Friday, June 14, 2024 Jun 14, 2024
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Yes, Carnations Can Be Festive

We challenged three local florists to create holiday arrangements using the much-maligned bloom.
Elizabeth Lavin

Are you in a rut when it comes to your holiday floral routine? Do you throw a greenery garland on the mantel, plop a few poinsettias on the porch, maybe hang some mistletoe if you’re feeling randy, and call it a day? It may be time for a refresh.

This season, shake up your seasonal displays and centerpieces with nontraditional colors, vessels, or blooms. Forgo the staid red and green in favor of moodier shades. Utilize unconventional containers. Or incorporate anemones, tulips, or the much-maligned carnation (which we happen to think gets an unfair bad rap)—all of which are in season in December.

To help inspire you, we gave three florists carte blanche to create their version of a holiday arrangement—with one catch: at least half of the blooms had to be carnations. 

Modern Mix

Created by: Patricio Rivera, founder and creative director of Twelve Thirty Four

About the arrangement: “In my new series of work, I am using a single stem to represent our connection to nature and uniqueness as one’s self,” says Rivera. “In this particular arrangement, the single Dahlia represents that.” He used a vessel by ceramicist Brooks Oliver.

Tip: To get the most from your holiday floral, give your professionals time and trust. “Place your holiday orders early to make sure we have a good amount of time to create something unique,” Rivera says, noting, “We tend to work best when given full creative freedom.”

Fruity and Floral

Created by: Michael Frazier, designer of Avant Garden

About the arrangement: “We were inspired by the texture and color of the featured flower and what other blooms would complement it. We then took a whimsical approach in design to evoke the essence of the holidays,” says Wills.

Tip: When ordering holiday floral, store manager Mariah Wills says to consider a few key questions: “Where in your home it is going? Is it to make a statement or to simply accent? What colors complement the home and feeling you are trying to showcase?”

Other blooms used: roses, hanging amaranthus, viburnum berry, Christmas greenery, dahlia 

Woodsy and Wild

Created by: Bryan Long, owner and designer of Grey Gardens

About the arrangement: Long drew inspiration from the texture and color of birch bark, which was also used as a vessel. “I am from Michigan and the birch tree is everywhere,” Long says. “It speaks winter to me.” He, too, has a soft spot for carnations, saying, “In abundance, they are beautiful. I use them often in my designs with other exotic blooms.”

Tip: “Don’t think or design just for December 25,” advises Long. “I like to design for the winter season.” While fresh greenery is beautiful, Long loves it as much for the sensory stimulation the scent elicits. “I love to have a bowl of fresh mixed winter greens—cedar, juniper, noble fir, pine, etc.,” he says. “The smell and longevity is wonderful.” 


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