By Marsha Fottler –
At Flavors & More, we’re all about the pleasures of the table and that includes fresh flowers, plants and creative centerpieces for your welcoming table, formal and relaxed. Most people fret too much about making a centerpiece and they suspect the project will be time consuming and expensive. It’s neither. Take control, follow simple guidelines and you’ll have a table that’s dressed for success.
* Decide on a theme and color scheme. The theme should match the season of the year or a special event being celebrated – birthday, graduation, Thanksgiving, Hanukkah, whatever. The color for your arrangement should reference your china pattern, your table cloth, napkins rings, whatever else is going to be part of the table arrangement. The object is to achieve a harmonious whole.
* Shop your house and garden before you buy flowers because an original centerpiece is more than flowers. As you travel from room to room look for interesting travel souvenirs, books, things you might not usually consider as vases such as three pretty empty perfume bottles or wine decanters. If you’re going for an informal look, how about three mason jars or three cream pitchers or a chipped teapot. Outside, look for greenery with nice texture in various colors. You’ll want some twigs with twisting shapes, pods, berries, even fruits or vegetables. Now fill in with flowers from the grocery store or a local florist. You’ll need fewer flowers than you thought.
* Organize your arrangement on a large round platter or a serving tray. Having the floral and non-floral items in your centerpiece grouped together increases the visual impact. Also, you can easily lift the whole thing up and move it to another location. Once you get all the items together, play with them. Vary the heights, add some candles (the new battery operated flickering pillars are terrific) and realize you can mix containers of fresh flowers with vases of dried flowers or faux plants to achieve your look.
* If you don’t have time to be creative, grab your favorite vase or pitcher and fill it with all white or another other one-color flower. A monochromatic arrangement can be sophisticated and beautiful. Remember that every color has a range of hues and shades, so if you’re doing white flowers go from snowy to cream. Use different kinds of compatible flowers, berries and pods but keep to that single color. Cut all leaves off below the water line. Change the water every three days until your flowers die and are ready for the compost heap. Every gracious table needs a centerpiece. Now it’s your turn to create one that is uniquely your own.
* One of my favorite and oh-so-easy centerpiece is one or three empty red wine bottles with a single sunflower in each bottle. Works every time.
What could be easier, you put a fresh sunflower in an empty wine bottle and call it a centerpiece. For a long table, use five or seven with a big long-stem flower. Pick the flower according to the season or the color scheme of your china and table linens.
A collection of perfume and food bottles, little books, even a faux plant can be part of your table arrangement. Organize your centerpiece on a tray for convenience and add candles if your meal is after 6 p.m.
A monochromatic arrangement always works and is the easy to do.
[image credits: Rod Millington – http://www.rodmillington.com]