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This time of year is ripe for entertaining with cooler temperatures and outside dining. No matter what you are eating, it is always nice to have a great centerpiece of some sort on your table.

I visited with Bri Hewitt, manager at Oberer’s Flowers in Westport Village about how to make my own centerpiece and how to really make it last. They have so many options in their flower room, it was definitely hard to pick. I wanted a non-traditional arrangement, not your typical roses.

Here is what I picked out–definitely not your typical flowers. Not a baby’s breath in sight. I used cockscomb, tansy, rose hips and pincushion protea.

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Rosehips and cockscomb


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Pincushion Protea


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Tansy (a wildflower)

Now that all the elements have been gathered, it is time to assemble them. (I enlisted professional help from Bri Hewitt at this point.)

Here’s how to make your own arrangement in ten easy steps so that it will last:

1. Put greenery in first.

Greenery takes up space and holds everything in place. It will act as the foundation for your arrangement.

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Trimming off leaves at the bottom of the greenery

2. No leaves in the water.

Remember with your greenery and your flowers, try to trim back any lower stem area leaves. Wet leaves rot quickly and this will compromise your arrangement.

3. Organize in groups of three.

Whether it be three, six or nine, thinking in odd numbers is a more artistic approach and makes everything seem even in your arrangement. Trust me, this works.


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4. Every stem needs a fresh cut.

Be sure to give every piece of greenery and your flowers a fresh cut before you put them in your vase of water. The fresh cut allows the stem to absorb more water. As the flowers get older, they develop a seal (or a scab); cutting the ends gives them a fresh start. It is easiest to use scissors or tiny hedge clippers.

5. Try not to cut everything at the same height.

Along the lines of being more artistic, have your flowers at different lengths. You can cut all of one certain type a certain length to keep it organized.

6. Or, conversely, stick to one height and use all the same flower for a modern look.

Modern arrangements stick to one flower choice and one height. It is a simple, pretty and elegant look.

7. Create a viewpoint.

There are several ways to create a viewpoint or a focal point in your arrangement. Make one flower the center and build around it with different varieties of flowers or different heights. Another way to do this is to make flowers in the front shorter than flowers in the back. A modern approach is uniformity of flowers, with all flowers being similar heights and bunched together, thus becoming one big focal point.

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The focal point is the flower in the middle center here. It is the shortest and everything else in the vase frames it.

8. All stems do not have to go straight to the bottom.

Don’t push your stems all the way to the bottom. The only rule is that the bottom of the stem has to be touching the water, whether that is sideways or straight down.

9. Always keep the vase full of water, but you don’t necessarily have to change the water.

Who knew? You don’t have to change the water all the time, just make sure that the vase is full. Give the flowers something to drink. If you do change the water, go ahead and give everything a fresh cut, removing that seal on the end of the flower stem.

10. Think outside the box for your arrangement.

Twigs, cotton, mixed with exotics or wildflowers make for a great arrangements. Try all the same color, but different flowers.


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These simple steps will get you at least a full week to maybe even two weeks of enjoyment, depending on the flowers.

Don’t have time to pick up fresh cut flowers at the florist? You can custom order your fresh cut arrangement online by clicking here:

Oberer’s Flowers is located in Westport Village, next to Westport Whiskey and Wine.

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About the Author
Heidi Potter