Just as I was beginning to think that we’d bid a fond farewell to summer, the forecast is looking positively Mediterranean-like (almost) for the next week or two. So why not take advantage of this upturn in temperature and celebrate the last few days of summer with a cheery picnic in the garden? Fancy it? Here are my top picks for the perfect family picnic … and yes, prettiness counts as much as practicality!
1: A Basket
While many tend to opt for a hamper, I much prefer the ease of popping everything in a basket. Plus, a basket is multifunction so a far savvier purchase than a hamper which will inevitably sit redundant in your hallway for the majority of the year. My favourite baskets always come from Garden Trading. They’re strong, sturdy and look amazing. I have the Bembridge Market Basket and it’s perfect for picnicking, shopping, foraging, or popping in the corner of your living to house extra blankets.
2. Blankets and cushions
If the grass is a touch damp, a blanket with a waterproof backing is your best friend. If it’s dry, then you can simply grab your favourite table cloth and some comfy floor cushions. I came across Armadillo Sun at the Tatton Park Flower Show. I missed the boat in buying a couple of their luxury bean bag chairs for this year (doesn’t seem a whole lot of point now we’re in September), but they’re on my list for a spring 2020 purchase. They’re sturdy, colourful and waterproof. I’d definitely recommend them.
3. Colourful crockery & durable glassware
Picnicware doesn’t have to be bland and boring. I love to use colourful crockery out in the garden even if it hasn’t specifically been designed for outdoor use. I tend to choose plates with fun designs as they make my little boys smile but I always opt for glasses that promise to be pretty much unbreakable. Acrylic tumblers are my go-to, particularly the Milly ones from Mario Luca Giusti. Never have picnic glasses been so glam!
4. Easy-to-grab nibbles (and wine)
So what to pack for the perfect garden picnic? I'm a big believer in keeping picnic food simple. Crusty bread, crumbly cheese, cured ham, and anything else that catches your eye at the deli counter. Go for shareable rather than sophisticated. And all washed down with a glass of something cold - wine or beer for the adults and lemonade for the little ones, obviously.
5. A sun hat, sun cream and citronella
It might not be the height of summer any more but don’t neglect your skin. Sun hats and sun cream are still important even when there are clouds in the sky. And don’t forget the citronella candles to keep away the last of the pesky bugs. Having completed many late evening garden trips with our new puppy recently only to return covered in bites, I can confirm that there’s still many around.
Finally, garden games, particularly if you have children accompanying you. We loved giant dominoes and jenga. Although, a simple pack of cards can be equally entertaining. Uno is our new favourite although I’m not sure that we’re fully au fait with all the rules yet … there’s a lot of them.
Enjoy what remains of the sunshine. And happy picnicking.