Flower Class: Plate + Candle + A Few Flowers = GORGEOUS


One of the most exciting things I’ve discovered in my years of arranging flowers is how simple and quick it is to take a few little bits of this and that – a plate from your collection, a candle from the cupboard, add just a few little flowers and leaves from the yard — and combine them together to create a beautiful centerpiece or display that becomes so much more than the sum of its parts.

Here are some variations on the same concept to inspire you. Always remember, it is the IDEA I’m illustrating for you, not just the specific materials you see in the photos. I want you to activate your imagination and visualize some different combinations that might please you. For instance, you may not like these colors, or have access to specific flowers – but if you look around, you will find some elements that will work for you. Follow the formula, add your own materials, and you will have created a unique design – so easily.


There’s a big old azalea bush growing in front of my house. Every winter it has always cloaked itself in gorgeous coral-pink blossoms worthy of a flower show. This year, though, the poor thing is looking bedraggled and worn out from trying to survive our ongoing drought. And yet it perseveres, still faithfully laboring to produce a few blooms, in that amazing coral color that I love.


Last time I passed by, I decided to pick some of those blossoms and see what I could do to give them some well-deserved attention. I picked six or seven of the least-scraggly flowers, and cut a few long strands of ivy growing nearby, as well.



Next, I found a white plate and placed IMG_0835a candle in the center. After pouring a little water into the dish, I wound the fresh ivy around the candle a few times. Then I tucked the bright blossoms in among the ivy leaves and the magic happened! I placed this simple arrangement on the dining table where we enjoyed it every day for almost a week.


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Here’s the very same concept: plate + candle + a few flowers and leaves, but it looks completely different. That’s what makes these little projects so much fun to create!

I used a red and white patterned plate (Crate&Barrel), a red candle, and a few red flowers and leaves in the very same way, but the look is completely transformed.

I had a few dramatic red camellias that I arranged around the red candle. Then, as I always do, I added a few fresh leaves to add that finishing touch that makes all the difference. And look how gorgeous!



By the way, wouldn’t an arrangement like this look perfect on a Valentine’s Day table?

IMG_0819Something to remember: It isn’t always possible to have even a few fresh flowers at your fingertips, so you can easily use “silk” flowers instead. (I substituted some red silk roses from the craft store after the camellias wilted.) When you tuck in a few fresh leaves, no one will be able to tell the flowers are fake – and even if they do notice, the arrangement is so pretty, who cares?


Since I can never seem to leave well enough alone when I’m creating with flowers, I decided to add one more step. I simply set the whole finished centerpiece on top of a cake stand (this one also from Crate&Barrel) – and look how that simple step gives so much more drama to the composition.


Now it’s time for you to go out and find some flowers to play with!


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