My name is Siri Thorson, and I’m a florist, teacher, writer, and lover of all things wild and weedy. When I’m not traveling for my work, I spend as much time as I can on my family’s small farm in the San Juan Islands in Washington State, where I grow fresh-cut flowers and everlastings and putter around blissfully in the flower beds. You can follow my work and play on my Instagram and see more photos of my floral design on my website.
Today I’m sharing my approach to making a centerpiece for your Thanksgiving or holiday table that will not only survive the season but continue offering its beauty into the new year. This everlasting bouquet would look equally sweet on a mantle or side table to lend year-round color and texture to your space.
Continuing A Family Legacy
Everlasting flowers have been a part of my life for as long as I can remember. Growing up on a small farm located on a remote island off the coast of Washington state, some of my earliest childhood memories are of helping my mother harvest brightly colored statice from our flower fields in a rickety old garden cart. She would bundle statice, along with strawflowers, gomphrena, pearly everlasting, and many others to hang in her workshop, eventually turning them into wreaths for sale via a self-published mail-order catalog.
Today I have continued this family legacy, working each summer and fall to harvest an array of organically grown plants, grasses, and flowers to use in crafting dry wreaths and bouquets that, with proper care, will retain their beauty for years.
Creating Your Own Everlasting Floral Arrangement
- An assortment of dried flowers and grasses (see below for growing and sourcing tips!)
- A low, slightly wide vessel (see recommendations below!)
- Floral chicken wire
- Floral tape
Gather Your Everlastings
To create this mixed arrangement, gather an assortment of homegrown dried materials. This mix could include red jewel millet, ammobium, celosia, strawflowers, lunaria, xeranthemum, or canary grass. With everlastings, you can feel free to mix and match whatever dried varieties you like! Try using a variety of blooms in different shapes and sizes. Some should be more full and others more delicate.
Choose A Vessel
Choose a simple, low vase and create a structural base for the arrangement using a ball of chicken wire. I used a vessel made by my friend Aviva Rowley. You want to choose a vase you can fit your chicken wire in and, when your arrangement is complete, won’t make your centerpiece overwhelmingly tall and obstruct table guests from being able to see one another!
Here are a few vessel options for your everlasting floral arrangement that are Local Milk faves!
- Notary Ceramics Ikebana Vase
- Mondays Projects Wood Fired Porcelain Vessel
- Clam Lab Vase
- Blomus Matte Porcelain Vase
- Simone Bodmer – Turner Parisian Saucer Vessel
Begin Building Your Everlasting Floral Arrangement
Cut a sheet of the chicken wire about one-third wider than your vessel when flat. Roll it up into a ball that will fit snugly in the vase. After placing the chicken wire in the vessel, secure it with floral tape by making an ‘x’ with the tape across the top of the vessel. From here you can begin building your arrangement.
I started by using some elegantly curved pieces of lunaria. From there, try grouping the more colorful elements and then you can add height and drama with some tall, gestural pieces of something like canary grass. I chose to bring some strawflowers out at odd angles, interweaving their raised stems to anchor them in the composition while letting their heads rest on the tabletop.
Don’t Worry About Water!
Something I love about working with everlastings is that you don’t need to fret about providing a water source to your blooms.
The Secrets to Preserving Everlastings
Keep your everlasting floral arrangement out of direct natural sunlight, which can fade even the brightest of blooms quickly. Dried flowers also do best in a low moisture environment, and benefit from an occasional gentle dusting. Otherwise, they are exceptionally low-maintenance and are a sweet reminder of summer’s colors even in the dead of winter’s chill.
Growing Your Own Everlasting Garden
If you have a bit of space to grow flowers, I highly encourage you to put aside a plot for some everlasting varieties. Chiltern, a favorite British company of mine, offers an easy everlasting mix, and Johnny’s Seeds is another great source for individual varieties. One of the greatest joys of growing your own flowers of all kinds is getting to work with these unusual shapes that might be deemed “imperfect” and “unsellable” in commercial flower growing.
How to Source Dried Flowers
Dried flowers are also often available for sale at farmer’s markets in the fall and winter months, and Etsy is a fail-safe source as well. And as with everything, please buy organic when you can! The bees will thank you, and so will I.
Images edited with the Local Milk Instagram Preset Collection.
Want to see more natural holiday table inspiration with everlastings? Don’t miss my 2018 Neutral Holiday Table & Natural Christmas Decor Tutorial with Kaitlin of Petaline! Also, check out my simple and beautiful Thanksgiving table from my Friendsgiving Feast in 2015.