Turning Grocery Store Flowers into a Holiday Centerpiece

Happy Thanksgiving everyone! I know, it’s been a LONG time since my last blog post. I have tons of topics that I’ve been meaning to get into the blog, but alas, it was fortunately a busy wedding season! So here’s a fun blog post for everyone out there who’s hosting Thanksgiving tomorrow and will undoubtedly receive some flowers – most likely from your local grocer. Below are some steps I took this evening to show how you can turn what would typically be the ‘ol flowers in a vase into a gorgeous Thanksgiving centerpiece.

*I should note, to make this post as realistic as possible, I sent my husband out to get ‘grocery store flowers’, he of course came back with some quite lovely bouquets from Whole Foods! Oh well – looks even more amazing than!

So here’s my selection to work with, a mixture of roses, hypericum berries, and some calla lilies.

The first step is to pick out your container. Try to find something other than a typical vase, I have a small collection of milk glass, and selected this piece because of its graceful shape, and rather low profile. (Perfect for talking over at the table). The next step I like to do is full deconstruct the bouquet. I organize the flowers by type, which helps me create the arrangement later, so this is what I end up with:

Next step is to prep all the flowers, it takes a little bit of time, but really makes your arrangement look professional. Below are pictures of the rose stripped of leaves first (you can do this quickly by taking an old washcloth, holding the base of the flower head with one hand, and running the washcloth tightly down the stem with the other). Next you’ll remove all the old petals from the outside of the rose. The last image shows me ‘forcing’ the rose to open up a bit. You can do this by running your finger in a spiral the direction of the bloom, opening it up, or gently pushing it open from the top. *Caution: this will cause the flower to not last as long, but as this is for Thanksgiving, I wanted the arrangement to look it’s best on the big day, and didn’t have time to wait for the rose to open on it’s own.











Now you can see the difference between a polished rose, and the original state it came in out of the package. Much better!

Then I remove all the extra leaves and berries that I know will sit below the waterline in the container. This will help the arrangement last longer. Looks like we’re all set to start arranging!

To make your arranging MUCH easier, I recommend keeping some floral foam on hand. You can find it easily at any craft store, Michael’s seems to have the largest selection. Of course, all of mine was at my floral studio, so I cheated and put in some decorative rocks I had left over from a terrarium to help hold my stems in place while I worked. Also, once you remove all the excess leaves from your flowers (which are mostly torn up and dead anyways), you’ll lose a lot of volume. This is the perfect time of year though, since I just hopped out into my yard and took some autumnal leaves off my maple. It works as a great filler, is much more unique than your typical ferns and baby’s breath, and gives what would have been a very traditional arrangement some fun, interest, and texture. Below is what I started with for the ‘base’ of the design. The leaves were easy to work with to quickly get an idea of the shape and height I wanted the arrangement to be:

From the leaves I work down the list on the strongest design elements in the arrangement. Next I put in my roses, spreading them out, followed by the calla lilies, and finally filled in any leftover holes with the berries and extra greenery. I like to group hypericum berry branches together, to make a larger impact:











And voila! Your grocery store flowers are now ready to present for your holiday feast!











And of course, in the spirit of Thanksgiving, feel free to leave a mess for someone else to clean up! Cheers!

1 thought on “Turning Grocery Store Flowers into a Holiday Centerpiece”

  1. Lovely transformation! Lots of good ideas; especially like adding natural things from the yard. My holly will come in handy at Christmas. Didn’t get those grocery store flowers this year:(

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *