogger in her “free” time. Follow her and The Olive Shoe on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest or Instagram! Pleasesubscribe to receive emails, of course, come back and visit again soon!

Please visit the online art gallery {Art by LAC} and Etsy Shop too!

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