Earlier this week I had the pleasure of talking to an accomplished group of gardeners about holiday tablescapes that incorporate foraged materials. The conversation was fluid with lively conversation and lots of questions.
The basic themes we covered:
What is your vision for the event? Is it cozy and small, a moment to impress, fun, old friends and families, new guests? Your tablescape will help set the tone- what do you want?
How will food be served? Is it buffet, family style, plated? Make sure that decor works with the food you are serving and the space available on your table.
It is all about the ingredients- work with best of the moment ingredients- consider the stems that you plan to incorporate and treat them gently, embrace their individuality such as the curly stem of a scabiosa or the drape of privet berries.
Embrace your amateur- Use containers that you have, mismatched is fine, there is no right or wrong, make it personal.
Do you have foliage you can forage? From my alley in Shaw I brought 3 varieties of ivy, bay, vinca, euonymus, 3 types of summer hydrangea that dried on the stem and turned bronze, cypress, rosemary. Many of the attendees have large gardens I can only imagine the foraging potential. Other locally sourced greens included: scented geranium, coned cypress, nandina and privet berry.
Don't shy away from a few special blooms: From LynnVale Studios in Virginia I brought- scabiosa, the last few dahlias of the season and Seaton's J'dore chrysanthemums (my favorite!!) From further away I brought some ranunculus, garden roses and hellebore. The result- heavy foliage with a few blossoms.
Consider lighting and candle light- lots of candles, they change everything.
A hand tied garland with a variety of foliage is always good, let it drape down the side of the table to the floor if you have the space.
Floral Foam- We talked about work arounds for floral foam (which I do not know how to use) such as making a nest like structure with the stems of foliage, floral frogs, chicken wire balls and taping a grid to the top of a container.