Caption: Fall is brought to the South Florida Thanksgiving table by using tropical colors and textures. Arrangement provided by From Roehm With Love. Table, setting and location provided by Village Square Home Interiors. Photo by Tim Stepien.
Backyard and beach provide tables with fall look in subtropics
By Jan Norris
Fall leaves, acorns and pumpkins all scream fall — but beautiful as they are, they’re as meaningful for South Floridians as wool underwear.
For Thanksgiving this year, we asked a local florist well-versed in tropical displays to bring fall to the turkey table in a centerpiece for us — without maple leaves.
Joseph Roehm of Delray Beach’s From Roehm With Love shop, newly located in Pineapple Grove, was thrilled with the assignment and went to work “without thinking,” he said.
“I just do it instinctively. I really don’t think too hard.”
For our centerpiece, Roehm stayed within the fall palette — deep reds, bright yellows and oranges, wine-tinged magentas — using tropical flowers and plants. “I wanted to think architecturally, not floral. Northern flowers are softer, while Southern and tropicals are architectural in shapes,” he explained. Lobster claw heliconias — bright orange and yellow with green stems — are tall. So is the king protea, the giant sunburst-shaped bloom with deep reds, pinks and purples set against the deep green stem. Cymbidium orchids, in magenta with deep wine spots and orange throats or bright yellow with magenta throats, are a “hard” flower Roehm likes to work with. “There are so many color choices there,” he said. Crotons are a natural: The bush so common to South Florida backyards is full of fall colors, no matter which variety you choose — flat or corkscrew, huge tobacco leaf or little dwarf plant. Rust, magenta, sunset-orange and yellow and spots of green make them an all-in-one plant choice. A full vase of these leaves with a few sea grape greens would be the simplest of arrangements that could work beautifully.
Roehm suggests raiding the backyard or the beach for finds to build a South Florida fall centerpiece. “A beautiful piece of driftwood could make a great base for an arrangement. Stagger candles and some floral pieces around it. It would be perfect,” he said.
A few basic floral design rules to keep in mind:
Make the arrangement proportionate to your space; it should neither overwhelm nor look lost on the table. If you plan to keep it on the table during meals, make sure there’s room for glassware and serving pieces. Wash or wipe plants well to prevent any bugs from traveling indoors with you.
Pick in early morning for next-day or same-day arrangements, and give plants plenty of water, keeping them cool.
An arrangement doesn’t have to be perfect — nature isn’t perfectly symmetrical — but show off each blossom or leaf to its best advantage.
Less is more: Quit before you think you have enough in your vase or bowl.
In case you aren’t confident enough to build your own arrangement, Roehm will take orders for Thanksgiving arrangements until Nov. 24, for the last delivery Thanksgiving eve.
Visit him at From Roehm With Love, 257 NE Second Ave. (in the Esplanade of Pineapple Grove), Delray Beach, or call (561) 274-0190.
For a new dining table, table dressings or decorating ideas visit Village Square Home Interiors at its new location: 200 NE Second Ave., Suite 100, Delray Beach, or call (561) 272-8270 for information.
Think outside and in the garden to find items for your perfect fall Florida centerpiece.
Here are some ideas: Sea grape leaves and berries
Bird of paradise
Palm tree husks
Date palm berries
Conch and olive seashells