How to Create a Fall Table Arrangement with Poppies & Posies

One  might think that as much time as I spend around flowers (after all, I’ve been working for design*sponge for four years now), I would know a thing or two about arranging flowers. One would be wrong. When I’m tasked with arranging flowers, I buy one single flower variety in one single color and put the bunch in a vase. Not that there’s anything wrong with that method, there’s just definitely no wow factor. I was SHOCKED when after attending a workshop with Poppies & Posies on Sunday, that I actually came away with a table arrangement that would have been killer at any wedding or fancy event. It was honestly so easy that I asked them to share their method.  The key here is the chicken wire, that will allow you to really play with how the flowers are placed in the vase. Then you want to start with your greens and really go for an oblong shape. It will look flat and bald at first, but as you start to add the flowers, it will fill out and the whole thing will start to look pretty awesome.   –Amy

Photography by de la Barra Photography

(If you’re in NYC and need a little more hands-on instruction, Poppies and Posies has another workshop scheduled for November 17 from 1-4pm Sign up here!)

The full how-to continues after the jump…

Image 1: Find a water tight vase to arrange your flowers in. We chose aged, garden urns for this project. A great NY source for vases is Jamali Garden Supply. Once you’ve found the perfect vase cut a piece of chicken wire and place it inside the vase to create a foundation for your arrangement. Use water resistant floral tape to make sure your chicken wire cage doesn’t shift in the vase.

Image 2: Fill your vase to the top with water to make sure all of your stems have plenty to drink!

Image above: Add flower food to the water to keep your water clean and your flowers alive longer.

Image above: Start your arrangement by adding foliage to your vase. We chose burning bush as our base for this autumnal arrangement.

Trim any leaves that will be below the water line before placing your foliage in the vase. Leaves in your water will cause bacteria to grow and cut short the lifespan of your arrangement.

Image above: Place your foliage stems in at an angle from either side of your vase to create an oblong shape. Make sure all of your stems are in water by hooking them under the chicken wire on the opposite side as you arrange.

Image above: Once you have placed some greenery in your vase feel free to start adding another texture such as berries. In this case we used seasonal bittersweet and hawthorne.

Image above: Juliet teaching the technique of using greenery to begin your arrangements.


Image above: If your using any particularly woody branches in your arrangement you may want to smash their stems a little to help them drink more easily.

Image above: Begin adding color to your arrangement by placing your ‘focal’ flowers. We tend to work in odd numbers so try to have 1, 3, or 5 flowers on each side of your arrangement to keep it visually interesting. Your focal flowers will typically be the largest blooms in your arrangement.

Image above: Next, introduce your ‘secondary’ flowers. In this case we chose to use garden roses and orange dahlia. From there you can add your detail elements such as ranunculus, carpet zinnia, acorns, etc. Be creative and have fun with it! It’s like painting a picture full of layers of color and texture.

Image above: Our arrangements are typically an oblong shape rather than a traditional round shape and are inspired by the natural, organic movement of a wild garden. In order to achieve this style it is important to remember to not concentrate all of your flowers in the center of the arrangement. It works best if your elements appear to be spilling out of the vase on either side.




  1. LOL. That cat looks like he wants to mess that bouquet up tout de suite! Nothing like some dangling berry branches to tempt the furry minions. LMAO

  2. Rachel says:

    I loved the cat surprise at the end :) Must remember the trick with the chickenwire, so easy!

  3. Kate says:

    Man, I love a good lion cut.

  4. Lynn says:

    I kept saying “those aren’t poppies! those aren’t posies! those are dahlias!” until I actually read the text and figured it all out ;)

  5. Serena says:

    It was great meeting you Amy! Terrific article. Will definitely have to refer to it for my future arrangements :)

  6. love the natural look of it all! Not too fussy and ‘done up’ even though I guess it is more fussy than just chucking a bunch of flowers in the vase!

  7. nadine woloshin says:

    that looks like a great workshop. But I looked at their website and it’s $500 for four hours. Wow. that seems really expensive.

  8. Autumnal flower arrangements are my absolute favourites, the colours are just so beautiful!

  9. Stefanie says:

    I am SOOOOO not into flower arranging, but this post inspired and motivated me! Simple tricks and awesome advice, I think I’ll have to try something this week!

  10. Lois says:

    Just GORGEOUS!
    I’d rather have flowers than anything else in the world! The lines, the colors , the dimension, I love it.

    Thank you!

  11. Rita Tocta says:

    G:O:R:G:E:O:U:S! Thank you!

  12. Suzanne says:

    I am a volunteer flower arranger at a hospital. Boy is this a great tutorial! I learned a got and, somehow, I think I am going to be arranging better next week. Thank you!

  13. nauli says:

    Dahlias are definitely worth this season… beside beautiful colored leafs, hot chestnuts and family teas.

  14. Dorothy Tompkins says:

    The arrangement is lovely. Since bittersweet is invasive and birds love it, please encourage folks to dispose of it appropriately.

  15. Amazing! So gorgeous! I love these flower posts.

  16. David says:

    A lovely natural looking arrangement. It could be used for so many different situations and or occasions.

  17. Natasha says:

    $500 for a floral workshop ONE OFF class is ridiculous. WOW! Rip off, sorry :(

  18. Navya says:

    I took the workshop featured here and it was phenomenal! It might seem expensive to some, but it also might not be geared to those just looking to play flowers for the afternoon. It’s an incredible learning experience to work closely with two extremely talented designers and successful business owners, not to mention we sipped bubbly and worked with the most premium blooms possible!

  19. Dannis says:

    Amazing floral arrangement and dahlias are looking simply awesome. I often create floral arrangements.


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