outside in: worshipping winter citrus


Catching a winter cold? There is only one cure — a little vitamin C. The same holds true in the floral world; the bright spot on our winter horizon is the mountains of fresh, seasonal citrus fruits being harvested in Florida and California. If you’re lucky, you can find kumquats, oranges and lemons on the branch in gorgeous, mottled colors to use in arrangements or tablescapes, like this bouquet of winter flowers made in West Palm Beach. Florida happens year round, so here’s how to add some to your dreary winter days. — Amy Merrick

The humble orange — perfect for snacking or sipping but also a linchpin for many a florist in the cold months when attractive branches are scarce. The variety of winter citrus colors and sizes is astonishing. Lemons arrive in bright green or pale yellow, oranges in mottled greens and kumquats in deep tangerine. The foliage left on the branch makes a nice filler but can be removed so the fruit pops on its own.

The full post continues after the jump . . .

Winter flowers don’t have to be drab. This mix of citrus, ranunculus, tulips, croton, lady slippers, camomile and cut begonias scream tropical vacation, just what you’re likely to need right now.

When piled high, citrus makes a top-notch centerpiece. The key to an interesting grouping is to play with scale — tiny kumquats next to massive oranges keeps a cluster from looking like a grocery-store display.

  1. I needed this over the holidays on my trip to DC… caught a bad cold over there!!! love the images!

  2. Aelish says:

    amy, you can do no wrong! i love EVERYTHING you come up with.

  3. mindy says:

    Gorgeous! We usually get to Louisiana in the winter and get a ton of wonderful kumquats and satsumas, as well as homemade kumquat jelly (the best!!) We didn’t make the trip this year; this makes me miss it even more.

  4. Mouth watering! Very fresh & just the thing for a gray January day! Perfect!! (not to mention, easy on the wallet!)

  5. Marigold says:

    This is a beautiful post! It really made me smile, gorgeous arrangements and beautiful photos. Thanks Amy.

  6. Ahhh. What a welcome sight of beauty on a nasty VT winter day! This has inspired me to take the fruit I have laying on my kitchen counter and arrange it all pretty like :)

  7. I can’t get enough citrus right now. My current favorite is Myer lemon. Made some flavored oil. Excellent.

  8. Micha Merrick says:

    I’m so glad you finally posted these pictures! They look so pretty.

  9. Jennifer says:

    Warm and festive and beautiful!

  10. I have been toying with the idea of getting a small meyer lemon or kaffir lime tree for my home, but I am afraid my cloudy Portland winters may thwart my plan. These lovely photos might convince me to take the risk, though!

  11. ~amy~ says:

    simply gorgeous!

  12. Gorgeous! Thanks for the beautiful burst of sunshine. :)

  13. So pretty. Now I’m sorry I ate my last grapefruit this morning. If only kiwi were as attractive.

  14. These photos are so inspiring! Makes me want to plan a wedding! I am a tangerine freak, I love the color orange, and I think the citrus/floral arrangements are the prettiest I’ve seen! What a refreshing post for January! Love it!!
    The French Tangerine

  15. I absolutely LOVE your site! Always an inspiration!

    May all your gardens grow,

  16. Sarah says:

    I never cease to be amazed at how many lemons one tree will hold. Maybe I will start using them instead of flowers.

  17. Laura says:

    My favorite pic is the one with the citrus fruits spilling out of a lovely white pedestal bowl -thanks for the reminder that everyday items can be lovely and decorative with just a little thought. Must get a bowl like that!!!

  18. What beautiful images! I feel healthy just looking at them!

    Maria xx

  19. Just perfect ….
    Lots of beauty …..
    I love your blog!

  20. Beaula says:

    All of the flower arrangements are so old fashioned, I’d love to see something more modern.

    1. Grace Bonney says:


      I don’t think these are old-fashioned in a bad way, but most of us here prefer this sort of loose garden style. It does harken back to a different era in floral styles but I think Amy does a good job of putting a contemporary spin on the look.

      However, if you’re looking for a more “modern” style you may like our “flowers a to z” column which is written by a different florist who favors a more minimal, modern look.


  21. I think the arrangements are gorgeous! I love the idea of taking something simple and making it a colorful focal point. That and I’m craving fresh oj. :)

  22. Beaula says:

    Grace- I hope you didnt take that meanly, the flower arrangements on D*S are always beautiful! And I do love the column “flowers a to z”; I guess since there is such a mix of styles on your blog , I always expect to see a variety in everything else.


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