Now that you have a blank canvas and a palette of local materials, you’ll need to decide on a strategy for arranging the base layer of your centerpiece. When placing fresh materials, like foliage, or spindly items like twigs and berries, your best friend is floral foam—a spongy material that provides water for the arrangement while holding the elements upright.Available at any flower shop, floral foam ($1.75 per brick of Oasis foam at Alameda Floral, 1211 SW Fifth Ave) is easy to shape using a small knife. Cut small pieces to fit into nooks in your centerpiece base. Then soak the foam in water, set it in place, and start creatively sticking in various twigs, grasses, willows, or berries to your liking.
You can glue flat items like moss, ferns, or curly edged kale leaves directly onto the bark or driftwood, and then arrange your squat items like river rocks and seedpods on top of that layer. Next, place the larger items like pinecones and vegetables in a way that looks good to you. Try an ecofriendly, vegan glue like Weldbond, available at Pearl Hardware ($3.49 for 4 ounces, 1621 NW Glisan St). For a final hurrah, fill out the arrangement with smaller materials like herbs, berries, evergreen stems, and holly.
There are no set rules for these non-floral centerpieces. “It’s limitless what you can do—it just takes imagination,” says Weeks. “In the beginning, I never know what an arrangement is going to look like. If you have interesting materials, you can’t go wrong.”
Seeking out the best local elements requires one to be creative and resourceful, but the effort pays off: You’ll have crafted your own unique centerpiece, supported the local economy, and minimized the large carbon footprint that shipping flowers from afar would have caused.