How to create a colorful fresh fall centerpiece from flowers and greens that you can get around your garden and at your local grocery store
I felt like when I was trying to think of what I should start this blog with, it seemed appropriate that I should start with a floral centerpiece because:
- it’s one of those things that looks like it would be really hard and it’s not at all (seriously!)
- you can get what you need from the grocery store or around your house or along the side of the road
- Fresh flowers immediately brighten a room and make it feel more dressed up
- assembling a centerpiece is a meditative activity
- who doesn’t need something relaxing to do during this pandemic??
Most importantly, we could all use more reasons to stop procrastinating and clean off the kitchen counters, dining table, or where ever else you decide to assemble and display your gorgeous creation. I know, cleaning is hard, but your house will look AMAZING when we’re done with this.
Best yet, this is not a pricey endeavor either. Most flowers and greenery and accent items can be found either within your yard, garden, a nice neighbor’s yard (ask them first!), or at the local grocery store. I frequently find really lovely things growing wild along the road as well and will often end up with a handful of wanderlust flowers and greens on walks.
Selecting Flowers for Your Arrangement
The ones I’m using for this arrangement are a mix of both purchased flowers and ones that came from my yard and garden. Frequently at the grocery store, they have seasonal “pre-made” arrangements for around $15 and individual flower bouquets for between $8 and $12. Not exactly knowing how many flowers I needed, I purchased 3 bouquets from the store:
- Alstromeria (these are the orange lily like flowers)
- Chrysanthemums (these are my big reddish flowers)
- Yellow & white mixed bouquet (lots of good accents and greens)
Though the mixed bouquet I bought was not in the color theme I really wanted of reds and oranges, there were lots of nice accent flowers and other filler type flowers that I could incorporate into my main centerpiece. I knew I could create other florals for elsewhere around the house from whatever I did not use (you can see this floral at the end of the post).
Once I got home, I perused the yard and found some grass tufts, heuchera leaves, fern fronds, rosemary, and a few other small bits to add into the arrangement if I wanted. This is an easy and economical way to get some of the green filler elements that allow for someone to get the most bang for their buck from a bunch of purchased flowers. Basically, with the extra greens, I will need to use less flowers to fill a vase so I can have more flowers for other arrangements.
Prepare Your Flowers
Now, it’s really important that you prep your flowers for arranging by getting them into water to start rehydrating as quickly as possible. Flowers will be traumatized and wilted from being cut or transported and they need to sit in water and recover to look their best.
Before soaking, trim off any leaves or broken foliage and at least the bottom inch or two of stem. Don’t trim so short you won’t have enough for your arrangement, just a fresh cut to be able to drink up the water efficiently. Cutting the extra foliage off will also help prevent dirt and germs from mixing into the water which could then get sucked up by the thristy flowers. Germs could shorten the life of your arrangement, which would definitely be sad after going though the effort. Along the same lines, make sure that the vessel you use for this pre-soak, as well as the arrangement, is squeaky clean (remember germs are bad).
Fill the pre-soak vessels with cool water and allow the flowers to sit for at least an hour or two if you can if you can before doing any arranging. Personally, I try to leave them overnight if I can, or get up early and shop and prep early in the day. If you don’t have time to pre-soak them, make sure you monitor the water level more closely for the first few hours after arranged.
How to assemble your centerpiece
So now the flowers have pre-soaked, you’ve hopefully remembered that you need to clean somewhere to arrange and display these flowers and done that (or are now urgently doing so), you have a vessel picked out for your arrangement…and you’re ready to go! Let’s get started!
What you need:
- small pruning shears or kitchen shears
- a medium vessel (mine was 9″ x 4″h)
- a floral frog, or some wire, or large mesh, or other implement for floral frog (I’m using a small planter drainage insert)
- 5-6 chrysanthemums
- 6-7 stems of alestromeria
- 4-5 stems of sedum
- 4-5 english ivy vine tendrils
- 4-5 heuchera leaves
- 3 stems spray roses
- 3-4 accents (pods, tufts, poofs, etc)
- 2-3 floaty accents (grass tufts, feathers, dried flowers)
Step 1: Place your “frog” and some water into your vessel
Step 2: Trim and place approximately half of the greens in the bowl. Aim for the leafy elements to sit at the edge of the vessel and just start to spill over the bowl. The vines will obviously do this more, but they should only just touch the surface of the table at most.
Step 3: Trim and place approximately half the mums, alestromeria, and sedums around the edge of the bowl, on top of the greens.
Step 4: Use the remaining mums, alestromeria, and sedums to loosely fill in the middle of the arrangement, creating a low dome shape with the arrangement. Trim and place the spray roses to fill in any large gaps.
Step 5: Trim and place accents and a couple sprigs of the various greens into the dome to fill any final holes in the arrangement. Let a couple of the floaty elements spray out from the top if you have them.
Step 6: Turn the arrangement around or walk around the arrangement if you can to review all sides and make any final adjustments.
Step 7: Clean up and enjoy your new floral centerpiece!
At the end, you might have some extra flowers, especially if you bought as many flowers as I did. Trim them and place them in other small vases and vessels around your home. Take a look at the arrangement I did with my left overs!