In her event and floral studio, Georgia designer Amy Osaba shares her secrets for crafting a rich, fall-hued centerpiece
This is what I love about fall: the unexpected pops of vibrant, gorgeous hues just when you think there are none to be found. I love the bright oranges, purples, greens, and yellows—the earthy colors remind me of the root vegetables of autumn and their beautiful colors. I like to use lots of different colors and textures, therefore using lots of varying types of flowers. Today we used peonies, ranunculus, zinnia, scabiosa, feverfew, and even some Jerusalem sage. Each of these flowers brings its own personality to the arrangement. I like to be sure that I have some lighter and darker hues to assure the arrangement has enough depth. And in keeping with the concept of a cornucopia, I chose flowers that would be incredibly lush, cascading from the container.
I bought the vintage cake stand at a local flea market for $12. I love the dark green color and the ornate details. The flat surface makes it easier to use the Oasis without a vessel dictating where the flowers will go.
1. Make sure to soak the Oasis, maybe even overnight. This is very important since there will be no other water source on the cake stand to keep the flowers looking their best. The Oasis will also be much easier to trim when wet. Place the Oasis on top of the cake stand and determine the size it needs to be, then cut it to this length. I didn’t want the Oasis to be too high, so I trimmed some from the top as well. You can secure it to the stand if you’re traveling with the arrangement, but since I was only taking it outside to a table that wasn’t necessary.
2. I always begin by laying all of the elements out on the table to really get a good look at what I will be working with. And just as a note, you really don’t have to strip all of your flowers beforehand. Sometimes the leaves closest to the bloom look really pretty in the arrangement, giving it a more natural look and feel. That said, you do want to tear off as many leaves as possible to insert the stem cleanly into the Oasis. Since the flowers need to be rooted into the Oasis, I began with the flowers I wanted to cascade off to the side. I always choose longer, linear stems that easily bend and have a delicate, graceful movement. Here, I cascaded two or three stems of Jerusalem sage. Before fully inserting, place the flowers visually and make sure the stems are just where you want them. Too much in and out, and your Oasis will begin to fall apart.
3. Once you have the basic structure of the cascade, I usually like one big, gorgeous flower to be the main focal point. It’s all about this stunning ‘Eric William’ peony, here. Don’t be afraid to let it come off the front of the cake plate, but strategically place it to balance the cascading components.