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As we enter into the calm days of summer, our gardens bless us with bountiful bursts of colours and blooms. The bees and butterflies are busy bouncing flower to flower and the squirrels begin collecting nuts for the long winter ahead of us.
As our perennial beds burst with a variety of echinacea and hydrangeas, our container planters may begin to start looking a little tired. Rather than recycling the foliage in your planters, let’s together create a beautiful centrepiece for inside our home, using plants we find around our very own gardens.
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Here’s a step-by-step guide to making your very own DIY centrepiece.
1. Wet floral foam
It is important when purchasing floral foam that you purchase wet foam for fresh-cut flowers. Wet floral foam has a different density than dry floral foam and absorbs water so your plants stay hydrated while displayed in your home. Fill your sink with cold water, enough that the foam is completely submerged and allow it to sit and absorb water for roughly half an hour.
The purpose of floral foam is to hold your plants in place. This type of arranging is often for arrangements meant to be more structured. It is not always the most forgiving though. Once you decide on the overall shape of your arrangement, gently stick your stem into the foam but try not to remove and replace it because the foam can crumble apart if played with too much.
Always remember to choose a vessel with no drainage hole as you’ll be filling the access space with extra water.
2. Choosing your flowers Walk your garden and find plant foliage and flowers of different textures and dimensions. For this arrangement, I chose to use plants with a white hue and accented them with purple grass. I loved the way the caladium leaves acted as a flower focal point and how the olive branches added volume to the scale of the centrepiece.
When prepping your flowers for your arrangement, cut the stems at a 45-degree angle. This allows the stem more surface space to absorb water. It is suggested that even grocery store flowers should all be individually separated and cut at an angle to increase their lifespan.
Once your flower stem is the size you like, remove any bottom leaves from the flower. This will decrease any chance of bacteria in the water, helping it last longer and preventing any foul odours. It also leaves more space for your items in your vessel.
3. Arranging your centrepiece
Once your plants are prepped you can start arranging. Start with your foliage. Using your larger pieces, create the shape you’d like your arrangement to be. For my example, I wanted it to be asymmetrical and more organic looking so I chose to put my longest stems to either side of my planter rather than straight up.
Once your largest branches are placed, use your filler pieces to fill in the middle.
I like to use plants with larger foliage and different textures to fill in the middle space. Here I used caladium to fill in the largest empty area in the arrangement and dusty miller for a softer, yet fuller element.
Lastly, I added white flowers to the front of my arrangement as the focal piece. I used some of my leftover stems and cut them smaller to fill in any gaps where I might still see wet foam. You can also use moss to hide any foam. I accented it with a contrasting purple grass and added some small pumpkins and a homemade bow to finish it off.
There are plenty of ways to create floral arrangements. Floral foam is only one of many ways to assemble all your backyard blooms. If you don’t have any foam on hand or you prefer the organic look you can always simply arrange your flowers in your hand, tiering them in size and place them in a vase of fresh water.
Hydrangeas like ALOT of water. I prefer sitting them in a vase rather than foam so they can absorb as much water as needed. To get a unique custom look, I used two clear vases, one inside the other and filled the space in between with things I found around the house.
I had leftover dried oranges and cinnamon sticks and layered them between the two pieces of glass. This method is nice because once the flower stems are in the inner vase you won’t see the stems or when the water starts to discolour.
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Once the outer ring was filled with moss, cinnamon sticks and dried oranges I filled the inner vase with water and added all my cut hydrangeas from my garden. They’re beautiful to enjoy outside but there’s something about fresh flowers in the kitchen that gives me all the joy in the world.
You don’t need to spend a fortune on store-bought flowers. Walk the ditches, salvage your outdoor planters and use clippings from your very own yard to create a high-end, cozy look in your home. Knowing the step-by-step ways to get that custom look is all you need to give your guests the impression that you splurged on a beautiful centrepiece. You’d be surprised how therapeutic it is collecting, arranging, and enjoying all the work put into creating your very own DIY fresh floral arrangement.