I love creating beautiful lifestyle images for my Michigan clients at their family photo shoots, but I also love capturing the fun of family at home.  And, with the winter blues hanging on until April this year, and spring nowhere in sight, I decided that we needed to create our own springtime by hosting a garden planning party!  I invited my girls to this special party by leaving them little handmade invitations by their backpack hooks.  They found them after school on Friday and were very excited!

This little party was only for the three of us, but we had a great time!  Check out the video of all our fun and read below about how to host a garden planning party for yourself!

We certainly had a good time, as you can see here:

two laughing sisters at a spring table, Northville Photographer

5 ACTIVITIES TO PLAN AND HOST YOUR OWN GARDEN PARTY

Garden Party Sign, DIY Party Chalkboard

Mickey and Minnie topiaries, Garden Party Decor DIY

A quick note about decorations: I made most of our decorations, including the decoupaged Alice in Wonderland teapot that never comes in handy so often, the rolled fabric flowers and the Mickey & Minnie topiary danglers.  You can grab a few houseplants, some decorative succulents, and a teapot or two from your china cabinet and you’ll be all set.  This party is more about your garden, being together, and making your own sunshine when it’s still snowing outside.  Know what I mean?

(1) ROCK PAINTING

What garden is complete without rocks?  No, seriously.  What garden?  None.  That’s the answer.  In fact, where I grew up in SoCal, rocks are practically the whole garden!  My great aunt had the most wonderful landscaping that was nearly entirely rocks.  They were almost pink, pretty, and in various sizes.  I love including rocks in our garden, if it’s just to add something to our little containers, serve as a marker for a plant, or for the kids to water.  I know.  It’s ridiculous.

We used paint pens from our local craft store to create these.  My daughter went on a kick of designing only spring time animals.  I highly recommend the sharpie oil based pens which are good for stone, glass, and wood.  They will hold up better outside.  But, honestly, any paint pens will do and they work a lot better on the smooth rock surface than a brush and paint and are easier to handle.  A bag of river rocks will cost about $5 from Home Depot.  Don’t buy them at the craft store unless you only want eight, but they will cost the same as the ones from Home Depot.  And, if you have an insatiable crafter in your house, you might want the entire bag of rocks.  The hardest part will be carrying them in the house!

Garden design plan, DIY Deck Gardening

2. GARDEN PLANNING

I drew a little sketch of our porch garden that we plant every year.  This is not only a great way for kids to learn about reading and making maps, but they were able to bring their own inspiration to our design.  I noted which sides were sunny and which were shady so they could plan accordingly.  We flipped through garden magazines to get some ideas for our gardens and filled out our future garden plans.  I love my Kindergartner’s creative spelling.  I totally know that she spelled zucchini!

I LOVE this book, The Usborne Book of Growing Food that talks about how to grow food.  This will help the less…um….the less garden-y among us.  It’s a great place to start.  And, it gets really details about how to prevent diseases and bugs that are popular for each plant too.

Gardening Magazines and Books, Garden Party Activities

In hindsight, I wish that I had a pile of seed packets from Home Depot that they could have looked at to make their plans.  Those packets tell you everything, including which plants need sun and which need shade.  That’s a lot to harder to discern when flipping through a magazine.  But, I wanted them to pick out seeds themselves.  That could be a great “field trip” portion of your party!

Miniature fairy garden in a bowl, garden party activities, Northville Photographer

3. MINIATURE FAIRY GARDENS

We also made miniature fairy gardens.  These are so easy!  Anyone can make them.

You just need three things: a container, some filler for a base, and garden miniatures.

My favorite fairy garden miniatures are from Joann Fabrics.  They have the best selection in a variety of themes.  And, they usually have the previous season’s selection on clearance.  I bought all these little ceramic friends for just a few dollars because I got them on clearance!

basket of fairy garden critters, DIY Gardening Party
As for your base, you can use sand, real dirt, rocks/pebbles, or shiny glass pebble filler for your garden base.  I like the glass pebbles because they are not as messy, but still made a great presentation.  They were a little lumpy, so we added some wood circles to make platforms for our critters.  I cut apart three sprigs of succulents to make the plant life for our gardens.  The bowls I found at Home Goods in clearance (wahoo!), because one was broken and missing, but guess what?!  I only need three anyway!  SCORE.  Our entire miniature fairy garden project cost less than $40 for all three and the girls were thrilled to make something.

Older girl making a fairy garden, Northville Photographer

4. CHECK YOUR GARDEN TOOLS

We also sorted our garden tools!  We discovered that I have no gloves and the girls have no shovels!  I put that on the “must buy” shopping list.  In fact, I found shovels, some gardening bags, and even little kneeling pads at the store and called that an “Easter basket.”  Some kids might frown on gardening tools for Easter, but my kids loved it.

tasty cake truffles, garden party treats, edwards catering northviller

5. EAT SOME TREATS!

A party just isn’t a party without treats.  🙂  Our delightful treats are from two shops in our little downtown area.  Do you have a small town where you like to shop?  Who wouldn’t love these chocolate cake truffles and colorful sugar cookies?  If you happen to end up in Northville, Michigan, make sure to stop at Edward’s Bakery and Great Harvest Bread Company for some take home sweets!

young girl making a fairy garden, South Lyon Photographer

I loved sharing this little bit of spring with my daughters and I also enjoyed just hearing them talk about the garden and what they hoped to plant.  My oldest focused on food.  She really wanted things that we could USE from the garden, regardless of whether she would eat them!  My youngest wanted to plant pretty things.  This doesn’t surprise me as their personalities tend to be practical and what I can only describe as “tulle-y.”  Can that be a personality type?  I hope so.  Otherwise, I would describe her personality as PINK.  haha.

little hands making a fairy garden, Kids gardening activities

In the end, I will treasure these portrait pictures as a reminder of the lovely afternoon we spent together, sharing something from my childhood, gardening, with my own daughters.  No matter the season or the snow (UGH), things always feel sunny and warm with these two!

Spending your own afternoon creating, cooking, baking, or gardening with your littles?  I’d love to photograph you!  Contact Me to book a session and you can have your own sweet memories captured forever too!