Turquoise and Orange

Thanksgiving Centrepiece

It’s the day after the Thanksgiving long weekend, so I thought I would share the centrepiece I made for our dinner table.  It’s quite simple, and it was fun to put together.

Here’s what I used:

  • One pumpkin, about 8″ in diameter. Look for one with a flattish bottom that sits nicely without wobbling.
  • Main flowers – a bunch of yellow/orange chrysanthemums….. or any bunch of flowers of the same type and colour. Originally I wanted the centrepiece to be mainly orange, because our placemats and other accents around our home are turquoise and I love how the two colours look together…. but on the day, I couldn’t find any orange mums! In retrospect, though, I like the pop of yellow.
  • Accent flowers – three rusty-red gerbera daisies (or any flower, as long as it’s a different type and colour from the first bunch, and not too small. An odd number looks best, so use three or five)
  • A few stalks of small orange flowers (I’m not sure what kind mine were, but any small filler-type flower will work)
  • Three bullrushes (you could also used dried grasses, eucalyptus… whatever strikes your fancy)
  • One stem of red berries
  • Several stems of artificial fall leaves (real ones would be too crumbly)
  • Artificial apples and pears (for a large centrepiece you can use real ones, but there are nice looking artificial ones available… they’re lighter in weight, and the slightly-smaller-than-life-size works well in a medium-sized arrangement)
  • A waterproof container small enough to fit inside the pumpkin (I used a plant pot, but a large tin can (the kind soup or tomatoes come in) works great),
  • Florist’s foam
  • Wooden skewers (from the grocery store)


Cut the top off the pumpkin and trim so it’s level.  Scoop out the pulp and seeds. Make sure your waterproof container fits inside – you may need to trim the inside edges of the pumkin flesh.

Pack the container with florists foam until it’s tightly filled. Add more around the container if necessary so it’s firmly in place and won’t wobble inside the pumkin. Add water inside the container until the foam is well saturated.

Before you begin adding flowers, you need to decide how tall your arrangement will be. Traditionally, a general guideline for flower arranging is that the container should take up about one third of the overall height of the arrangement.  Remember, also, to make sure the overall height of the centrepiece is not so tall that you won’t be able to see people across the dinner table!  When trimming flowers for an arrangement, I like to place the container close to the edge of the counter or table I’m working on. Then I can hold a stem alongside it so the top of the flower is where I want it to be, with the bottom of the stem below the edge of the table – and then it’s easy to cut it to the right length. (it’s tricky to describe these things without step-by-step photos, so that may or may not make sense!)   You can be really precise with your measurements and have a very uniformly-shaped arrangement, but I made mine a bit looser… you can see some of the flowers are a bit longer or a bit shorter than others.  It’s not perfect, but I like that it’s a little more organically-shaped.

Ok, now you can start putting your flowers into the arrangement. I began with the accents – the gerbera daisies and fruit, to make sure they were evenly spaced. For the apples and pears – cut a small slit in the bottom with a sharp-pointed knife and push one end of a wooden skewer into it, then poke the other end into the florist’s foam. 

Now start adding the main flowers. You want enough of these so there is a solid mass of flowers and you can’t see through to the inside of the arrangement. When these flowers are in place, tuck in the small flowers for another accent colour. Break off small stems of berries and tuck them in around the lower edge, so they hang over the edge of the pumpkin, and do the same with the leaves. Lastly, trim and insert the bullrushes, evenly spaced.

For display, place more leaves around the bottom of the pumpkin.

Here’s a look at the table set for dinner, complete with orange & turquoise place cards (simple to make with Avery place cards). I was happy to finally find turquoise candles (although the colour is a bit off in this photo) and it was the first time using our prize eBay find… vintage 1950s drinking glasses with (of course) a turquoise pattern.

Happy Thanksgiving!

Thanksgiving table


About Kate

An artist and creative living advocate, I blog about Creative Canadian Women at PennelloLane.com

Posted on October 13, 2009, in holidays, home. Bookmark the permalink. 5 Comments.

  1. Lovely, lovely, lovely. I love orange at this time of year, and pumpkins as well, even when ours do no look like yours up north (I blogged about it). I think your centerpiece, and the combination withe the turquoise, turned out great. Very talented!

  2. You are SO inspiring–I think I can attempt this, too! Love the combination of turquoise and orange in your house, too.

  3. Why, thank you!

    Claus: I enjoyed your blog about pumpkins, makes me want to actually try cooking some squash or pumpkin, not just decorate with them!

    Tina: I actually thought of you more than once when posting this… you have such good colour sense and creativity, I’d love to see what you would come up with!

  4. Well, I am flattered to find out you thought of little ol’ ME when posting your entry, but really.,,,my house looks in no way as artful as yours(from what little I have seen here, I am blown away!) And the flower arrangement–I simply plop my flowers in a vase or jug and have never made something like that(your centerpiece)

  5. I love turquoise *and* orange and I just love colourful in general so I would love to have dinner at your table lol. And how fancy your centerpiece is! So great! Must say I like setting a table and when we did have friends over for dinner in NL I always used to make something special. Really love your setting here!!

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