Thanksgiving brings families, friends and neighbors together, reminds us to be grateful for all we have and to be generous toward others. One way to make guests feel special is to include a Thanksgiving centerpiece on the dinner table.
Lori Treffens, floral designer at Pesche’s Flower Shop and Garden Center, 170 S. River Road in Des Plaines, has 30 years of design experience. Treffens showed Patch step-by-step how to create a beautiful Thanksgiving “long and low centerpiece” with candles, fresh flowers and other products that will add a festive decoration to your party, and give your guests one more thing for which to be thankful.
The same concepts and techniques presented here about how to create a Thanksgiving centerpiece can be applied to centerpieces for other holidays with different plants and flowers, Treffens said.
All the materials presented here are available for purchase at Pesche’s.
Step 1: Choose a Base
Cut a block of wet floral foam for fresh flowers to fill a plastic saucer. Use strips of green floral tape to wrap the foam and secure it into the saucer. Then, put the foam and saucer under running water, saturating the foam and filling the saucer with water.
Step 2: Candlesticks
Center two plastic candle holders side-by-side on the floral foam, several inches apart, and stick them into the wet foam.
Pictured are two 15-inch tapered candlesticks. Treffens said it was a good idea to select tall candles because they make a more dramatic presentation, and they will likely last several hours.
Step 3: Greening Process
Use a knife to trim and cut one to two greenery plants. You can use Leatherleaf and Salal, also known as Lemon Leaf, as was done here.
Cut off enough leaves to expose several inches of the stem. Then, cut the end at an angle, making a tip.
Arrange the greenery with the larger, longer pieces on the bottom, and smaller pieces on the top.
Other greenery options include Gypsophila, also known as baby’s breath, and Pittosporum, also known as seeded eucalyptus.
Step 4: Focal Point Flowers
Select two focal point flowers for your centerpiece. Here, Treffens trims and places Gerbera Daises, the large yellow flowers, and orange lilies into the Thanksgiving centerpiece. Roses and orchids are two other examples of focal point flowers for centerpieces.
Step 5: Filler Plants, Flowers
Choose one to two filler plants to add to the base layer of greenery. You can use Solidago, also known as goldenrods, purple Statice flowers and Hypericum berries, as seen here, as fillers. The berries added dimension, texture and variety to the centerpiece, Treffens said. The purple Statice flowers added a pop of color, Treffens said, and were a complementary color to the yellow and orange colors. Other options for fillers include Monte Cassino flowers, wax flowers and preserved fall leaves.
Step 6: Accent Flowers
Next, two to three accent flowers can be added to the centerpiece. Treffens added green Button Mums, Butterscotch Pom-Poms and spray roses as accent flowers to this Thanksgiving centerpiece. She said she liked the green and brown colors they added to the centerpiece.
More Tips and Tricks
- Preserve freshness by adding water to the foam and into the saucer as needed. Stick your finger into the saucer and on the foam to check the moisture level.
- It is important to use a knife to trim plants and flowers for centerpieces, and not scissors, Treffens said, because knives make clean cuts, while scissors can crush stems. Crushing stems with scissors can close over some of the openings at the tip, which impairs the plant’s ability to take in water, she said.
- To enhance the appearance of the greenery a leaf polish may be applied. Here Treffens sprays a product called Lustre-Glo on the greenery. The leaf polish gives the greenery a shiny appearance, and, Treffens said, it can help the plants hold up slightly better.
- Treffens said table centerpieces can be extended and further-coordinated with the place settings in many ways. Votive candles can be added on either side of the centerpiece, for example. Other natural items such as gourds, pinecones and rose petals can be placed with the centerpiece and around the table to further-integrate the decorations and concept.
- Purchase two sets of candles. That way, if the first set burns down, and the centerpiece is still fresh, the candles can be replaced and you can get more use from it.
- Magazines such as Better Homes and Gardens and Good Housekeeping can provide some inspiration for centerpieces and table setting, Treffens said, and Pesche’s staff can provide options as well.
Pesche’s also creates custom centerpieces for customers. Orders generally take one day to complete, and, in some cases, if an order is placed by 10 a.m., it can be completed for pick-up or local delivery by the end of the day at 6 p.m. during weekdays. Most centerpieces at Pesche’s range in price from $35 to $60, Treffens said.