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Thanksgiving floral arrangement

It’s not the turkey I’m excited to put on the table this Thanksgiving, it’s the floral centrepiece I’ve challenged myself to create. I’m putting down the baster, stepping away from the oven and shifting my focus from food to flowers. My attempts at cooking are rarely successful, so I’m hoping my talents will bloom elsewhere.

My fine dining friends have informed me that flowers are an essential part of any gathering, regardless of size (or cost), and as much a part of the dining experience as the food (even a distraction from a poorly cooked meal perhaps?). So, if someone else is going to be investing all that time into cooking the meal, the least I can do is create a table worthy of their efforts in the kitchen.

Formal or informal, a group of flowers set on a table creates a mood and invites guest to gather around the table. Because there is no fine china adorning my dinner table, I am going to keep my look casual and fun.

Vase choice

Think outside the box when it comes to your vase choice. There are plenty of wonderful vases in the world to display your arrangement. But let’s be honest, the flowers themselves are where it’s at. So why not upcycle some objects you already own or repurpose a used piece to display those stems? Browse through your local site for some potential floral treasures.

Here are some items that just might work for your table:

Antique tea pot on

Glass bowl on

Blue glass fruit bowl on

Vintage chip bowl on

I’ve decided on an old kitchen colander and a collection of beer mugs (real classy, right?). With my flower holders ready to go, it’s time to pick some buds.

Luckily for someone florally challenged like myself, Maureen Sullivan and Kathleen Fleming of the Maureen Sullivan Floral Design School are on hand to get me started. With a few helpful tips from these pros, not only will I too be able to arrange flowers (almost) like an expert, I just might make this the best Thanksgiving ever (it can’t be worse then that time mom made mashed potatoes instead of her traditional scalloped).

Choosing your flowers and accents

Put down the colourful corn and mini pumpkins, there is more to Thanksgiving décor than guards and kernels. Fall is full of rich colours and you can make a great arrangement just by poking around your backyard and rummaging through the fridge. Fallen leaves, boxwood, hydrangeas, apples and kale from the garden are a great start.

With the help of my experts, I have chosen my florals and fillers. I have picked a bunch of Chinese Lanterns, a handful of kale, a mix of leaves (from the neighbours’ backyard), sedum and sunflowers.

Get your tools and supplies ready!

For my arrangement I needed a plastic liner for inside the colander (a Tupperware bowl would do nicely), fresh flower foam (that green block), a knife and a pair of scissors.

Trim the ends of the flowers and greenery, and soak the cut ends in a leak-proof container that has enough water to cover one-third of the bottom of the stems. Next soak the floral foam in water until it is fully saturated. Remove the water-logged foam from the water and use a knife to cut the foam into a shape that fits firmly into the container. Now on to the fun part!

Arranging the flowers

Measure twice. Cut once.

Because I am creating a table arrangement, all my flowers will be cut low. The flowers and greenery placed in the centre will be cut longer than those placed along the bottom. Think about your arrangement’s shape before you start snipping. Work in threes (a simple tip from the pros). I bunched three groups of a single Sunflower, kale and Sedum together and placed the groups evenly spaced apart in the foam.

I added the remaining Sunflowers and kale until I could no longer see any of the floral foam. I sporadically placed the Chinese Lanterns in place to complete the look.

While building your arrangement, step back every so often to look at the overall shape of your creation and confirm that it has a balanced look. Don’t be afraid to pull flowers out and move them around (I had to do this several times).

Final words of wisdom

I totally forgot to add the leaves I gathered. As a final touch, I had them poking through the bottom of the arrangement.

Wondering what I did with the beer mugs? I simply placed a Sunflower in each and placed a mug on either side of the centrepiece.

This task was surprisingly fun and easy to do. You don’t need to spend a lot of money to create something really beautiful and unique. Flowers make anything look good. Add some seasonal vegetables and you have yourself a perfect Thanksgiving centrepiece.


Freelance Writer, Mom to One and an avid believer in supporting local and living simply.

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