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Their housewarming turned into a planting party.

Friends wanted to celebrate the completion of Patti and Les Polette's house in Auburn, California, so the couple planned a housewarming party. It took a new twist when, in answer to offers of household gifts, the owners suggested garden plants. The Polettes turned the fall gathering into a "gardenwarming" by inviting friends to come in work clothes and dig right in. If you are hurrying to finish fall planting this month, you could adapt their idea to enlist aid.

Here we describe how the Polette party worked. Gardeners who have plants on hand and want help putting them in can just follow the suggestions for preplanting preparation and party-day arrangements. Since heavy rains are more likely as the month proceeds, it's also a good idea to list an early date as well as an in-case-of-rain date on the invitation.

Along with a map to the new house, the Polette party invitation listed plants that a landscape designer had recommended--mostly small 1- and 5-gallon-can sizes of easy-to-find plants. Some friends pooled resources to buy a specimen tree; others contributed cuttings and transplants from their own gardens.

In the weeks before the party, the Polettes outlined planting beds, prepared the soil, and installed an irrigation system.

On the day of the party, they put out additional soil amendments and tools--can cutters, shovels, and rakes. You can also ask friends to bring tools.

A large drawing of the garden design, placed where everyone could see it, showed where plants would go. It also gave helpers a picture of what the garden would look like in a few years. The landscape designer helped volunteers follow the plan as they planted out their gifts.

Because nearly 200 well-wishers came, everyone had name tags to help strangers get acquainted. Guests helped themselves to refreshments and a buffet lunch.

How did the party go? Friends were enthusiastic and enjoyed the old-fashioned barn-raising spirit. And now when the helpers return to visit, they have the chance to see how "their garden" grows.
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Copyright 1984 Gale, Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.

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Date:Nov 1, 1984
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