How I got 5 Flower Arrangements for Thanksgiving out of $38 worth of Grocery Store Flowers. A Fresh DIY Story, Part 1: the Centerpiece.


Stretching your flower budget is all about being creative. Unusual containers, found-object add-ons, fruits and vegetables, and my favorite filler, moss. I stopped by the Cherry Creek Whole Foods in Denver on Saturday to grab some freshies and make some pretties for the house for the upcoming Hanukkah/Thanksgiving week. As always, my budget is teeny, so I aimed to stretch it as far as I could while still using quality flowers. I spent about $38, including the pears used in the centerpiece.

A few tips for getting the freshest grocery store flowers: In Colorado at least, Whole Foods has the highest quality selection of flowers, hands down (believe me I know, I was in the floral industry for over a decade), and their prices are not much above wholesale. The best selection in Denver proper is the Cherry Creek store, though the very best is the flagship store in Boulder. I always head right to the floral counter and ask what just came in. Don’t be shy! They are happy to show you. On Saturday spider mums and gerbera daisies in great Fall colors hadn’t even hit the floor yet when I grabbed a bunch of each. I added in a dozen beautiful roses (always feel the heads, you want them to be firm, never squishy) and a bunch of seeded eucalyptus. Then I headed to the produce department for some beautiful pears. Fruits and vegetable make great additions to flower arrangements and they are nice and cheap!

When I got home I foraged for some sticks from the back yard and grabbed a handful of Spanish moss (I always have a bunch of moss on hand), picked out some containers and got busy. Today I’ll show you the big centerpiece I made for the dining room table, then tomorrow you’ll see the other four arrangements.

First things first: Gather your supplies. Vases/containers, flowers, any add-ons (sticks, fruit, moss) a floral knife (a good sharp paring knife will do in a pinch), clear floral tape, floral preservative (grab a few packets of this when you buy your flowers), and today I also needed Floral life Sure-Stik. (These items are all available at most craft stores.)


For the centerpiece I selected a round dark purple glass vase (purchased from the thrift store, of course). When it comes to table centerpieces, you generally want them to be low enough for your guests to see over and to look good all the way around. I decided to go with a more “High-Style” arrangement for Thanksgiving. This means it will be more style/design and less substance, ie: “stuff”. (less stuff means less cash ;-)). Step 1: Tape off the vase. Taping off the vase will hold the flowers in place, which means you need to use fewer greens and filler.


Next comes the foundation, in this case, a nice stick I pilfered from the back yard. I played around with the placement until it looked right.


I held the stick firm to the vase using more clear floral tape. Then it’s time to start filling in with just a touch of greens, in this case, seeded eucalyptus, one of my favorites (it dries nicely too if you’re into that).


Then a little moss to cushion the pears which came next. I also added a few bits of moss to the stick, just wrapping it around to secure it.


Now it’s pear time. This was the most challenging part. I used the Floral Life Sure-Stik, which is crazy sticky and water resistant as well, to secure the pears to the stick and to each other. The pears were so heavy this still was not enough, so I ran a single layer of clear tape low around the three pears to hold them together, and it worked. See the green stick-on stuff? This is where my Spanish moss comes in to cover it up, as well as the tape.

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I love the way the group of pears looks, and it takes up a lot of visual space that would normally have to be filled with (more expensive) flowers. OK now it’s time to add the flowers. I started with three of the roses coming out along the long end of the stick.

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…then I added a group of three red Gerbera daisies at the other end to balance them. It’s all about visual, not literal balance in a high-style arrangement. The big daisies make up for the long roses opposite them. Just play around with the flowers till it looks right. We still have some filling in to do with the mums, 1 more Gerbera and a few more roses for the other side (remember it has to look good from all angles).


Looking good! If there are any little bare spots you can tuck in a little more moss.

And we’re done! Here it is on the table looking pretty as a picture, all bright and funky.

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I only used about half the flowers for this large vase. I’ll show you the other 4 arrangements tomorrow. Remember to change the water in your vases as often as possible, preferably every day, to keep your flowers fresh for as long as possible.

(See how I did the mantle, using stuff leftover from Halloween, HERE.)

One thought on “How I got 5 Flower Arrangements for Thanksgiving out of $38 worth of Grocery Store Flowers. A Fresh DIY Story, Part 1: the Centerpiece.

  1. Pingback: How I got 5 Flower Arrangements for Thanksgiving out of $38 worth of Grocery Store Flowers. A Fresh DIY Story, Part 2: the Other Four | the Year of Living Fabulously

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