I felt like I was on one of those challenge reality TV shows. A birthday dinner for 12 on the patio means putting together three folding tables–and that leaves a lot of empty real estate in the middle that requires either a sizable centerpiece or a number of smaller centerpieces. Laurie was making dinner. My mission was to make the centerpiece.
I got to Laurie’s way later than I had planned, so time was short. Laurie, having taken a look at the time, feared I wouldn’t make it until the soup was being served and decided to place the guest of honor’s birthday gift in the center of the big square of tables. It was a huge low pot planted with salvia and petunias, among other things, which truly did make a spectacular centerpiece and will also be a lovely addition to the birthday girl’s patio. It looked great…but I thought the table looked a little incomplete even so.
But one of the reasons I was late was because I had been cutting roses from my garden. I had three dozen short-stemmed roses in a bucket, and I didn’t want to waste them. I asked Ms Laurie what she had in mind for me to do with them and rather than snapping the obvious, “You were late; do whatever you want,” she said, “Well, umm….” That was enough for me. I asked if she had small containers that matched and she said that she might have a few. A few? Not good enough. I asked her to break out the 12 cute yellow one-cup ramekins that her, ahem, good sister had given her for Christmas.
They didn’t even need to be washed, so I cut a soaked block of Oasis into eight parts (and used half of a leftover block for the balance) to fill each ramekin with a custom-fitted water holder. I trimmed six ferns from her garden and systematically cut off each branchlet (I know it’s not a word, but you know exactly what I mean, don’t you?). I cut the ends off with my garden shears and filled the edges of each ramekin with fern.
After that, all I had to do was place three roses in each dish (depending on the size of the rose) in a triangle shape, and they were almost done. I went out to Laurie’s garden, where I found the cutest purple salvia and trimmed 12 of those stems and 12 purple sweet peas. I added one apiece to each arrangement. Done! I got them on the table before guests arrived, topping each place setting so that everyone had an individual arrangement.
The complete flower arrangements took only half an hour from start to tabletop – simple, huh? And because Laurie has a fabulous garden (and my roses were in bloom), we didn’t spend a penny on centerpieces! A bargain, once again.