Tables are set to seat six and decorated with green tablecloths. In the center of each table are two clay-colored window planters. One is filled with soil; the other contains decorative rocks and several gardening trowels. Each table setting includes a wooden window planter, dried moss and water spritzer bottles. The hostess of the party, Vivian Aronson, is organizing groups at various tables and making sure everyone is wearing an apron before starting their projects. A few friends curiously peek into the window planter packed with soil at the center of the table.
“It smells like summer,” one friend says, smiling.
The idea for container planting parties stems from painting and wine parties that have been so successful as girls’ night out activities. The organization, Plant Nite, just began reaching into the Rochester area in early March, with Vivian Aronson as the hostess. Vivian lives in Minneapolis and hosts planting parties in the Twin Cities as well.
Container parties are not a completely novel idea to Rochester, however. Viola Nursery holds private container parties throughout the year, and Sargent’s Nursery also hosts classes and planting parties.
I was sitting at a table where eight friends had decided to get together to attend the Plant Nite event at the Wicked Moose. Kari Berns found the information about the party and decided it would be a fun night out with her friends. “I just told everyone ‘Let’s do this,’” she says.
The party is organized in steps—or layers—of soil, rock, plants and decorations. Our first assignment was to layer a 2-inch base of rock at the bottom of our planters. Then, we placed the second layer, which was the dried moss, on top of the rocks. Our host, Vivian, was attentive to each table and came around to provide more of each item if it was needed. We then layered a third time using the summery, fragrant soil.
Next, we were able to choose from a plant assortment of succulents in different colors, shapes and textures, as they were passed around on a large tray. After planting, we layered the top of our planter with brightly colored rocks, moss and figurines. We also received a care card that told us where to place our planters (in bright, direct light) and how to water them (sparingly, using a mister).
“If you don’t have a green thumb, succulents are perfect for you,” Vivian tells us. “You don’t have to water them very often.”
Some of the unexpected perks of the Plant Nite party included reciting aloud The Planting Oath, which begins with a promise to keep our plants alive and “not spray my neighbor with water or drop dirt in my drink.” We also sang a song, listened to music as we planted and had a quick runway modeling show of our finished planters.
“You came here to relax and have fun,” Vivian tells us.
INTERESTED IN PLANTING PARTIES?
Viola Nursery and Greenhouse
3120 100th Avenue NE (in Viola) | (507) 259-3272 | violanursery.com
Contact expert gardener Phillip Nicklay to schedule an event. Viola Nursery and Greenhouse offers both public and private container/planting parties for groups up to 30 people.
Sargent’s Nursery1811 2nd St SW | (507) 281-2496 | sargentsgardens.com
Sargent’s hosts container, planting, and hanging basket potting parties. A native plant festival will take place at the north location in August. Check Sargent’s event page on their website for more information.
Plant Nite–Hosted at the Wicked Moose Bar and Grill
1201 Eastgate Dr SE | (507) 208-4088 | plantnite.com
Contact Vivian Aronson. Check the website for upcoming dates.
Kim Zabel, a Plainview-based freelance writer and photographer, is a musician, artist, Zumba instructor and lover of the land herein Minnesota.