|Generous foliage can lend a sense of being in a garden |
to floral arrangements. Photo by James Robert Fuller for WSJ.
See full decorating steps at: http://goo.gl/bCteHH.
|At the dining table, bear in mind that high arrangements |
can cut off the flow of conversation.
Photo by James Robert Fuller for WSJ.
ENERTAINING at the holidays is a perennial joy, but festive flower arrangements can be an annual puzzle. “It should feel effortless,” says florist Emily Thompson, who says she believes flowers aren’t just for the table and can be used in every room in the house.
Choosing one type of bloom or a dominant color to repeat through the house goes a long way toward taking the stress out of choosing flowers, says Ms. Thompson, the New York-based florist whose clients have included the White House. “There’s beauty in a feeling of coherence and continuity.”
In her floral designs, Ms. Thompson insists on using plants in season to evoke a sense of time and place. The same branches that bud in spring are laden with fruit in autumn, and locally sourced cuttings will be less expensive than hothouse blossoms that must be flown in.
In winter, garlands of evergreens easily lend themselves to repetition throughout the house. They can be placed over doorways and on mantels, as well as in wreathes and bouquets. “Evergreen lasts and lasts and smells wonderful,” she says. Pine, cedar, spices and citrus are evocative of winter holidays.
- Choose a dominant color or flower to lend coherence to party bouquets.
- Focus attention on entryway and dining-room arrangements, the most memorable spaces.
- Think about perfumed and scented flowers, especially in the guest bathroom.
- Locally grown flowers, branches and vines will evoke a sense of season and place.
- Potted plants can be sent home with guests as gifts.
Think of the flowers for your party the way guests might, says Ms. Thompson. The first thing they see is the entryway arrangement; the dining table is where guests spend the most time. You will get the most blossom for your buck if you emphasize the flowers in those rooms.
In entryway arrangements, call attention to flowers with a large, dramatic display. Use branches to give the display size and be generous with foliage, to suggest the experience of being in a garden. Tucking flowers between vine leaves as if they were hidden in the undergrowth brings a sense of the wild indoors, one of Ms. Thompson’s hallmarks.
At the dining table, repeat some of the entryway flowers or colors, bearing in mind that high arrangements can cut off the flow of conversation across the table. For a long dining table, create groupings of arrangements so that every guest has a slightly different view. Ms. Thompson suggests combining cut flowers with potted plants such as homey topiaries, herbs or African violets.