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Natural Arranging

Having a dinner party and forgot to pick up flowers? Well never fear, just head out to your garden and pick some fresh (and free!) flora from the yard. You can even shop in your refrigerator for a few delictibles to add to your piece.  This design is simple, natural and flowing.  I used things on hand to create this which include plants native to my yard –

Bradford pear tree branches

Mums

Creeping Jenny

Crepe Myrtle Branches

Succulents

Verbena

I also used some grapes and a plum I had in the fridge. First step was to soak some oasis fresh foam and cut to size in one of my favorite vases. img_2569

Then I added the greens – Crepe Myrtle and Bradford Pear. I let the natural shape of the stems dictate the placement.img_2571

Then I started filling in the middle using the mums, verbena, and plums. Some of the items used had no stems or small stubby ones so I used some green wired picks to give them height.

I finished it off with the Creeping Jenny, grapes and succulents..img_2576img_2582

Delightful!

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Home Grown Goodness!

Although I am no longer a practicing florist, my love of flowers and arranging them has never faded. I also love gardening and harvesting the bounty of mother nature. Some of my favorite flora to plant and work with are roses, peonies and variegated greens of all types. Any ornamental foliage you can name I love! Typically I leave the flowers in my garden alone, save for the occasional pruning for health and beauty, but every now and again I can’t resist taking a few of the really showy ones indoors.

If you want to create arrangements from your garden grown beauties, keep in mind they will only be beautiful for a day or two. Is it really worth chopping into your rose bush for blooms that will be short lived? Some varieties are bred for larger blooms with longer life on the stem, but even those will wilt after 5 days. Now, if your willpower runs dry, (like mine does), cut them from the plant with as little damage as possible and only choose the blooms that have already begun opening.

Here is an example of a gorgeous all natural, backyard grown arrangement I created for the young lady who had bought our previous home. I wanted to welcome her home and show her just how beautiful her new garden is, but also secretly hoped it would encourage her to continue caring for my blooming babies.

I used pink Peonies, yellow roses, variegated sedum, and lemon thyme to add some scent and create a cascade effect. When cutting the peonies, I took blooms that had lots of leaves on them to use as filler in the vase. The leaves also served the purpose of lacing, which held the bouquet together without using a tape grid, florist frog, or wire. I personally do not use tape grids and never have, I let the natural leaves of flowers to do the work for me.

If you want to grow plants that you can cut and bring indoors with ease here is a list of easy grow, easy cut blooms –

Roses

Peonies

Sedum

Lavender

Thyme

Rosemary

Heather

Stock

In a future post, I will do a video tutorial on how to arrange flowers in a vase without using grids or other mechanics so stay tuned!

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Easy Fall Centerpiece

Before the first leaf drops, I get the ‘twitch’. This uncontrollable urge to buy mums and pumpkins and every single item with pumpkin spice in the description. Every year I make a fall wreath, arrangement or put out some sort of display. Every year I spend way too much money on fall decor and honestly it is such a short season I am not sure it is worth the trouble. Before halloween arrives, I am already buying up Christmas ornaments and garlands for my next project.

This year I decided to challenge myself with spending under $30 for my fall decor but I still wanted something beautiful. I set off to Walmart with nothing in particular in mind except for my budget, (which my husband was very happy about), and I started adding things to my cart. As a former florist I will say that usually I would not work with Walmart brand silks. Nothing against them, but they are lower quality than the high end stuff hence the better price. That said, when it comes to silks that will be used outdoors it doesn’t matter if they are high end or not – mother nature destroys them with equal prejudice. Also, fruits and veggie silks are basically all made the same way so the cheap stuff looks about the same as the ones that are twice the price.

I picked up a medium size pumpkin for $5, a few pumpkin picks that were $1.29, and a bag of mixed gourds & pinecones for $3. I also swiped a few small/medium glitter pumpkins for under a buck each. Below is a peek at what I brought home.DSC_0201

I also picked up a small fern plant for $6. I already had spanish moss, (the grey squiggley stuff in the upper right of the photo), regular sheet moss, & green glo plant polish on hand. Those three items are part of my crafting staples. I had a total of $17 invested so far. I did cheat a little on the cost since I already had a few containers sitting around the house that were keeping the dust off the shelves in the closet. I picked a large metal one that I bought eons ago because it was on sale and beautiful but never found the right place in my home. DSC_0203

First, I sized the plant and leftover space for my styrofoam. Then I wired the styrofoam in. I chose this method for a couple of reasons, first – it was easiest! In all seriousness, hot glue does not adhere well to metal and the other alternative is to use this green stuff called stickum which is nearly impossible to scrape off. Oh and did I mention this centerpiece project is no glue? That’s right, no hot glue is used here, just some wire and God’s good grace holding it all together. DSC_0205

Once I had the foam wired in, I slipped the fern into place and covered my work with spanish moss. Moss is fairly cheap and a little goes a long way, don’t waste moss or money by grabbing a handful and stuffing! Stretch it as if you had slime in your hands and you’ll see what I mean. DSC_0208

Notice I left the top of the foam uncovered – more on that later. Next, I add the floral picks. I had 3 so I placed them first around the bottom of the foam. DSC_0209DSC_0221

I placed one on the bottom left corner and another on the top right corner diagonally. The final pick went in the bottom right corner making a triangle shape. Next, I created some picks of my own using the loose pumpkins, leaves and berries. I inserted wire, (folded in half to make more durable), into one of the pumpkins and then grabbed a leaf and a sprig of berries and wrapped them all together with brown floral tape. I did not glue the wire into the pumpkin since my plan is to take this all apart when the season is over. Glue ruins the styrofoam and can damage the pumpkin when trying to remove. If you want it more secure by all means, glue to your hearts content. DSC_0215

Finished pick –

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I made a couple of these picks and filled in the empty space in the front of the arrangement.DSC_0217

Then I added some individual leaves and pinecones to fill in gapsDSC_0226DSC_0231DSC_0230

Now that the front is filled in, I added sheet moss to the remaining visible styrofoam and around the flower pot. Notice there is is still empty space in the back corner of the arrangement and only a lone flower pick I placed there in the beginning is looking kinda pitiful.DSC_0223This area is designated for the larger pumpkin. The finishing touch!DSC_0242The larger pumpkin is just resting between the picks which support the weight easily and is not glued or wired in. Again, this is for easy breakdown without damaging the foam made pumpkin. If you desire to make it more permanent, use wire stemming instructions from the self made picks with hot glue. Here is the final result – DSC_0244Looks gorgeous! This beauty can be used on a table indoors or out. When fall is over, just pull the pick out for easy storage and the plant, which is already in a container, can provide some lasting natural beauty in any room that needs a little pick me up. I did use a terra cotta pot with a small saucer so it can be easily watered and removed without having to re-pot. A $17 investment with a huge wow effect! This fell below my budget of $30, but if you do not have wire, florist tape, moss or a container on hand, you could easily purchase the extra items for under $20. This can also be made on a smaller scale, 4 inch pots instead of the 6 inch I used and a couple less of the picks. It really depends on your preference and the size container you want to use.

Happy Fall Y’all!