By Annie Thornton, Houzz
Bring a piece of fall and winter indoors with a natural centerpiece that evolves with the seasons. Rebekah Northway from San Francisco’s The Petaler shows us how to create a foraged fall and winter vignette for the dining table with ingredients that can be collected while leaf-peeping. Later, add evergreen cedar foliage and red-tinged eucalyptus to evoke winter.
Centerpiece 1: Nanette Wong, original photo on Houzz
Foraged Fall Centerpiece
• 2 tree branches, each roughly 14 inches long
• 5 sprigs of ‘Baby Blue’ silver mountain gum (Eucalyptus pulverulenta ‘Baby Blue’) in varying lengths up to 15 inches long; remove the leaves from the bottom 4 to 6 inches of stem
• 3 clusters of pin oak (Quercus palustris) leaves
• 2 pine cones on skewers (you can buy these ready-made in-stores or you can hot-glue pine cones to skewers yourself)
• Dry textural elements for garnish (spent flower heads, acorns, feathers)
It’s easiest to build the centerpiece in place, inside or out, but you can assemble it on any clear table space.
1. Gather your branches to build your centerpiece base. Play around with the arrangement, making sure the branches cross at one point until you’ve created a shape you like
This centerpiece is for a longer table, so the branches will be laid out in a longer, narrower arrangement. If you’re creating this centerpiece for a roundtable, you’ll want a wide base, so lay out the branches more like an “X.”
Centerpiece 2: Nanette Wong, original photo on Houzz
2. Once you’re happy with the shape of your base, cut a long piece of twine and tie an extra-tight knot around the bundle where the branches cross. After securing the knot, you can cut off any dangling ends of twine.
Centerpiece 3: Nanette Wong, original photo on Houzz
3. Gather your ‘Baby Blue’ silver mountain gum sprigs. Insert the stripped end of one sprig of the twine on the side of the branch base.
4. Grab another piece of eucalyptus and insert the stripped end of the sprig under the twine at the same point as the previous eucalyptus sprig in the opposite direction, forming an extra-wide “V” on one side of the branch base.
Do the same thing on the other side of the base with two more eucalyptus sprigs, and then add the fifth sprig to a bare spot in the base, if there is one.
Once the eucalyptus is in place, you now have your base for the centerpiece that will last through both fall and winter.
Centerpiece 4: Nanette Wong, original photo on Houzz
5. Take one of your pin oak leaf clusters and insert the stem under the twine. The lush oak leaves will start to fill out any gaps between the branches and eucalyptus sprigs and will also start to cover the twine in the center.
The oak foliage adds textural contrast, and its magenta color highlights the fall season.
6. Add the other two oak foliage clusters to the twine, filling out where you see empty space and creating balance in the centerpiece.
By now the centerpiece should be pretty filled out, and the center where the twine is tied should feel pretty tight. Add more foliage to the centerpiece if you’d like it to be even more abundant.
Centerpiece 5: Nanette Wong, original photo on Houzz
7. Grab the two pine cones on skewers.
Insert the skewers under the tied twine, concealing them under the oak foliage and branches, wherever you feel they best to balance out the centerpiece.
Centerpiece 6: Nanette Wong, original photo on Houzz
8. Take your dry, textural elements and insert them under the twine to top off the centerpiece. Here, a cluster of dried flowers adds volume and a personal memento of fall.
Your centerpiece is ready to be enjoyed through the rest of the season. You can replenish spent foliage if necessary by removing and replacing individual stems, but it should last two to three weeks on its own.