I've always loved having fresh flowers at home, which become all the more important during increasingly shorter days, when even moodier and seasonally appropriate bouquets have a noticeable brightening affect. The only problem is that, while there's always a bounty of flowers to choose from in the spring and summer, the options become seriously limited around this time of year and I often fall back on old favorites—monochromatic bundles of dark and dramatic dahlias, wild flowers, and mums. In my search to switch things up a bit this fall, I asked Barrett Prendergast of Valleybrink Road about the fall trends she's been noticing. She was quick to respond with a harvest-inspired idea I'd never considered, but makes perfect sense: "Fall is the perfect time to start incorporating produce into arrangements. Things like persimmon, pomegranate, artichoke, squash, and apples all have such beautiful colors and textures that really add a whole new dimension to the flower arrangement." Ever since stopping by her home to learn her tips for incorporating produce into arrangements, I've loved the challenge of picking up beautiful fall produce from the farmers' market to add to my own. Here's how to do it yourself:
In a medium-height vase, Barrett suggests gathering together a loose bouquet of fall foliage, like maple leaves and Israeli ruscus to use as your base.
Since flowers aren't the centerpiece here—the produce is—it doesn't matter as much if you can't find a "purple clematis," or some of the exact other blooms Barrett used. But it is easy to source beautiful produce. If you can't find items at your farmer's market, stores like Trader Joe's often have mini artichokes and squash, as well as pomegranates and a wide variety of apples. Once you've secured one or a few pieces, you're ready to add them to your bundle of fall foliage.
While Barrett used an artichoke and persimmons still on their stems for this arrangement (which she purchased from the L.A. Flower Market), most produce you'll find at the super market doesn't come on a stem. She suggests inserting a wood stick or dowel into the bottom of the produce and securing it with some clear tape, which looks just as good. The key in adding produce to your arrangement is "Less is more." Try adding in one or two artichokes, and a persimmon or pomegranate. It doesn't have to look completely filled-out quite yet—that's for the next step.
While flowers aren't the main event here, you can still use a few blooms to fill out the arrangement by adding them at varying heights. Barrett added some that have a wildflower-look to them, like purple allium bullets, purple clematis, and wax flowers, mixed in with more traditional blooms like dahlias, purple lisianthus, and tulips.
To give the final arrangement an undone, organic look, similar to a bowl of produce on your kitchen counter, Barrett suggests adding a few loose items of produce, placed organically around the base of the vase to help it blend into its surroundings.
Here is the complete list of flowers and foliage Barrett used in her arrangement: purple allium bullets, green baby artichoke, purple clematis, dahlias, orange persimmons, purple lisianthus, red maple leaves, Israeli ruscus, tulips, and wax flowers.