July Fourth Fanfare

Many of us are entertaining this Independence Day so festive Fourth decorations become key. Of course traditional red, white and blue potted plants, flowers and even fruits are featured. This year my favorite patriotic centerpieces incorporate all three of these crops with simple, quick and dazzling designs. 

 

Shop early to find all you might need, as flower shops, nurseries and craft stores sell out of America's colors quickly.

Sparkling and Edible Strawberry Centerpiece

Strawberries become the center of attention and make up this entire delicious arrangement. 

 

Materials: 

 

  • 5-inch clay pot

  • Optional: white or blue spray paint 5-inch Styrofoam ball

  • Large sharp knife to cut Styrofoam ball

  • 4 to 5 large bush ivy leaves

  • Approximately 10 greening pins or medium gauge wires you will need to bend to resemble a 'bobby pin'

  • Strawberries

  • 2 to 3 baskets

  • Wood toothpicks enough for each strawberry 

 

Directions: 

 

  1. Optional: Spray paint the clay pot white or blue. Allow it to dry thoroughly. 

  2. Cut Styrofoam ball in half with large knife. Place half of ball into top of clay pot, round side up. It may be necessary to shave the sides of the ball slightly to fit into the clay pot. 

  3. Cover the Styrofoam ball with large washed ivy leaves (remove the stem off each leaf). Pin each leaf in place with greening pins or bent wires that resemble a 'bobby pin.' VInsert toothpick into the top of the Styrofoam ball and then insert the bottom (stemmed end) of a strawberry into the toothpick. Continue this process until the Styrofoam ball is filled with berries. Place berries as close together as possible so that the ball is not seen easily.

*Note: Store your Strawberry Centerpiece in the refrigerator until party time. 

Happy Gardening,

Sparkling and Edible Strawberry Centerpiece

Guests can eat the Sparkling Strawberry Centerpiece and dip each berry into sour cream to which brown sugar is added. Use your own judgement on how sweet to make the sour cream.

Patriotic Planter

Potted plants left in their original pots and then insert into a slatted wood basket is all it takes to complete this patriotic planter. In just seconds your table with sizzle with color. 

 

Materials: 

 

  • Slatted wood basket. The height of the basket should be kept low, approximately 4- to 5-inches, to best accommodate 4-inch pots. (Select a size appropriate for your table. Michael's Craft Stores have a good selection of slatted wood baskets, as do many other retail stores.) 

  • 4-inch potted plants, enough to fit generously inside the slatted wood basket. Annuals such as red zinnias, red petunias, blue lobelia, red or white dahlias, red or white miniature roses, red gerbera daisies, red geraniums, blue or red verbena… just to mention a few, all work well. Select a combination of plants or all one variety. 

  • Green moss 

 

Directions: Two simple steps

 

  1. Simply slip the plants (keep them in their original pots) into the slatted wood basket. 

  2. Moss around the plants to hide their pots.

 

Million Stars Centerpiece

A variety of babies breath (gypsophila) is called Million Stars. This variety looks almost like babies breath, but has a bit more blooms and is perhaps slightly longer lasting. Both appear as though a fire cracker is blazing. These small white blooms say 'Americana,' and also give 'country' flair, especially when combined with small red apples and a few colorful flowers.

 

Materials: 

 

  • Metal bucket, approximately 7- to 8-inches in diameter (available in the paint section of Orchard Supply Hardware, craft stores or florists) 

  • 3 bricks of floral foam 

  • 1 to 2 generous bunches of Million Stars (or regular babies breath) 

  • 5 to 7 small (lunch bag sized) red apples 

  • 5 to 7 long wood skewers (the kind used for shish kabob) 

  • 5 to 7 stems of either red or white roses, germinis (small gerbera daisies), zinnias, daisy mums, white lisianthus or white cosmos. (Select just one variety) 

  • Knife and floral clippers

 

Directions: Two simple steps

 

  1. Soak the floral foam in water for at least 30 minutes. 

  2. Cut the foam and insert it into the metal bucket. The foam should come up just below the rim of the bucket. Now fill the bucket with water. 

  3. Cut and insert the Million Stars or regular babies breath into the foam. A round dome or oval shape should be created by simply cutting the stems at varying lengths. 

  4. Insert wood skewers into the bottom of each apple. Now insert the skewered apples into the Million Stars and floral foam. Insert them uniformly so that they are evenly spaced and so that the top of the apples meet the top of the Million Stars. 

  5. Now insert the flowers into the Million Stars and floral foam, again uniformly and so that the top of each bloom meets the top of the Million Stars.