Brighten up inside with outside finds from the garden

Brighten up inside with outside finds from the garden
During the fall—and even the winter—items from outdoors can be brought inside and turned into beautiful displays.

David Pippin, a Richmond floral designer, has fresh ideas for using items from your garden or yard. Pippin specializes in floral arrangements and garden consultations, and he has been the floral designer for the Executive Mansion of Virginia for almost five years.

He said it is important to have fun with floral arrangements and think outside the box. “There are a lot of photos of arrangements online. Find something you like, and try to copy it,” Pippin suggested. “Experiment with a few sprigs in small containers to get started, put it on a windowsill and enjoy it!”

He emphasized the importance of keeping arrangements in water-tight containers and of mixing things up by using interesting containers; anything from a bucket or pitcher to a basket or vase.

His other primary advice: Change the water regularly, at least once a week or when it starts to smell. Always keep the foliage above the water, or fresh items will break down faster. “Also, if your arrangement is not in a water-holding container or foam, it will dry up immediately,” Pippin noted.

For fall

For fall décor, Pippin suggested using any last-minute flowers in the garden, as well as ornamental grasses and fall foliage. 

“Using fall foliage such as leaves from an oak or maple tree is great and will last a few days,” he said. “So cut some stems, and enjoy your arrangement until the leaves start to fall from the stem.”

Aucuba makes a wonderful addition to a fall arrangement, especially the variegated varieties. Evergreen clippings and broadleaf trees such as magnolia or camellia, work great and will hold up a long time, Pippin said.

Fall produce also can be added to fresh arrangements. Try cabbages, gourds, mini pumpkins, onions and potatoes. Those items also could be part of an arrangement made in a basket, Pippin explained.
When using fresh produce, run a skewer through each item to secure it in floral foam. When using apples in an arrangement, running the skewer through the cores can make them last longer, Pippin said. 
“It’s really all about experimenting. Some of these fresh items will last longer than others. It’s important to be mindful of the temperature of the room where the arrangement will stay too. If it’s too warm, the arrangement will not last as long.”

For winter

Many items used in fall floral arrangements also will work well for winter displays.  

Broad and needleleaf evergreens such as arborvitae and Leyland cypress work well and will last one to two weeks. Pines, cedars and spruces also are beautiful.

“A fun thing to do is go to a Christmas tree lot and buy bundles of cut branches if you have none at home,” Pippin suggested. “The branches can make a wonderful arrangement.”

Consider adding your own decorations such as ribbon, ornaments and other doo-dads to make your winter arrangement feel more festive, he said. 

Adding dried flowers

You also can incorporate dried flowers into an arrangement. Hydrangea or Celosia make great dried blooms. 

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