By now you’ve probably figured out that I rarely purchase my flowers from a florist. I am an avid proponent of the virtues of grocery store flowers, especially since my local grocery store has an amazing selection of blooms. Granted, the flowers you get at a florist are likely fresher and you may have a larger selection from which to choose, but I really think that most people would be surprised at what you can do with a $20 bouquet from Loblaws!

I created this autumnal arrangement for last weekend’s Thanksgiving dinner, which we shared with some very special family members. It was a particularly poignant moment for Erick and me because it was our first Thanksgiving in our home.

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This arrangement looks expensive and complicated to create, but it really is very simple and can be done affordably. To make it, I bought a $10 bouquet at the grocery store containing sunflowers, coxcomb, straw flowers, wheat stalks, an ornamental cabbage, and some stalks of a sorghum-like grain (not sure exactly what this is – anyone have an idea?). I added some dahlias, spirea greens, and sedum from my garden. If you were buying these flowers, you would probably be fine with another $10 bouquet. Alstromeria, lilies, or roses would be a good alternative to the dahlias, and any small-leaf greenery would look good. Sedum could easily be replaced with pink baby’s breath, heather, or wax flower.

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I just love that it was wrapped in brown paper – I felt like I was in a flower market in Covent Garden! Ow wouldn’t that be loverly?

(10 points to anyone who got that reference.)

Musical theatre references aside, I used my grandmother’s silver rose bowl for this arrangement, along with a block of Oasis (the green kind, not the band). You have to make sure your Oasis sticks up quite a bit from whatever vase or bowl you’re using, so that you can put filler in around the side. Otherwise, your filler won’t spill over the side – it’ll just stick up awkwardly.

I usually start with some filler/cascading stuff and then place a few of my focal (larger) flowers to get the general dimensions of the arrangement:

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When you put the “spiller” into your arrangement, you need to make sure that you insert it into the Oasis at an upward angle. The Oasis is tough stuff and your stem doesn’t need to be very long – it grips really well. (Oh and don’t forget to submerge your Oasis in water to  hydrate it before you start your arrangement!)

Once I’ve got the outline of my arrangement, I start to fill in the gaps, working in a circle, turning the arrangement so that I cover all angles with some kind of visual interest.

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Make sure to keep turning your arrangement as you work, and fill in any little gaps you see. Don’t be afraid of getting it “wrong”: this kind of arrangement is meant to be a bit more free-form. I usually try to keep a triangular shape, because the asymmetry is pleasing to the eye.

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I love love love the way the ornamental cabbage adds a touch of unconventionality to this arrangement!

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There you have it: an autumnal arrangement that only looks costly and complicated! Don’t be afraid to try arranging your own flowers for your next big family do – it’s so therapeutic. Plus the added bonus of people thinking you’re the next Martha Stewart (but without the orange jumpsuit). “How does she do it?!” 😉

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0 comment on An autumnal arrangement on a budget

  1. Wow! I love flowers, but arranging them as beautiful as yours is a struggle to me. These flowers + your arrangement? Amazing!! <3 Have a wonderful week.

  2. So pretty! I love it and I love how you used a triangle shape! I may have to try that next time I make an arrangement. We have dahlias too in our garden and I like your idea for incorporating them in your arrangement along with store bought flowers. Have a great day!

  3. Very impressive flower arrangement – and thanks for the useful tips. I love using seasonal flowers, but still have plenty to learn in arranging them artistically. If you find out what that dark grain is, I would love to know, but it inspires me to use some of the tall, colourful grasses we have around now.

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