Making a winter centerpiece is a funny assignment when it’s August in South Carolina. We won’t get winter here until January—maybe—but today was the first day in months that it’s been nice enough to go for a walk in the morning without turning into a puddle. So, I grabbed my snips and a plastic bag and threw on my flip-flops and down the street I went!
I figured I’d be able to find everything I needed within a few blocks of my house—even though I live “in the city” there are wooded areas in my part of town. A leisurely hour later, I had two big armfuls and two big bagfuls of greens for my centerpiece.
Since I don’t keep floral foam hanging around my house, I needed something to help keep my branches steady when I made my centerpiece. So, I lined the bottom of my basket with some pine cones I found on the ground under the trees in my neighborhood.
If you have access to floral foam, it will help to keep your centerpiece fresher, longer. Soak it thoroughly in water and then trim the edges off the top of the block to give you more surface area to work in. Line your container with plastic wrap or a plant tray or some waterproof foil to keep the water from soaking through the container. If you have a watertight container, you don’t need to worry about this!
I started by lining the back of my centerpiece with the medium-sized leaves of what is probably cleyera. The texture will provide depth and structure to the arrangement without being overwhelming.
Then, I started adding texture and color by adding in southern magnolia, pine, and mimosa seed pods. For this arrangement, I was playing off the long, oblong shape of the basket by making the left and right sides asymmetrical.
I’ve added height with additional cleyera and texture with willow oak acorns, magnolia seed pods, mimosa seed pods, some pine cones, and the fruit from a pear tree.
A few more finishing touches before we take it somewhere for a few glamor shots!
You can see I’ve found some holly (deck your halls, folks!), some ornamental grass plumes, and I turned some of the southern magnolia leaves upside down to take advantage of the pretty cinnamon color with a velvety texture. Don’t be afraid to use the parts of the plants that you find attractive!
Place different colors and textures at the front, middle, and back of your centerpiece to create dimensional interest. Use height and texture to create interest in negative space (empty space).