Join in the springtime fun as we try something new and a bit different on International Carrot Day, April 4. As I learned and you will soon discover, it’s all about that vase when working vegetables into centerpiece arrangements.
By need and necessity, I’ve been exploring flower arranging over the past few weeks. As long as we are staying home, I’ve decided we should have something beautiful to look at on our dining tables. Obviously florists and floral markets are closed right now because of the quarantine. Ordering flowers in (so to speak), isn’t an option. Fortunately the local supermarkets are still stocking a fairly decent inventory of fresh-cut flowers, greenery and plants.
In recent years, many of the floral arrangements I’ve loved incorporate fruits and vegetables into their design. By adding a pop of unique texture and color, these elements can make glorious partners for a centerpiece, in particular those used for more informal occasions. In fact, the florals for our casual wedding in 2008 included white pumpkins, long before white pumpkins caught on in popularity. These days, they are everywhere!
For International Carrot Day, I’m going to attempt an Easter centerpiece which utilizes carrots in its design. It’s a logical choice. Bunnies like carrots, right? Come to find out, that’s a myth. But so is the Easter Bunny, so let’s just keep hopping down this bunny trail …
PRO TIP: Always keep a variety of glass vases on hand, don’t just automatically recycle the glass containers from the arrangements you receive. Classic round vases, as well as geometric square shapes, are perfect to save and can serve a variety of uses. I’ve found arranging in larger vases is difficult and is best left to the professionals, so I recycle those vessels. There’s no need to keep multiples of the same shape and size. They can eat up a lot of precious shelf space and you’ll likely only use one vase at a time.
For this task, I gathered a variety of shapes and sizes of glass vases, as well as two bunches of fresh carrots. I also included some colorful carrot varieties, which I found pre-packaged at our local grocer. I picked up an assortment of fresh-cut flowers from what was currently available. I kept the color palate very spring like with orange, white and purple hues. I grouped everything together to take stock of the situation. Honestly, I wasn’t exactly sure where I was going with all of this, but had a general direction and a few ideas in mind.
HERE ARE SOME KEY INSIGHTS:
1. Carrot tops are really dirty.
Maybe it was these particular bunches which I bought at our local grocer, but I think it is simply a “carrot truth.” The carrot tops were fairly gritty and filled with bits of soil. They could make this a really messy situation … really quick. I gave them a good shake outside and that seemed to help the problem a bit. It wasn’t a huge issue, but it was something I wasn’t expecting.
2. Carrot tops are a lot more fragile than they look.
I picked up two bunches on an evening trip to the grocery store and stored them in the refrigerator. By the next morning the tops were starting to look wilted. I wasn’t expecting that to happen. Many of the arrangements I viewed prior to this project led me to believe they would be rigid, similar to the stems of parsley or cilantro. That wasn’t the case. They were floppy, like bunny ears.
3. Carrots are not naturally uniform … duh.
As I began to set up my workspace, it became glaringly apparent. No two carrots are created alike. While this doesn’t matter when cooking them, it did create a few issues in using them for this purpose. I really did not want to lose the natural feel of the larger bunches. So I just slightly scraped and trimmed them, to remove the small roots. This made the carrots a bit neater in appearance. I also grouped carrots of similar size and shape carrots together, which was really helpful as I was arranging.
As I laid everything out in front of me, I couldn’t help but notice the delightful contrast of orange carrots, with the purple band holding the bunch together. I decided to play with this color combination in my first arrangement.
I chose a small square vase and lined its edges with the smaller, multi-colored carrots. Inserting a smaller container inside the glass vase (I used a simple plastic cup). Weighting the cup with marbles was a key to making this arrangement work.
In an effort to keep the carrots looking natural, I decided not to cut them in length, instead incorporating the varying heights and widths into the arrangement. The color of the purple flowers played really nicely with the carrots, creating a sophisticated arrangement perfect for an Easter brunch buffet.
For my second arrangement, I called in the big boys. At this point I realize it was all about choosing the right shape and size of vase for this project. A narrow, square vase with an oblong opening seemed like the best option. The modern shape of the vase was leading me toward a monochromatic, simple arrangement.
When I began to arrange the carrots, it became evident the green carrot tops were too flimsy to leave as is. As I worked further, inserting some beautiful orange roses, I realized I could trim the tops and use them as greenery to balance the arrangement, similar to fern. This was the perfect complement to the yellow statice I included in the arrangement. The tightly packed carrots within the vase acted similar to Oasis Floral foam, holding the roses in place, right where I wanted them. The resulting centerpiece is both modern and chic, perfect for a springtime table.
THIS IS A GREAT IDEA FOR:
Easter brunch or dinner
Springtime dinner party
Peter Rabbit themed baby shower
Garden-themed birthday party
How will you #MakeEveryDayanEvent today? Tell us below!