The Great British Garden Party; colourful inspiration with Rosanna Falconer
If you are looking for inspiration for your Great British Garden Party fundraiser look no further than the mouth-watering ideas served up by Rosanna Falconer. She is a brand consultant, co-founder of FashMash and lover of all things colourful. She has worked in fashion for over a decade with brands including the British Fashion Council and Matthew Williamson. Her love of joyful colour and prints doesn’t stop at fashion, as her Instagram attests: she loves to host and entertain — where dressing the table is as important as dressing yourself!
“You don’t need a huge space or a bottomless budget,” says Rosanna. “Start with a theme – it could be your passion for peacocks or sunflowers – then add a personal twist. This might be the colour palette or a little craft or DIY in the form of personalised place names for guests. Eye-catching trinkets picked up on my travels always add a talking point to the table too. Regardless of the theme, I’ll always begin with a Pinterest mood board to gather ideas, recipes and references.”
“There’s a belief that when hosting alfresco you should use ‘garden’ pieces when in reality bringing the indoors outdoors is what will make your event really magical. Your Great British Garden Party is a celebration so bring out the best – leave the picnic set aside and transform your event with the best china, glass and cutlery. Add ribbon-tied napkins, seasonal flowers and a parasol to bring colour to the space. You could even bring out tables, rugs and armchairs – but just keep an eye on the weather! I often find it easiest to focus on one corner of the garden when dressing the space for a party. Consider heights – from a parasol for shade to scattered cushions on the lawn. Tie it all together with colour: either in monochrome (shades of blue from cyan to ultramarine are reminiscent of the Mediterranean, perfect for summer) or try complimentary shades – think blossom and mint.
When it comes to what kind of al fresco party you choose Rosanna is a fan of afternoon tea. “It’s that perfect point in the day after the midday heat and the cool of the evening. Plus if things really get going you can continue past sunset too! All the components can be made in advance and don’t need to be heated which means you have more time to host and have fun. I like to reference the garden in the menu and table – from chintzy floral teacups to biscuits adorned with edible flowers and perhaps one of my towering dahlias cakes! A little advance effort and planning makes it a real celebration for family, friends and neighbours.”
As a friend of National Garden Scheme garden owner and garden designer Jack Wallington, Rosanna has helped make the annual garden opening at Jack’s Clapham home a magical experience for the past four years. With dahlias transported from Jack’s allotment the house and afternoon tea were transformed into sell-out celebrations of September every year!
What’s for tea?
As passionate about baking as creating beautiful al fresco settings – Rosanna likes to include seasonal produce and flowers in her afternoon tea menu.
“Every year at the garden opening I find it’s either the classic cakes or the mega showpieces that go down the best. Lemon drizzle always sells out first, and that’s one of the easiest to make! The towering dahlia cake is striking – layers of Victoria sponge piled high with dahlias and berries to adorn the layers. One of my favourite new things to serve this year is classic biscuits – either with marbled royal icing (just dip them in, no precision needed!) or edible flowers like this TikTok video shows…”
Click here for the biscuit recipe