Festive Flowers & Greenery


Creating Your Own Holiday Arrangements
Photos by Ashlee Glen

While faux garlands certainly have their place in our modern-day homes every December, it’s nice to experiment with some natural décor to help us connect with nature—from foraged greenery to fresh florals.

We asked Heather Smith, of Fleur by Heather, to help us out with a few DIY arrangements, and she didn’t hesitate to say yes. Heather is not only an accomplished wedding florist with a delightfully undone style, but she also absolutely adores decorating for Christmas.

Before you start flipping through, take her mantra to heart: “Don’t overthink it. Just experiment with things. And have fun!”

Natural Mantel

The mantel is often the focal point of the living room, making it an ideal place to focus your time and attention during the holiday season.

Heather says first, before emptying your wallet on supplies, take a walk outside. “Forage, with permission if it’s not your property, for as much as possible. There are plenty of pine and magnolia trees around this area,” she explains.

Once you have gathered greenery, Heather recommends sorting your pine into larger and smaller cuts. Use the larger pieces for your base. “Then, start filling in and layering with smaller pieces of pine,” she says. On top of the pine, use magnolia leaves as accents to give the green base more texture and depth.

With your greenery in place, it’s time to add color and get creative. “If you are already utilizing a theme, carry it over to your mantel and accent pieces. It can be whimsical, old Christmas, or modern. Let your imagination run wild!” she says, but adds that if you truly want a natural look, items such as pine cones and berries help achieve that aesthetic. She also chose to incorporate simple white florals into the design to help break up some of the green.

Finally, the big question—how long will this natural masterpiece last? “Hardier pines, not traditional pine trees, and magnolia will last a good while without water. You can put any fresh florals into water tubes,” Heather explains. “Since those are added after your greenery is set, they’re easy to pull out, trim their ends and refill as needed.”

You Will Need:
Pine Boughs,
Magnolia Leaves
and Pine Cones
Faux Berries
Accent Beads
(From Local Farm
or Grocery Store)
Candles or Candlesticks

Floral Centerpiece

While anything goes in terms of holiday color schemes these days, Heather wanted her arrangement to follow a more classic red-and-green style with a simple design. “This is not too big and can be used on most dinner tables,” she says.

Creating your piece starts with your container. Heather chose one that is waterproof, matte black, and rectangular.

For those not particularly comfortable creating arrangements, Heather suggests using water foam (soaked overnight for a few hours) to ensure that everything stays in place. Use floral tape to secure the foam inside your container. If filling your container with water, she says remember to add a packet of floral food and change out the water every few days.

When gathering your florals, Heather says most grocery stores around the holidays carry roses, carnations or lilies that look great in Christmas arrangements. Stores will also carry filler flowers such as berries or foliage.

As with the mantel, begin by arranging your various pieces of greenery. “While doing this, I’m thinking ahead to where I may place flowers. This will determine how much greenery I’ll put in each designated section of the container,” Heather says. “Always make sure that you cut your stems at an angle, so they go into the foam easily or, if using just water, that they are able to absorb as much water as possible.”

With your greenery and florals in place, use accents such as pine cones and berries to fill in the gaps. Keep everything close knit or let your greenery spill over the sides—the arrangement style is up to you!

You Will Need:
Waterproof Container
Oasis Water Foam
Floral Tape
Accent Beads
(From Local Farm or Grocery Store)
Foraged Pine, Magnolia
and Pine Cones

Simple Accent

Perfect for an end table, entryway table or bathroom, this smaller arrangement gives off just the right Christmas flair and could even be a fun project for older kids.

You don’t need much and the possibilities are endless. Heather used a few small cuts of pine, two flowers, some pine cones, and glass beads as accents. Use floral tape to create a grid inside the cup or container. This will help you as you arrange the different types of materials in such a small space.

One thing to keep in mind: “Be mindful of pieces that may be too tall or heavy for a smaller container,” Heather says. “You don’t want them to add unnecessary weight that would possibly cause the arrangement to tip over.”

You Will Need:
Fun Container
or Cup
Floral Tape
Accent Beads
(From Local Farm or Grocery Store)
Foraged Pine
and Pine Cones

Thank You
We are grateful to Belong Here, local Airbnb consulting business, for letting us use one of their newest rentals for this shoot. The “Lady Anne” is a 5200-square-foot historic home located on Rivermont Avenue, and it had plenty of fireplaces for us to choose from! Learn more at belonghere.co.


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