Florists and other outlets charge high prices for simple Christmas floral arrangements. With just a few components, you can make one for your table, your neighbors, your boss, your friends, your child’s teachers . . .
Assembling the Components
1. 1/3 block of floral foam for fresh plant material
Be aware that two types of floral foam are available. One type is for fresh plant material, and the other is for dried or artificial plant material. Floral foam can be purchased from big box stores or stores that stock crafts and floral supplies.
2. Simple plastic container to hold floral foam
The container shown holds the floral foam in place quite well with no additional securing. These containers can be ordered from floral supply sources online in cases of 72. The final cost comes out to about $ .35 or less per container. You might be able to purchase a few from a florist. A carton comes in handy for garden club projects, designs for youth gardeners, or even for individuals who love to give floral arrangements to friends and don’t want to worry about losing an expensive container.
3. Plastic candle holder
Plastic candle holders are available wherever floral supplies are sold. Sometimes I find them wrapped with two to a package, but I have found them in groups of a dozen or more all attached but easy to separate. The holders have a place to insert a candle, and the other end is sharp pointed to stick into the floral foam. An online source lists them at 36 for $9.00.
4. Christmas ornaments/picks
Christmas picks are sold with flowers, foliage, and ornaments attached to a stem. They are easily inserted in a design to add some glitz. In addition, ornaments of any type can be purchased and glued or wired to a stem and then inserted in the design.
Choose a 12” taper candle in your choice of Christmas color. Consider not only red, but silver, gold, blue, or whatever suits your fancy.
Greenery can be any needled evergreen available. Cut stems from juniper, spruce, fir, or other greenery you can find in the woods or in your landscape. Greenery is often sold where Christmas trees are sold. Trimmings from your Christmas tree may be just the ticket. Place cut branches in water and let condition for a couple of hours or overnight. A few sprigs of holly, camellia, pittosporum, or other broadleaf evergreen foliage will come in handy for finishing the top of the design.
7. Ribbon (optional)
Ribbon should be at least one inch wide, but could be wider. Choose red, red and green plaid, silver, gold, blue, purple, or whatever color matches your scheme.
8. Cut flowers (optional)
Pick up a bundle of carnations or flowers of your choice at a grocery store or handy outlet. A bundle of flowers can be found in almost any large grocery store for $4 to $5. Stick with one type of flower for best results.
Begin by soaking the floral foam in water to which a floral preservative has been added. The preservative will help your design last longer and is often included with a pack of flowers purchased at your favorite florist or grocery store. Cut floral foam to fit your container, if necessary, before placing it in the container.
Begin by sticking greenery in the soaked floral foam. Fill it in from the sides. Make the shape of the perimeter of the design so that stems are short in front and back and longer at the sides. Place more stems in the floral foam to fill out the design. Leave the top of the block of floral foam empty. It will be filled in later.
After greenery is arranged to your satisfaction, insert the candle in the candle holder and stick it in the rear center of the block of floral foam. In the absence of a candle holder, skewers can be taped to the bottom of the candle and inserted in the floral foam.
Choose one festive ornament that will stand up beside or just in front of the candle. It might be a Santa, an elf, a star, a reindeer, or any other ornament of your choosing. The ornament may need a stick glued to it so it can be secured in the floral foam. After gluing a stick or floral pick to your ornament, stick to in the floral design right in front or slightly to the side of the candle.
Finish filling in the top of the floral foam with greenery. Choose any that is suitable, such as more needled evergreen, magnolia leaves, or sprigs of holly with berries.
Now it is time to add the finishing touches. Stick in a few fresh flowers, if desired. Wire some small, shiny ornaments on a pick and insert them in the design. Small evergreen cones, (pine, spruce, fir, etc.) can be added for a natural touch. Ribbon can be added for additional color, if desired.
Don’t Know How to Tie a Bow?
Cut several lengths of ribbon 6 to 8 inches in length. Glue a short piece of wooden skewer to one end of each piece of ribbon, Fold it over so that both cut ends are together and fasten the ribbon onto the skewer by wrapping fine floral wire over the ends of the ribbon. Stick the ribbon picks into the floral foam to approximate a bow. Stick in two or three shorter pieces of ribbon and leave the cut end showing.
Once you make one of these attractive designs, you’ll see find yourself making one for all your friends. You’ll also discover that they can be varied to suit many occasions. Make some with valentines, flags, pumpkins, or turkeys. Once you get the hang of it, the sky is the limit.
Don't have a proper container? Consider using a cup.
About Marie Harrison
Serving as a board member for Valparaiso Garden Club, the Florida Federation of Garden Clubs and the Deep South Region, and National Garden Clubs takes a chunk of my time and attention. Being a Master Flower Show Judge, a Floral Design Instructor, instructor of horticulture for National Garden Clubs, and a University of Florida Master Gardener crowds a bit more into my busy days. In addition to these activities, I contribute regularly to Florida Gardening magazine and other publications. I am author of four gardening books, all published by Pineapple Press, Sarasota, Florida. Read about them and visit me at www.mariesgardenanddesign.com.