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Centerpiece Fun–Using Pumpkins As A Centerpiece Vase

I just love decorating for the holidays and this time of year is just full of rich colors and textures and with so many choices on how to create fabulous tablescapes for your holiday parties.

One of my favorite things to do with arrangements this time of year is to incorporate the use of gourds and pumpkins into centerpieces. I’ve done a whole series of videos on decorating for Fall and Thanksgiving and a couple of those use actual pumpkins to hold the flowers.

Pumpkins need to be prepped in order to use them as a vase and that first step is to hollow out the pumpkin itself. One of the best things to use to make the opening and insure that it is large enough to hold your arrangement is to use a linoleum cutting tool that can be found at any arts and crafts store. This type of tool will easily cut through the tough shell of the pumpkin and allow you to make the hole large and even. Because you will be using the pumpkin as a shell for your vase, you’ll need to make sure to cut the opening just up to the crown of the top. This way, it will not only be easier to hollow out, but provide ample support for your arrangement. You’ll need to secure your vase to the bottom of your pumpkin to make sure that it does not tip or wobble after filled with water and your arrangement.

Coating the opening with Vaseline will actually help to extend the life of the pumpkin by preventing air from getting into the opening and will cut down the chances that the pumpkin’s own scent will interfere with your arrangement.

Some of the videos we have available that will show you just how to do this are on our products page and available for purchase for just $4.95

Picking The Right Flower…

…could be as simple as your own back yard. Finding just the right flowers for your arrangements are not just limited to Wholesale Markets, Greenhouses or Florists. Depending on the time of year, your own backyard could be the perfect choice for creating beautiful flower arrangements. I have a fabulous garden that I often use for my flower choices. So if you are thinking about creating an arrangement for yourself or for somebody else and don’t need the services of the places I talked about last time, consider these other options:

Private Gardens – There is nothing more precious than presenting somebody a gift of flowers that you grew yourself. If you are going to use a private garden for creating flower arrangements, you should do your homework and make sure that the flowers available are going to be the right flowers for what you are creating. Not to mention that private gardens are not usually shielded from the elements. One harsh rainstorm or cold snap could put a crimp in your plans.

Flower Markets and Stalls – Like greenhouses, they sell to the retail market and you won’t need to purchase in large quantities. Flower markets and stalls are one of the more cost effective options for purchasing flowers, but they are limited in the type of flower offered. They usually specialize in more common types of flowers and your choice of colors will be restricted to the stock on hand.

And if you live in an area that does not have a flower market, you might want to check out the local farmer’s markets. Especially in the spring and summer when well planted gardens are overflowing with blossoms.

Flowers, Flowers Everywhere

So, you’ve done it, you’ve made several arrangements, gotten tons of compliments and have now accepted the chance to prepare some flower arrangements for a friend’s event. And after deciding just what type of flowers you want and sketching out the designs there is one bigger question to answer. Where do you go to get the flowers themselves?

There are a number of places you can go to get the flowers you want, although not all of them are available everywhere, so you should definitely check out your local area to see which one of these general resources are around.

Wholesale Markets – Wholesale markets will have a big selection of flowers for you to choose from, but they do not always sell to the retail market. And if you are looking for additional advice on how to arrange or care for your flowers, wholesale markets do not generally provide this information. What they do provide is the ability to buy flowers in large quantities.

Commercial Growers or Greenhouses – Using Greenhouses or a Commercial Grower will definitely insure your flowers are as fresh as they can be. Most Greenhouses sell to the retail market, but the downside is, most of them are limited to the types of flowers they grow and sell. You may need to visit several different greenhouses in order to get all the flowers you have decided on using.

Florists – While purchasing your flowers from a florist is going to be more expensive than some of the other options, consider the wealth of information that comes along with using a professional florist. They will not only be able to help you by telling you what flowers are available when, but they will be able to get you specialty flowers and florists do have access to the wholesale markets that you as a retail buyer may not.

Decisions, Decisions: So Many Wonderful Choices

There are just so many different types of greenery to add to your flower arrangements. Last time I talked about general rules of thumb to follow, picking sizes and colors to compliment your flowers. Now I’d like to share with you some of the different kinds of greenery that you can use.

Magnolia leaves are wonderful for larger flowers. These thick dark green glossy leaves add great body to your arrangement and make a perfect picture frame for your flowers.

Ivy is often used in bridal bouquets, especially cascade bouquets because it not only adds great color, but adds great visual appeal. Ivy is available in a variety of sizes.

Eucalyptus is a very popular choice for greenery. There are so many different varieties and color options. It also has a lovely aroma of it’s own.

Lambs Ear is a soft leaf that makes a wonderful filler. The velvety green leaves go with so many different flowers.

Ferns bring a dainty touch to your arrangement. They have a very good vase life which makes them extremely popular, especially when combined with roses. And there is such a wide variety you are sure to find the perfect match for your arrangement no matter what color your flowers are.

I also love using decorative branches in arrangements in place of greenery. Manzanita and curly willow make a wonderful addition to a larger arrangement. Ti leaves also are great for larger arrangements and I’ve used them in several of the videos here on the site. Their large glossy leaves range from 4-6 inches in width and can be up to 32 inches long. They have a vase life of close to 2 weeks.

Picking The Right Greenery

You can design the most beautiful flower arrangement imaginable, but without the right greenery choice, it could fall flat. Think of greenery as if it were a picture frame, complimenting your arrangement. Color, shape and size are all very important factors when selecting the right greenery for your arrangements.

Color-Just because it’s called greenery does not mean that it is always green. Dusty Miller is a lovely silver grey color. Eucalyptus leaves are available in orange and red as well as a silvery green. Canna leaves are a lovely chocolate brown with a hint of green. A number of fillers can be purchased dyed. And the greens can range from yellow-green all the way to extremely dark green, depending on the type of greenery selected.

Shape and Size-This is very important to make sure that you have the correct balance between blossoms and greenery. You would not want to put large leaves with dainty flowers, such as daisies.

Vase Life – Greenery,unfortunately does not have the longest shelf life. If you are using leaves from your own garden, the best thing to do run a test by placing the cut greenery in a vase by itself to see how long it lasts. Greenery purchased from your local florist has already been chosen for a longer vase life so it can be a better choice.

Seasonal – Most greenery is available year round and will look work with any arrangement. You will, however want to avoid using evergreens, holly or autumn leaves except during the fall and winter season.

Creating That Perfect Combination


Creating personalized flower arrangements for your home is a wonderful way to express yourself and bring beauty into a room. But, creating the right combination of colors can be daunting. There are four basic color scheme definitions and knowing a little about each will definitely help you as you think out what colors will make create the perfect spotlight for the room you are planning to put your arrangement in. Of course, the first thing you should select are the types of flowers that you want which will dictate to some degree the colors that you chose. A color wheel is a great tool to have as you sit and plan out your wedding.


Related or monochromatic colors -This is one of the easiest schemes to create because it takes one color and uses various hues of that same color, such as pale pink, pink, red, dark red. You can prevent this scheme from looking bland by mixing up the types of flowers that you are using within the arrangement. This will help create diversity and great eye appeal as well as keeping with the related theme.

Complimentary Colors – These are colors that are opposite each other on the color wheel. Examples are yellow and violet or red and green. If you think about it, a lot of what we think of as traditional holiday colors are just complimentary colors on the color wheel. You can even take this a step further and use some eliments of the Monochromaic scheme and give a wide variety of visual appeal by using various hues of your complimentary colors.

Triadic Colors – This scheme is a little more difficult and consists of using three colors on the color wheel that appear in equal distance to each other. Or form the shape of a triangle as shown in the image. They don’t compliment each other and may be more difficult to work with. An example of triadic colors would be blue, yellow and red, or purple, orange and green.

Discordant Colors – This color scheme is one of the most difficult to put together and is best left to the professionals. It is made up of two sets of complementary colors. It takes great skill to put these together without ending up with a clash of color

Table Garlands

As we will shortly be into the holiday season, I wanted to share with you a really lovely idea for decorating your table that can fit in with any theme or season. Using garland as a centerpiece is a really creative way to add something special to your holiday dinner. I used an artificial garland in the example above. When you buy your garland, don’t buy the cheap, sparse type, it really looks bad. Like with using real flowers, always get the best you can afford, it makes a huge difference in your arrangement appearance. Your local craft stores have all sorts of garlands available, whether you are looking for just a seasonal one or one specific to a holiday, they are the place to shop. And you can always combine two of them together to create a really unique piece.

The centerpiece above has a fairy theme. I used a 9 foot piece of garland and folded it in half and intertwined the branches so it looks like one big piece of garland. Then I added bows, which I have been using for the past several years (I store them away and take them out every year…you’ll have to fluff the bows when you take them out of storage and be sure you use WIRED ribbon or don’t plan on reusing your bows.) To continue with my fairy theme, I added fairies into the garland as well.

The bows have four different types of ribbon included in them…. a 2 1/2 inch green wired ribbon, a 1 1/2 inch purple wired ribbon, a 1 1/2 inch burgundy wired ribbon and a gold cording. I chose these colors because they work with my fairies and I like to be just a little untraditional in my personal decor.

Notice that there is still plenty of room to set the table without having to remove the garland from the center of the table. When I set the table, I use gold chargers and I tie each napkin with a matching gold ribbon. My set table is so pretty you don’t want to sit down and eat at it, but you can and we do!

Cymbidium Orchids

I love working with cymbidium orchids. If you’ve been a member of our site for awhile you know that I use these lovely flowers in a number of my arrangements.

There are 52 different species of orchids and they are available in a wide variety of colors, white, cream, yellow, pink red, brown, green and greenish yellow. The Green Cymbidium Orchid is very popular with florists because it is one of the very few flowers that are naturally green. Green cymbidium orchids have a fabulous range of colors, going from a pale green to grass green or a rich dark olive. These colors do vary by season, so my suggestion is that if you want to use Green Cymbidium orchids in an arrangement, find out first which ones are available and plan your other flower colors around them.

Cybmiduim Orchids have a very long vase life, in some cases up to 5 weeks with the proper care. This is one of the reasons that they are so wonderful to work with, they will look their best throughout the life of your arrangement. This also makes them the perfect choice to add to Manzanita branches as I have talked about in my videos. They make a fabulous companion flower for any such large arrangement. The picture below shows them mixed in with spider mums and button mums being used as a chair end Pomander for a wedding.

High Style Manzanita

I love working with Manzanita, this tall flowering branch can create some of the most spectacular and stately centerpieces imaginable. For instance the centerpiece to the left uses silver painted Manzanita branches with hanging crystals in a glass vase with black aqua beads which are similar to marbles in appearence.

Manzanita is native to the foothills where I live. It is naturally a dark reddish brown color with sage green foliage. In it’s natural state it looks lovely in a vase; however, when you paint it a different color, not only do you change the look, you change the style of the centerpiece. The painted Manzanita takes on a more modern feel, while the natural Manzanita is, well, earthy, organic, natural looking/feeling. The picture to the right is an example of natural Manzanita.

You can also use other flowers in conjunction with Manzanita. The lovely arrangement below shows natural Manzanita branches with green cymbidium orchids attached in various places.


A Quick Fix to Prolong Flower Life

Would you believe that you can prolong the life of your flower arrangements by using an every day household item? That’s right you can. These days every flower delivery comes with that special packet of flower food, but suppose you are doing your own arrangements? You’ve purchased your flowers, you’ve conditioned them, the vases are all lined up and ready to be filled and you realize that you didn’t think to pick up flower food.

Let every day household bleach come to your rescue. That’s right, just a little bit of bleach in each vase, anywhere from 3 drops to a 1/4 of a teaspoon depending on the size of the vase and you’re good to go. Your flowers will stay fresh longer than they would in just regular water. This is because bleach minimizes or kills the bacteria in the water.

Bacteria is the number one reason that flowers fade too quickly. Even if your vase is squeaky clean, the bacteria that may be in your tap water can cause stems to rot and flowers to fade much more quickly.

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