by margaret

We’re just two weeks away from our cherished Independence
Day on July fourth. The Fourth is often thought of as a time for waving the
American flag, grilling outdoors, parades, and of course, fireworks. Since the
majority of Independence Day activities take place outside, what better way to
add to your festivities than to show your love of gardening right alongside the
red, white, and blue?

Whether you’re cooking or not, you can start with a basic
bouquet as the centerpiece for your picnic or dining table. While you can use
any combination of flowers, a mix of red daylilies, white peonies, and blue
hydrangeas can have a soft, yet dramatic effect even if you only use one of
each. If you don’t want to prepare cut flowers, then use smaller potted plants
in matching pots to display red nasturtiums, white daisies, and blue pansies.

Add fresh flavor to your table by making a red, white, and
blue fruit salad. Berry salads, including strawberries, yellow raspberries, and
blueberries, are beautiful and delicious, and make preparation quick since
little to no chopping is necessary. If you don’t want to mix your fruits, try
setting out a plate of watermelon slices, bananas, and a bowl of blueberries or
blackberries.

If your family and friends enjoy vegetables as much as
fruits, a similar approach can be taken to add more nutrients and color to your
party. Deck the table with fresh cherry tomatoes or tomato slices, boiled or
grilled ears of white corn, and a heaping bowl of steamed purple cauliflower. Fresh
salad mixes can also be made by combining cherry tomatoes, peeled and diced
cucumbers, and raw purple cauliflower, and then drizzling the mix with a little
oil, vinegar, and fresh herbs.

Before you set up your party area, however, take a little
time to mow your yard and rake grass clippings a day or two before the Fourth.
Collecting the clippings will prevent the grass from being tracked into your
home as guests go in and out. A few days before your party is also a good time
to trim back any plants which push onto pathways, droop over party areas, or
are struggling with visible areas of damage. As a safety precaution, always
check over your property where guests will be gathered to ensure no poison ivy
is growing, and clear out any poison ivy you do see. With your garden prepared
for company, and your table dressed in colorful and delicious reds, whites, and
blues, your Fourth of July festivities will be sure to please.

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