Whether the materials come from your backyard or a garden center, it's easy to incorporate natural elements into the centerpiece of an alfresco dinner. Position stones down the middle of an outdoor table, and intersperse bunches of cushion moss (buy it from a reputable center, as some moss species are protected). Place votive candles along the sides to cast a warm glow over the arrangement.
Give your outdoor table a lush centerpiece with a fun, graphic twist. Fill a galvanized-metal planter (available at garden centers) with fresh potting soil. Inside, arrange Irish moss in two shades (we used dark-green Sagina subulata and chartreuse S. subulata 'Aurea') to create a checkerboard pattern. After a few days, plant the moss in your yard.
This bouquet of late-blooming annuals -- cut from the garden and tucked into an ironstone vessel alongside a compote of blueberries -- is at once lively and serene. An abundance of maroon cosmos mingles with rich indigo larkspur, their stems listing and leaning in the soft, warm breeze. It is the perfect arrangement for outdoor entertaining.
From soil to center stage: Pick whatever's the most fragrant from your garden and tame it into a centerpiece, perfect for your outdoor table setting. Shown here is a mix of roses, hydrangeas, delphiniums, lady's mantle, scented geraniums, and potato vine.
Delicate and airy, this centerpiece composed of single blossoms lets you make the most of a limited group of flowers. Showcase each one -- we used dahlias and garden roses -- in clear glass vessels, such as bud vases, jars, or even drinking glasses. To accentuate the arrangement, set the flowers on a runner with a hue that contrasts the color of the tablecloth.
When herb gardens overflow with more than is needed in any kitchen, why not use the extra yield in a fragrant centerpiece? Mix shapes and textures, and add color with edible flowers and herb blossoms. This arrangement, which includes dill, rosemary, mint, basil, thyme, lavender, nasturtiums, and flowering herbs, sits in a high-sided bowl; a smaller bowl within keeps the stems in place. But a vase, pitcher, or jar would work just as well.
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