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Summer Sungazing: Hosting a Solar Eclipse Garden Party on August 21!

This summer sees one of the rarest and most beautiful gifts that nature has to offer: the total solar eclipse.

A solar eclipse happens when the sun is blocked off by the moon, creating what looks like a ring of fire in the sky. Full solar eclipses aren’t that common, especially ones that are as close to Earth as this August’s eclipse will be. The next eclipse that will be this close and full won’t take place until 2024!

This August 21st offers us a fabulous opportunity to gather with friends, enjoy the beauty of the outdoors, and revel in the wonders of the sky and the celestial bodies above.

Make your garden party almost as memorable as the eclipse itself with these fun and classic solar eclipse viewing tips. Put on your sunglasses and invite everyone over for a once-in-a-decade party!

Tip #1: For Locations, There’s No Place Like Home 

In an ideal world, we’d all be able to jet our guests off to one of the country’s best eclipse viewing sites, such as those offered in the Midwestern United States. That said, there are plenty of options for viewing the eclipse from the comfort of our own homes.

For the best experience, I recommend complementing a low-key backyard viewing with the official NASA telecast on standby. Just make sure you check out this handy eclipse timing map to schedule your event around the time that the view of the eclipse will make its way to your home base.

Tip #2: Build on the Theme

While the first ideas that come to mind when planning a space-themed party might revolve around ten-year-olds’ birthdays, I find that if I focus on the beauty of the eclipse itself, I can create a fun and classy eclipse-themed party perfect for the outdoors.

Using the solar eclipse as my inspiration, this August 21st I plan to use reds and yellows against a gold and white backdrop for my color palette. I’ll bring in some fabulous gold elements from our highly matchable Lionel Richie Home Collection to represent stars,  and a few pops of color with red and yellow candles to symbolize the sun.

Let your imagination guide you—and remember that when it comes to decorations, a little color goes a long way. Plus, the sky will provide the perfect backdrop for your lovely summer gathering. Keep in mind that since most of us in the U.S. will be enjoying the event in the late morning or early afternoon, some daytime-friendly décor is in order! 

Tip #3: Bring in a Mix of Fun and Traditional Treats

Because an event like this is so rare, I like to take the opportunity to really splurge in terms of my meal planning. While I usually try to serve healthy meals, this time I plan to go decadent and offer an array of dessert and drink options.

For some fun space-themed cocktails, I’ll prepare a sweet tequila sunrise (tequila, orange juice, and grenadine) and the Sinatra-inspired Fly Me to the Moon (Bootlegger, egg white, grenadine, absinthe, and lemon juice).

In case it’s a bit too early for your guests to indulge, I always put together a mimosa bar for brunch and morning garden parties. This gives people the option to enjoy a light splash of champagne or to create their own fun mix of orange and other juices, sans the liquor.

For snacks, try some traditional Chinese mooncakes and Taiwanese suncakes. They’re easy to make and delicious—plus, they’re said to bring both love and luck to anyone who eats them! You can also bust out your Fourth of July cookie cutters to make some star-shaped cookies, Jell-O, or watermelon for other fun, simple treats.

 Tip #4: Stay Safe 

While many of us may have been a bit careless as kids, watching a solar eclipse without proper eye protection can be extremely damaging to our vision. I always take care to protect my eyes from the sun’s harsh rays on normal days, but looking straight up at the sun requires a whole other level of protection! The good news is that you can prepare some simple eclipse viewers to protect your eyes—check out these easy instructions for DIY card projectors.

A Once-a-Decade Event

With the next solar eclipse almost a decade away, an August 21st viewing party in the garden can be a great way to fully enjoy the event and share it with your loved ones. Celebrate this gorgeous natural sight with some of these fun tips and make the occasion one to remember for decades to come!

Featured Garden

THE LANGUAGE OF THE BLOOM – Flowers

Have you ever visited a beautiful flower garden and taken time to observe the natural variety of colors and hues? From the deep passionate red of the rose to the delicate and gentle lavender clematis, each tells their own language – be that the language of love and admiration or a heartfelt message of sympathy.

So what does each color signify? What do we need to know when choosing a floral gift or flowers for a particular occasion?

 

Red Flowers

Demanding attention and capturing a vibrant, passionate energy, red is the color of love and romance – giving red roses is well known as being a traditional romantic gesture. Red flowers are a close symbol of the heart – they are powerful, command respect, and are dynamic and impulsive, but above all symbolise desire, love and admiration.

Pink Flowers

Pink colored blooms represent fresh beginnings and convey the sweetness of youth. It’s also a romantic colour symbolising grace and innocence. Light pink flowers suggest a feminine energy while brighter shades suggest friendship, happiness and love.

Blue Flowers

Blue is an unusual color for flowers with most containing a hint of purple. Truly blue flowers represent tranquillity and harmony – giving out a sense of honesty and security, calming worries with an air of peace and openness.

White Flowers

White is the colour of the circle of life. White flowers given at significant life occasions such as a birth conveys innocence, love, peace and purity. Equally they are often noted at funerals as well as weddings for being that gesture of respect to highlight the peace and purity aspect. A bouquet which features predominantly white blooms is graceful, elegant and demonstrates a simple, but natural beauty

Yellow Flowers

Yellow flowers symbolise the color of the sun, evoking happiness, friendship, success, pride and joy. Yellow is a color associated with spring time –new beginnings and fresh hope. The daffodil and sunflower, typically spring time blooms, signify this light hearted, relaxed and happy time.

Lavender Flowers

Lavender flowers personify femininity, refinement, grace and evoke memories of our youth – Lavender scented drawers and distinctive lavender perfumery display a delicate mix of old fashioned quaintness and modern day timeless and elegance. Lavender flowers are a softer shade of purple, and whilst not symbolising the regal qualities of purple, lavender sends out a message of youthful beauty.

Orange Flowers

Orange colored flowers are bold, full of life and suggest a flamboyant air. Orange blooms will speak for themselves in terms of evoking confidence, enthusiasm and friendship. Often seen in floral arrangements where people may gather together to discuss ideas, orange flowers are fiery and vibrant and are therefore used to help bring out passion, boldness and natural exuberance.

Green Flowers

Traditionally green flowers are said to bring good luck or good health – the clover and shamrock being examples. Green is the color of nature and perfectly complements other colors for being a balanced tone. It represents the optimism of renewal, of spring and of youthfulness.

Purple Flowers

As a color purple has long been associated with royalty, dignity and ceremony, purple flowers also symbolise this. Traditionally used for dignified or successful occasions, purple flowers highlight admiration and adoration. They have a distinctive charm – an almost enchanting elegance brought about as a result of their ceremonial use.

 

So as can be seen, flowers have a significant, yet hidden language. Next time you need to think about sending a bouquet or even visit a stunning floral exhibition, you’ll be able to understand the emotion behind each color and see nature in a new light.

What is your favorite color?

 

Featured Garden

The Origin of Bonsai

The Origin of Bon-Sai 盆栽

chinese temple bonsai

Bon-sai, often misspelled as banzai or bonzai, is a miniature tree grown in a pot by using artificial methods to control its growth. It’s true definition means Tree in a Pot.

The Bon-sai has been around for thousands of years originated in China and eventually made its way into the Japanese Culture. Originally only the elite of the society practiced pun-tsai with native-collected specimens and the trees where spread throughout China as luxurious gifts.

During the Kamakura period, the period in which Japan adopted most of China’s cultural trademarks, the art of growing trees in containers was introduced into Japan.

 

 

bonsai

 

 

These are a couple of my favorite styles

Informal Upright Bonsai style

Moyogi 
The informal upright style is common in both nature and in the art of Bonsai. The trunk grows upright roughly in the shape of a letter ‘S’ and branching occurs at every turn. Tapering of the trunk must be clearly visible, with the base of the trunk thicker than the higher portion.semi cascade bonsai blog

Semi-Cascade Bonsai style

Han-kengai 
The semi-cascade style, just like the cascade style, is found in nature on cliffs and on the banks of rivers and lakes. The trunk grows upright for a small distance and then bends downwards and to the side.

Unlike the cascade style, the semi-cascade trunk will never grow below the bottom of the pot. The crown is usually above the rim of the pot while subsequent branching occurs below the rim.

semi cascade bonsai A blog

Bonsai care:

Location: Remember bonsais are actually mini trees. To keep it healthy and growing, place your bonsai outdoors or somewhere close to the window where it may receive plenty of sunlight.

Water: When the top soil of your Bonsai is complete dry, water it carefully. Don’t drown it, but make sure it gets soaked equally with enough water.

Pruning: Trimming your Bonsai is an art form and to most a mediative stress relief project. It takes time and practice and should not be rushed.

Use a Bonsai trimming tool and not regular scissors (you wouldn’t get a hair cut with random scissors, would you?). Do not be afraid to prune your Bonsai; it is important, especially in the outer and top areas, to prune regularly in order to force the tree to distribute growth more evenly.

The ultimate goal of growing a Bonsai is to create a miniaturized but realistic representation of nature in the form of a tree.

Price Range: You will find bonsai trees for a variety of prices from $50 to $1000, and sometimes even more.
Bonsai trees make a unique and thoughtful housewarming or hostessing gift instead of flower or wine.

Popular Bonsai Designs

bonsai selection types

Bonsai at it’s best on Pinterest