Thanksgiving Centerpiece final The Prudent Homemaker

A low floral arrangement works well at a meal, so that you can see over it to converse with the people across from you.

I started with a wide-mouthed pint-sized canning jar. You can use anything you have–an old jar that used to have food in it, a short glass–just something wide enough that it won’t tumble over from being top heavy.

Fill the glass with lukewarm water if you’re cutting fresh from the garden (and cool water if you’re using storebought flowers). Over the next week, when you need to add more water to the arrangement, use cool water.

This time of year, I don’t have a lot of flowers blooming in the garden, so I planned an arrangement that is mostly mixed greenery. If you don’t have any flowers in your garden this time of year, but still have some evergreens, you can still make a beautiful arrangement with just the greenery, or you can add a small amount of storebought flowers to complete the arrangement.

Thanksgiving Centerpiece 1 The Prudent Homemaker

I started this with a few vines that needed to be trimmed from the walkway. I cut passionfruit vine and Lady Banks’ rose vines for each side of the arrangement.

Thanksgiving Centerpiece 2 The Prudent Homemaker

I then cut and added euyonomus branches that needed to be trimmed. When I pruned my hedge in October, I left a few spots untrimmed so that I could cut from them later for arrangements. I pulled the leaves off anything that would be underwater, as leaves underwater drastically shorten the vase life of arrangements. These branches will last for 3 weeks or more after being cut.

Thanksgiving Centerpiece 3 The Prudent Homemaker

I then cut some lavender, again tearing off any leaves that would be below the water line. Though it is not blooming at this time of year, the lighter shade of the greenery add a nice contrast in the arrangement.

Thanksgiving Centerpiece 4 The Prudent Homemaker

Next I added three sprigs of dusty miller. Since this is bigger, and almost flower-like, adding an odd number of stems is good. As this arrangement is two sided, make sure to look at both sides of the arrangement when adding items.

Thanksgiving Centerpiece 5 The Prudent Homemaker

I then added in my flowers. I cut three stems of roses from the few in the garden. Ideally, I would have many more than this, and there is room in the arrangement, but this is what I have blooming in the garden right now. 

Thai Basil The Prudent Homemaker

For a little more color, I added in some Thai basil flowers. If you don’t have anything small flowering, you could add in some skinny bare branches.

Thanksgiving Centerpiece 6 The Prudent Homemaker

When I was done, I set the glass jar into a silver-plated medium sized mint julip container, but of course it can be left the way it is. You can also start out by tying a bow around your jar before you begin you arrangement.

Thanksgiving Centerpiece final The Prudent Homemaker


A note if using storebought flowers: You should always recut the stems of any flowers you buy before putting them in water to extend the vase-life. For a low arrangement like this, you’ll be cutting them a lot shorter than they were when you purchased them. Cut individual stems different heights to fill out your arrangement. 

Grocery stores often carry less-expensive individual flowers to make your own arrangements. I’ve found the lowest prices and greatest selection at Alberston’s. They carry bunches of individual flowers for $3 to $4 a bunch. I’ve occasionally also seen individual flower bunches at Walmart (especially carnations) for $3 to $5. 

You can also use this method to arrange a grocery store Thanksgiving bouquet. Start with greenery from your yard, and then add in the greenery from your arrangement, adding in the flowers last. Often there is one odd flower in mixed bouquets. If you don’t want to include it in your arrangment, try putting it in a seperate bud vase (an old vinegar jar works well for this, too) to enjoy elsewhere in the house. Don’t feel obligated to include all of the flowers in your arrangement if you don’t like the way they look together–just make something different with the others.

Roses have the shortest vase life of this bouquet. They can be pulled out when they have died, and replaced with something else, or the arrangement can continue to look good for weeks with just the greenery.

Be sure to add more water each day, and change out the water completely as often as possible, replacing it with cool, clean water.



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  1. My mom always used greenery from around our yard to make beautiful bouquets like yours, only, of course unique to her yard and flowers. It seems like many of the bushes and plants on the old home place had been grown for this purpose. (It had been purchased in 1925 by my grandparents) I have often thought of planting some bushes like hers, just for greenery.

    Your bouquets are beautiful and remind me of what she often made while I was growing up.

  2. Hi Brandy and how beautiful the arrangement is.

    A lovely array of different coloured foliage, and I like the addition of the Thai basil flowers too, they are always so bright and cheerful.

  3. beautiful! .. I cant wait to get our garden planted in the spring to enjoy lots of (inexpensive) fresh flowers!

  4. For those who don’t happen to have a yard or garden, you can also use wild flowers and natural greenery. They may be weeds to some, but they look just as beautiful in an arrangement!

  5. Thank you so much for this post! I have long admired your flower arrangements and having a step-by-step illustration of how you create them is so helpful to me!!

  6. I’m so glad to see this post. I have long admired your flower arrangements and I think having this step-by-step guide will better help me to emulate them. Thank you! I’d love to see more like this too.

  7. I’m a licensed florist(Louisiana requirement). I always encourage my customers to add a little sprite non diet to their floral bouquets. The sugar feeds the plants and the citric acid discourages bacteria growth. If they do not have sprite then a little lemonade will do the trick even a little pineapple juice. You can also design your bouquets in your hand then twist tie them off and cut the stems to the appropriate length, or you can make a grid using floral tape, the thin green or clear tape that reminds you of duct tape,of make a base of greenery to secure flowers to. Odd numbers tend to look better to the eye, but there are no hard and fast rules to design. Do what looks good to you. I love foliage and flowers out of the yard but am very wary of supermarket and big box store that keep their blossoms out in the open. Folks pick them up then lay them down then they are thrown back into the buckets. This creates air pockets in the stems and greatly reduced vase life. So stay away from tulips, lilies, even roses from those stores and stick to carnations, daisy poms, alstroemerias and other hardy varieties. Happy designing!!

  8. I really appreciate this post. Flower arranging has never come naturally for me, so although I have an abundance of suitable things in my yard throughout the year, for the most part the beauty stays in the yard. Your instructions are simple and straight forward. I think I can do this! There is a holly in my yard that is covered with berries. It will be nice to use it in an arrangement for the house this Christmas.

  9. Brandy, very nice centerpiece. Everything here is frozen to a crisp. Our Thanksgiving decor runs to the harvest theme. We use lots of gourds and mini pumpkins (we grow), colorful dried ears of corn, silk leaves, wicker cornucopia. Years ago and older friend made me red and green fabric apples, stuffed with fluff and topped with felt leaves. They are older than all my children I think. Well, no I think my oldest was a baby at the time. When I saw about the greenery I sent my daughter out to cut some sprigs off the balsams and the yew shrubs. Then we laid them as a base, tips pointed out, on my runner and arranged the rest on top. Very nice, if I may say so.

  10. You’re arrangements and tablescapes are absolutely beautiful, and inspiring! We had family over for after thanksgiving brunch today and all I could manage was a few simple Nandia cuttings…it’s been raining for 2 days straight and is bitterly cold. Thank you for the beautiful inspiration!

  11. Thank you so much!I love this post. I’m always interested in expanding my floral arrangement repertoire, and I never thought to put a jar inside a mint julep cup!

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