Last updated on August 17th, 2016
Ugh. This weather! It’s 2000 hot, humid degrees here in New York’s Hudson Valley. I’m hosting dinner parties indoors not out these days. And I’m bringing my garden indoors, too, via nifty table-top displays. A dining table centerpiece is really easy to achieve. All you need is a handful of freshly-cut flowers, a bit of greenery, and a “wet block.”
What’s a wet block? Well, it’s a brick of phenolic foam that holds many times its weight in water. You can find this flower-arranging necessity at any craft or hobby shop. I recently purchased a package of 4 wet blocks for just $7.00.
The blocks can be cut to any desired shape. And that’s a good thing, especially if you are dealing with round or oval containers.
To start, take the floral block, and float it in a sink or pan of water. Let the block sink naturally as it absorbs moisture. If you submerge the block by forcing it down, you’ll end up with a block that is riddled with air pockets.
Next, select your container! A soup tureen, a shallow bowl, or even a baking dish will suffice for a dining table arrangement. Remember, such arrangements must be low enough so that Uncle Albert can watch Aunt Martha eat barbecued ribs without straining his neck. For today’s display, I used an old, mostly-white soup tureen.
If large gaps exist between the foam and your container, just fill-in with more foam. As you can see, I added some extra foam to my tureen.
Now run out to your garden, and grab some greenery. I used pachysandra because I have tons of it. Pachysandra stays fresh for a stunning length of time — about 3 weeks.
Poke the green stems horizontally along the perimeter of the container. The goal here is to conceal the edge of the floral foam.
Then poke more pachysandra into the top of the block to cover it. When you are finished, the wet block should not be visible. And by the way, a bowl or tureen of nothing more than pachysandra would look divine on fireplace mantel in winter.
But it’s not yet winter. So let’s grab some summer flowers!
I used purple zinnias, simply because they were in my herb garden. But you should feel free to use whatever flowers you can get your hands on. You might like a mixture of flowers and hues. Try to choose colors that will compliment the colors in your dining room.
Stick one zinnia into the foam.
Then add another zinnia…
And keep going…
Until you achieve the arrangement of your dreams. Or, until you run out of flowers.
Although this arrangement is about as simple as simple can be, it’s dashing on the dining table…
Magical on the mantel…
And fabulous on the Federal side table.
Well, I hope this little tutorial was of some value to you. And if you’d like to see other arrangements that professional designers Erin Brady and Sue Chiafullo have made for my home, you can find them right here.
Meantime, let me know if this August heatwave is making you melt like the Wicked Witch of the West. Honestly, it’s been so hot here that I can only enjoy my garden indoors!