In Full Bloom

Tips on creating floral centerpieces



Jeff Amberg; Styled for photography by Chad Ridenour

Spring. It’s the perfect season to create beautifully unique floral centerpieces for all of your spring parties. Flower arranging is an art that dates back to Ancient Egypt and 2500 B.C. From religious ceremonies to tomb decorations to home décor, fresh cut flowers were heavily incorporated into daily life. 

As time went on, the tradition of using fresh flowers and greenery continued to represent everything from Olympic games and military strength to beauty and wealth. Today, flower arrangements are used for sympathy, celebration or as a way to bring beauty and a breath of fresh air indoors. Living in the South, we are lucky that fresh flowers are in abundance and can be simply snipped from the garden to incorporate into any masterpiece. But how do you transition blooms from the rose bush to the dining room table? 

CMM turned to the experts for advice on simple flower arranging for springtime entertaining. Chad Ridenour offers step-by-step advice that will allow you to wow your guests with your next centerpiece.

To begin, here are some quick tips for any arrangement. Remove almost all foliage from flowers. Remove pollen from lilies as they will permanently stain clothes and linens. Put little touches of color deep in the arrangement for a surprise pop. Cut all flowers and greenery at a sharp 45-degree angle to aid in water absorption and insertion into the OASIS®. Use greenery sparingly and toward the end of your arranging process so it’s easier to place flowers that need more water and stability in the OASIS. This way, you will also know where to fill open spaces. Stem insertions are extremely important. If you do not implement good mechanics, the entire arrangement will fall apart after a couple of hours. Start with long stems and trim carefully if need be (you can’t add stems back!).

 

Garden Lunch Arrangement

Flowers used: Light blue hydrangeas, pink roses, yellow roses, lilies, lemon-lime colored Nandina and Israeli Ruscus

First, choose a bowl or vase that will be shallow enough to make conversation across the table easy.

Tape OASIS to the vase or bowl of choice. Use clear tape and not Scotch™ tape. Clear tape is designed for flowers and will not lose its stickiness in a damp environment.

Next, gently pull back the outer petals of the roses to help them visually stand out in the overall arrangement. Note: leave roses out at room temperature to keep them from ripping. Also, lightly blow on the rose bloom to separate its inner petals.

Work the hydrangeas and pink roses around each other for variation in shapes, heights and colors. However, try to keep the blooms close together in height to make the arrangement look cohesive and well-planned.

Add lilies for height and yellow roses for a pop of color. 

Add lemon-lime colored Nandina and Israeli Ruscus to serve as great fillers with a splash of color. 

Spritz entire arrangement with water for a fresh-out-of-the-garden look.

Place arrangement in the center of the table and add roses (after pulling back outer petals) to each plate.

Springtime Supper Arrangement:

Flowers used: green, white and blue hydrangeas, peach roses, lilies, Italian Ruscus and lily grass

For this arrangement, Chad used a crystal bowl that would house the bulk of the arrangement inside a large silver bowl. This gives the arrangement more space to grow while also providing reflection in the center of the table. Add a cloth underneath the crystal bowl to secure it within the silver bowl. Stability is crucial when working with large arrangements!

Again, with OASIS clear-taped to the crystal bowl, start by inserting different shades of hydrangeas. Cut the hydrangea stems for different “levels” of the arrangement. Make sure the stems of the hydrangeas almost touch the bottom of the container as they need lots of water. 

Thin out bundles of roses. Also, remove outer “guard petals” so the soft and fresh petals will be exposed. 

Add Italian Ruscus to fill open spaces. This greenery will last for months without water.

Add lily grass so the arrangement is not strictly vertical. Lily grass hangs over the arrangement and makes the entire piece look non-static. It eliminates stiffness and gives the arrangement movement for a breeze or air conditioning. 

Again, spritz the arrangement and carry inside.

For a long dining room table, add simple arrangements of matching hydrangeas on each end of the table. Find two matching vases that are only slightly shorter than the centerpiece. 

For an added touch, place small trimmings of hydrangea blooms into votive holders filled with water on each place setting. This will delight your guests!

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