Planning the perfect garden picnic

Ah, summer. The glorious months when the kids are out of school, and it’s perfectly acceptable to spend more time outside than in. Might we suggest you add the Arboretum to your list of outdoor adventures, and join us for a delightful meal, al fresco? Here are some tips for how to spend the perfect picnic afternoon with us.

What to pack: A great picnic starts with great food. If it’s a particularly toasty afternoon, go with light, refreshing items such as cucumber sandwiches, pasta salad and fresh fruit. When you’re packing your goodies, don’t forget the utensils. Also, water bottles are essential, and juice boxes are a good option for the kids. Pack your food and beverages on a bed of ice or nestled in a cool pack to keep everything at the right temperature. Alcohol is permitted. Bring along cups, plates and napkins to cover all your serving bases, and pre-moistened towelettes are perfect for post-picnic cleanup. Bring along a sizable blanket for sitting, a good bottle of sunscreen with at least 30 SPF and insect repellant to keep creepy-crawlies at bay.

Where to sit: You’re going to want a shady spot. Fortunately, the Arboretum has several lovely ones to choose from. Sit underneath the Gazebo at the Boswell Family Garden or venture over and enjoy the gentle mist of the Palmer Fern Dell inside the Jonsson Color Garden, featuring shady shrubs and plants and enjoy the beautiful Peacock topiaries bursting with summer plantings. The Chandler Lindsley Shadow Garden was practically made for picnics, with its mature shade trees and beautiful magnolias, and the Pecan Grove provides a glorious view and picnic tables.

Post-picnic activities: After you’ve enjoyed a tasty picnic lunch, take a stroll through the 66-acre Arboretum grounds. Stop along the Crape Myrtle Allee to experience the spectacular outlook or put your feet in the ever popular Toad Fountains and you’d be remiss to skip the Women’s Garden reflecting pool. For a moment of tranquility, guide the family down the steps to the McCasland Sunken Garden or stroll through the Nancy Clements Seay Magnolia Glade, where a waterway and gorgeous blooms make you forget you’re in the middle of the city. Of course, you’ll want to spend time in the Rory Meyers Children’s Adventure Garden’s galleries before heading to the Hoffman Family Gift Store for a memento of your special day.

Don’t forget, you can always purchase food and take it to-go from a number of places in the Arboretum for your picnic. The Children’s Adventure Garden Cafe by Two Sisters offers an array of delicious items to add to your picnic spread, including Lemon Tarragon Chicken Salad or the Picnic Style Potato Chip Crusted Chicken Tenders! Find a full list of options online.

Click here for more information about the gardens and upcoming special events. Happy picnicking!