Picnic-Photo Courtesy Kim Wisely from Flutter magazine at Florabundance Inspirational Design Days.  Designer is Francoise WeeksSummer is coming. The days are getting longer and warmer, birds are nesting, butterflies flutter over bright blossoms and my heart is singing.

This is the time of the year I sneak out of work a little early and rush home. Not to sit inside. I rush home to change my clothes and dash outside for an evening picnic.

From casual with a blanket on the grass, a table in the backyard, a rocking chair on the front porch or a formal dinner with a tablecloth covered table, this is where you will find me for the next several months as I celebrate the sunshine days.

Of course, when I rush home I’m carrying a bouquet because no picnic is complete without flowers. The addition of a single bloom (or a bouquet or, better yet oodles of flowers) makes even the simplest picnic a celebration.

Keslers-FloralDesignInstitute-Hydrangeas

Start with a big glass of lemonade on the front porch – nice. Add a friend – even better. Add a bright yellow sunflower bouquet – it’s the best.Keslers-FloralDesignInstitute-Sunflowers

If you’re inviting friends to a backyard soiree, add candles to the table. As the sun sets, you need only to light the candles and the evening of laughter and conversation can continue into the wee hours.

Photo-Courtesy-Kim-Wisely-from-Flutter-magazine-at-Florabundance-Inspirational-Design-Days. Designer-is-Francoise-Weeks

For a contemporary, graphic table set, add the dramatic yellow craspedia. The globe shaped blooms look like miniature suns on the plate. And a secret: They look just as beautiful dried as they do fresh. You can tie a cluster of three craspedia together with a bit of raffia or ribbon and re-use them throughout the summer. Your friends will think you were just the most prepared person on the block with your flowers at each place setting. You certainly do not have to share that this is the third (or fourth or fifth) time you’ve used this table setting décor. It’s our secret!

Photo by David Kesler Design by Bill Shaffer and Kristine Kratt

Once dinner is cooked, take a moment to ice the beverages and set the table pretty with flowers — that’s the most important part. Then, just call, e-mail, text or post to all your friends, “come on over, dinner’s ready!”