An Inspired Autumn Arrangement

With so many beautiful colors and elements abundant in nature this time of year, we tend to favor loose, harvest-inspired arrangements for fall. To help us create our own foraged arrangements (or know what to ask for when we turn to the experts), we asked Gregory Britt of Charlottesville-based Tourterelle Floral Design to describe his approach to using his favorite autumnal finds; here are his recommendations:

Forage for fruits and foliage. As in many areas this time of year, here in Charlottesville, there is an astounding variety of plants, fruits, and foliage that peak in late September that can easily be foraged in and around town, by the roadside, in forests, or on farms. Osage oranges, bittersweet, persimmons, chestnuts, pokeberry, seed pods, rosehips, grasses galore, and of course colorful tree foliage are all a part of this last harvest. And the farmer’s market or grocery store can provide cottage apples, pears, pomegranates, artichokes, plums, and figs that can add more fun to the seasonal arrangement.

Consider the flowers. In our region, dahlias peak at this time of year, and they are extraordinary. We grow them ourselves and love how with each cooler night they get even more gorgeous. Russet and creamy roses, salvias, the last of the marigolds, and local hydrangeas compliment each other and provide even more depth to the arrangement. Look for seasonal flowers in your area that do the same.

Create the arrangement. First I consider the space that the arrangement will fill (the style and its colors). I then choose an appropriate container, bearing in mind that a “gathered-element” style works best designed more loosely. When assembling, I begin with the foliage, letting it cascade from the vase as well as creating a base for the design. I then add the fruit, clustering it (use tough stems to pierce into the fruits). The flowers come next—again, clustering, and yet keeping it loose. Finally, I add more foliage (vines of bittersweet, ivy, or jasmine).

Refresh and replenish. As the fruits and flowers will fade at varying times, remove the dead and re-adjust the elements. This will ensure that your arrangement will have a long, interesting, and changing life. Just like nature.

TSG Tip 123 from Gregory Britt of Tourterelle Floral Design in Charlottesville, VA.