Top ta­ble cen­tre­pieces

Whether coun­try chic or for­mal glam­our, a ta­ble set­ting is not com­plete with­out a flo­ral cen­tre­piece.

NZ Gardener - 365 Days of Flowers - - Floral Design -

As cen­tre­pieces are typ­i­cally used at ta­bles where peo­ple sit and eat, they should be low enough for your guests to see over them. They will need to look good from all an­gles as well – at­ten­tion to de­tail is vital.

DE­SIGN EL­E­MENTS

To con­sider your de­sign as though it was in situ, it can be help­ful to ar­range a ta­ble cen­tre­piece sit­ting down. By do­ing this you can see which are the fo­cal flow­ers in the ar­range­ment and cre­ate or ad­just ac­cord­ingly. A lazy Su­san helps to view your ar­range­ment eas­ily from all an­gles as you're de­sign­ing. Se­lect a low con­tainer so that your flow­ers do not sit too high, or pedestal con­tain­ers where flow­ers sit above eye-level. To cover an en­tire ta­ble, flow­ers and fo­liage can be tied to­gether to form a flo­ral gar­land, but to en­sure your flow­ers last the dis­tance, flo­ral foam blocks, such as Oa­sis Deko­rette Bricks, can be used. These range from 23cm to 46cm in length (they can also be joined to­gether) and come with trays so water does not sat­u­rate the ta­ble.

FLO­RAL CHAIR BACK

Flow­ers at­tached to the back of a chair add a gor­geous touch to any cel­e­bra­tion, but they're most of­ten seen at wed­dings. You can eas­ily cre­ate your own chair back de­sign with a few sim­ple items.

At­tach a small, flat foam cage (al­ready moist) to the back of a chair us­ing string or rib­bon. The rib­bon can be in­cor­po­rated into your de­sign. Choose a se­lec­tion of flow­ers that match your bridal bou­quets, and fo­liage. Start by in­sert­ing the fo­liage at the sides, then insert flow­ers, also on the sides first, then in the cen­tre.

If you wish to have your flow­ers hang in a swag-like man­ner, make a sphag­num moss "rope" (see in­struc­tions in Wed­dings & Events un­der Cir­cu­lar Arch) and insert your flow­ers and fo­liage into this. The moss should be just damp rather than sat­u­rated, oth­er­wise water will drip all over the floor, or worse, onto your guests' cloth­ing. At­tach string or rib­bon to ei­ther side of the swag be­fore you start in­sert­ing flow­ers. Use this to hang.

Both these tech­niques can be used to dec­o­rate walls, col­umns, pil­lars, posts and church pews.

LOW- KEY LOOK

Dis­play­ing flow­ers in jam jars or cheap and cheer­ful vases is an easy, adapt­able ar­range­ment that suits many themes. Both the flow­ers and vase are sim­ple – and in­sert­ing a mix of short-stemmed gar­den blooms in a ran­dom man­ner is some­how art­fully pleas­ing. There is no need for arm­fuls of blooms. Show­ing off sin­gle flow­ers in sev­eral small con­tain­ers is by no means bor­ing.

These sim­ple ar­range­ments can be juiced up by in­clud­ing rus­tic wood plat­ters (make your own by cut­ting “slices” from fallen tree trunks and sanding them back) or vin­tage sil­ver-plated trays that are found in their hun­dreds at op shops.

If you’re by the sea, bring in drift­wood pieces. At­tach suc­cu­lents or air­plants to them, or drill holes into the wood and insert ta­per can­dles – but make sure the drift­wood is se­cured to the ta­ble (ad­he­sive Vel­cro is great) so that it doesn’t move, caus­ing the can­dles to top­ple.

Wild­flower and meadow-style ar­range­ments are right on trend. Pick sim­ple daisy-like flow­ers, like chamomile and fever­few, and sprigs of English laven­der, or pick any small-headed gar­den flow­ers and loosely ar­range them in vases to con­jure up some­thing akin to a wild­flower meadow. This style works for soft, har­mo­nious colour pal­ettes as well as pal­ettes with vi­brant hues.

SWEET AND SIM­PLE

This sim­ple ta­ble gar­land is cre­ated by wiring stems of or­na­men­tal grasses to­gether to form a long cen­tre­piece. Long-last­ing flow­ers are then pushed into the grass gar­land to dec­o­rate it. Used here are the small daisy-like flow­ers of chamomile, the larger daisy-like flow­ers of leu­can­the­mum, red clover ( Tri­folium pratense) blos­soms and pretty pur­ple-pink sweet wil­liams (di­anthus). Grasses are also used to tie the linen nap­kins.

FLO­RAL HEAD­DRESS

Make your crown at the last mo­ment or the night be­fore your event. Place it in the vegetable crisper of your fridge, on a piece of damp pa­per towel.

Choose a se­lec­tion of hardy flow­ers, like chrysan­the­mums and lep­tosper­mum, and long-last­ing fo­liage, like eucalyptus.

To make: Cut two pieces of florist's wire to fit around your head. Bend into a cir­cle and wrap flo­ral tape around both pieces of wire to cover it.

Cut flower and fo­liage stems about 10cm long. Make small "bou­quets", like bou­ton­nieres, wrap­ping the stems with flo­ral tape. Fas­ten to the crown us­ing flo­ral tape. Each bou­quet should over­lap the pre­vi­ous one to cover the tape.

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