Arrangements: They Don’t Always Need a Container

For years I’ve taught people how to glue foam into containers before they begin their arrangement. Now I`m going to tell you that you don’t need the foam. Heck, you don’t even need the container. It really depends on the function of the arrangement.

Let`s say you`re having a party. You have to decide banquet or buffet. Then the menu, then the wine, then the china, flatware, napkins, place cards, seating arrangements for the guests and a whole list of things from soup to dessert. But what about the centerpiece?


I’ve seen dinner parties where the guests struggle for conversation while peering through the flowers in an over sized centerpiece, only to have it snapped from the table and placed elsewhere. That is our focus here.

Have you ever considered `Table Top Terrain?` It`s easy to do and looks great on the table and gives you a chance to show off your creative side too.

Autumn is approaching and what better time to use those final garden vegetables for your entertaining centerpiece. If you have a small pumpkin, a few squash, maybe a gourd or two and a few maple leaves you`re set. If not, you can pick up a variety of harvest fruit from your grocer or use those fabulous fakes. Autumn leaves will soon be in abundance and they look beautiful indoors as well as outside. Break off a few limbs and use those vivid colored leaves to spice up the table top.

Don`t worry too much about the lack of water for those leaves, they don`t need it for a few days and they`ll keep their color too! For Halloween themed buffets or dinner parties, just carve that pumpkin into a jack-o-lantern. Just to be on the safe side, don`t include a candle, but if you do, make sure to NEVER leave a burning candle unattended.

photo credit: American Institute of Floral Arts


How do you do it? Easy. This can be done buffet style or banquet style. Be sure to consider the space allowance and the amount of food or the number of table settings. You don`t want your guests struggling over the terrain too.

Using three or four inexpensive plastic containers ( I love the disposable ones ), but you can use just about any type of container you have laying around the house. If you use the plastic type, put the lids on them, (it strengthens the container – Shown in STEP 1) and place them upside down on your tablecloth or runner.

Get creative with it and play with the assortment. We`re looking for terrain here, not a flat slate. Build it up in the middle and low on the ends or low in the middle and high on the ends. Just play with it until you`re satisfied.

Then, take a piece of fabric (shown in STEP 2)in your table top`s theme color and cover the plastic containers. Now take your harvest veggies and sit them on top of the fabric covered, upside down bowls, make sure to stack them close together to allow support for the heavier pieces.

photo credit: American Institute of Floral Arts

Finally take a few of those great autumn leaves from the yard ( making sure they`re clean and free from pesticides ) and tuck them in tightly between the veggies. You can always use raffia and mini hay bales (available at your local crafting center, shown in STEP 3) to further elaborate on your theme.

Happy Designing!!!!!!

It`s just too easy!!!!!

The Author:

Richard Bedsole is the Chief Instructor at the American Institute of Floral Arts, AIFA, Inc.
Copyright September, 2003, AIFA, Inc.

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