-Martha Kessinger . Author for the Activity Directors Network

Spring is nature’s way of saying, “Let’s party!”
~ Robin Williams

Every summer, The Queen hosts at least three Royal Garden Parties at Buckingham
Palace, and one at the Palace of Holyroodhouse in Edinburgh. Over 30,000 people
attend. Garden parties have been held at Buckingham Palace since the 1860’s, when
Queen Victoria instituted what were known as ‘breakfasts’.  Today, the Garden
Parties have evolved into a way of rewarding and recognizing public service. They
are attended by people from all walks of life. Here is a link to see a Royal Garden

With this traditional special event in mind, and because I love flowers, I thought
it was time to host a Royal Garden Party in my retirement community. Over the 16
years that I have worked for my company, I have accumulated many different types of
silk flowers. I also have two wonderful “sister-communities” within a 10 minute
drive from my community who use silk flowers for their decorations, and was able to
borrow flowers and vases from them.

For this Royal Garden theme party, I suggested to the residents that they should
wear floral attire. Many of them did. I had a few couples come as royalty also. They
were very clever. I also ordered paper crowns and made them available for all the
residents to wear. I wasn’t sure if the men would put them on or not, but they did
when I said they were unisex, and that we needed a King and/or Prince for the
evening among all the Queens and/or Princess there. (There are other crown options
and accessories in my Activities Director’s Store.)

I happen to have a King’s crown that came from my husband’s work (don’t ask) and
used it as part of my decorations. I am not sure where they got it, but it looked a
lot like this King’s crown. I wanted to make it a centerpiece, so I shopped for an
over sided pillow that looked royal and/ or would go with the floral theme. I knew
what I wanted, but when I was shopping I did not find something that was as
“special” as a king would use. I did find something that went with the theme and
with the color of some of my flowers.  I set the King’s crown on the pillow and then
surrounded it with flowers.

Flowers were placed in the Lobby for the reception. Residents ate appetizers and
found the crown of their choice at the party. They had a special dinner in the
dining room – where the servers had on the crowns also. After dinner, I had a guest
speaker in the Auditorium from our local botanical garden. He brought a visual
presentation to showcase the beauty that is local to our area. I called this an
arm-chair tour of the garden. I had a good audience and those who attended really
enjoyed it. I never know how an evening show will be accepted when it is not pure
entertainment (music, drama, etc.)

This was a very easy theme night to put together. I personally enjoyed creating the
25+ floral arrangements. I do know that if I had asked, there would have been
resident volunteers who would have loved to make the arrangements also. If you need
to, make sure to ask the residents to help you and as Robin Williams says, “Let’s