Celebrate in style with this magnificent centerpiece
Valerie Arelt selects fall fruits for their colors ― red pomegranates and apples, and orange persimmons, kumquats, and mandarins. She incorporates clusters of fresh pink peppercorns and red berries such as nandina, and fresh flowers such as coral freesia. For foliage, Arelt likes chestnut, eucalyptus, liquidambar, magnolia, maple, and oak leaves mixed with citrus and grape leaves. Green winter wheat and dill weed also work well in this kind of centerpiece. If you use kale as a focal point, buy small plants from a nursery (they will be smaller and fresher than kale purchased in the produce department of the grocery), then remove the soil and submerge the plants in water.
For more holiday decorating tips, check out Valerie Arelt's video: The Glorious Art of Christmas Decorations.
WHAT YOU NEED
* Seasonal materials: fruits, flowers, foliage, berries, and vegetables (see Arelt's suggestions above)
* Garden shears or scissors
* Florist's picks
*One block of soaked florist's foam
*One 10-inch-diameter plastic or terra-cotta saucer with a lip
* Florist's tape
* Lazy susan (revolving tray)
1. Separate fruits, vegetables, and foliage into clusters. Cut greenery and vines into 12-inch-long sprigs and set aside. Select your best leaves and use florist's picks to wire a single leaf or small clusters of leaves together on one pick. Push the blunt ends of other picks partially into the fruits and vegetables, leaving the pointed ends to stick into the florist's foam. When all your materials are ready, arrange them within easy reach of your working area.
2. Cut the foam block into two sections, one of them two-thirds of the block, the other one-third of it. Then cut the small piece in half widthwise. Slice 1/2 inch off the corners of each section of foam. Place the large section in the center of the saucer and position the two smaller pieces on either side. Secure foam to the saucer with florist's tape, keeping the center free for flowers and foliage, and set the saucer on the lazy susan (for rotation while you work).
3. Insert long strands of foliage or sprigs of berries at the far ends of the large section of foam. Stick foliage into the lower sides, using the rim of the saucer as a base; insert the material so it radiates from the center, like the spokes of a wheel.
4. Place large focal pieces (such as pomegranates and kale) near the center of the arrangement and put smaller or more delicate fruits and vegetables at the ends. Use bold leaves to accentuate fruits and berries and use flowers such as freesias for additional color if needed.