It may have been a little chilly to indulge in an outdoor party on the Queen’s actual 90th birthday on April 21, but come June - the month of her official birthday - the garden should be ready for a right royal knees-up.
So, aside from Union Jack bunting and red, white and blue balloons, what else can you do to perk up your patio for your own celebratory garden party?
Indulge in some red, white and blue themes - bedding plants are ideal and there are many options. Blue and white lobelia with red verbena or geraniums provide a patriotic theme. Get started indoors now, sowing seeds of summer bedding, or buy plug plants and by the time of the Queen’s official birthday, the flowers should be in bloom.
Pom pom patio
If red, white and blue aren’t your bag, indulge in some pink frivolity with these gorgeous pink honeycomb paper party balls to hang off trees, parasols or plants around the patio. Available from Ella James (£2.50 each, www.ellajames.co.uk)
Have your cake
No birthday celebration would be complete without a delicious Victoria sponge or a few traditional scones served al fresco on a stylish cake stand. This floral glass stand should keep things sweet (£14.99, Dobbies Garden Centres, only available in store. For nearest branch, visit www.dobbies.com).
In the shade
If it’s a sizzling party, your guests may need some down time in the shade. Invest in a stylish parasol to match your garden and keep your cool. The Shanghai parasol range from Wyevale Garden Centres comes in a choice of colours - terracotta, latte or lime (£99.99, www.wyevalegardencentres.co.uk)
This quirky Fork and Spade Tea Light Holder Set made from durable steel (£12.99, www.homebase.co.uk) should raise a smile from guests at the dinner table, while a Cole & Bright Solar Filigree Table Light, with a white and colour-changing solar-powered LED inside, makes for the perfect outdoor centrepiece (£9.99, for stockists go to www.gardmanstockists.co.uk). If you have a problem with insects, choose the new Heyland & Whittle Citronella Outdoor Candle in a stylish cream and black holder (£6, www.heylandandwhittle.co.uk)
Impress your guests by growing a glut of strawberries for a June party in these handy clip-on towers from Elho which you can add to as you go. Elho’s Corsica range features this vertical garden, ideal for growing strawberries or trailing flowers, creating a tower effect by stacking them. They come in medium or small and in a choice of colours, including white, terra, taupe, anthracite, cherry, lime green, grainy sand, vintage blue, mint or lovely blush. There’s also a choice of an additional stand (only in anthracite) or saucers in the same colours. (Small vertical garden £6.99, m edium vertical garden £10.49, www.elho.com, available from UK garden centres.)
Give your patio the wow factor with some traditional, stylish new pots to impress your guests. Woodlodge has created a range of National Trust frost-proof glazed pots to complement and enhance the plants and colours of your garden. The designs and colours reflect the National Trust’s ethos that everyone needs beautiful views and green spaces to be inspired, feel nourished and to grow. The Inspire range of terracotta pots comes in charcoal, blue, green and white, decorated with the National Trust oak leaf, and inscribed with the words: Beauty-Inspire-Nourish-Grow. Available in four sizes (from £5.99 up to £39.99. For stockists, visit www.woodlodge.co.uk)
Invite your guests to pick your freshly grown herbs for their salads and barbecue meats, but don’t just present them in a bog-standard pot. Splash out on an eye-catching trio of Orla Kiely Big Spot enamel herb pots from Wild & Wolf (£44.95, www.bloomsburystore.com) and it’s sure to make the sprigs and leaves taste better.
As the temperature cools down in the evening, you might want to snuggle round a fire with your guests. There are plenty of chimineas and firepits on the market, but if you really want to push the boat out, the Solus Firecube 16”, a contemporary concrete firepit with eco-friendly ethanol burner, is launched at the end of this month and is among the finalists of the RHS Chelsea Garden Product of the Year 2016. At an eye-watering £2,000, you may want to stay in the garden all night! (Solus Decor UK Ltd, www.solusdecor.com)