To Marie Raley, Owner and Principal Designer of the Minnetonka-based company Floral design by Laine MoiréFinding flowers that can endure Minnesota’s freezing winters is the raison d’être of the vacation decor. From outdoor pots to full arrangements to decorate your home while organizing, read on for expert advice from Raley.
Besides the obvious, what’s the difference between what you put in an indoor centerpiece and an outdoor pot?
The outdoor pots are pretty constant every year. It is a mixture of fresh and preserved products – “preserved” meaning birch bark, birch logs, willow or pine cones. It has a lot to do with what works on the outside. Now when we talk about winter arrangements inside the house, you have a bit more flexibility because you can use fresh flowers that can still be in the water (but they can wilt over time and need to be. changed throughout the season). These styles are changing. Centerpieces follow trends in event decorating, so what you might see in a wedding centerpiece, you might also see in a winter centerpiece.
From plants to nodes, let’s talk about the different types of decorations.
It really is a personal preference. There are so many different kinds of ribbons, whether they are used for weaving or for making a bow. Some people really like to have bows on their outdoor wreaths, and others just like to have foliage. I tend to use more natural and compostable items in my decor so I don’t feel like I have to save or stock up on all of these different plastic items every year.
Can you talk about the seasonality of flowers and what materials can withstand the harshness of winter?
Stick to things that won’t freeze and wither. If you look at nature during winter in the Midwest, you can see what still retains its color and shape, even though it is 10 degrees. There are different types of spruce, firs, pines, cedars, and every conifer we can think of. Some people even use branches with preserved leaves.
When someone is looking to decorate their home with flowers during the holidays, where would you recommend them to start?
Sometimes people can’t look at their space and get an exact idea of what to do, so looking at different websites and magazines for inspiration is a good idea.
Challenge yourself to pick a few unique items you like and use them rather than recreating something you’ve seen before. For example, when I do my personal pots after all my workshops are finished, I don’t put anything aside for myself. i’m waiting to see what everyone does not have to take. It’s a creative challenge to use what I have and look for other things that might work. People are so stuck in the ‘This is what a pot should look like’ mindset, and they forget that there are so many alternatives.
Where should someone buy supplies?
I think it’s important to source locally. There are many nurseries and roadside garden stalls that offer fresher produce. The only thing to keep in mind when making an indoor centerpiece or outdoor pot is that the fresher the product can be, the longer the arrangement will last. So if you buy, say, spruce tips from a big box store, those spruce tips might have sat on a truck for a month and a half before bringing them home. But if you have access to a local farm stand, they might have only been cut a week or two ago. So rather than where you get it from, I’d be more concerned about the freshness of the product.
Do you have any tips for organizing an arrangement itself?
For indoor arrangements or outdoor pots you always start with your greens, something sturdy so you can create any shape and size of the arrangement you want. Then you can fill in from there whether it’s your foliage or your flowers.
Do you have a favorite material for working in winter?
My favorite winter foliage is a berry juniper. I really like all the different textures you see, and it’s something different from a spruce tip. Everyone uses a spruce tip.
Something to avoid?
People like to make a winter wreath and hang it in their homes, but evergreens don’t like to be in and out of the water. They dry out and need more moisture and humidity. And people forget that their pots outside contain fresh ingredients, so if you’re making a pot or buying one in late November, you need to make sure it’s always watered.
What should one consider when choosing between an outdoor pot or an indoor centerpiece?
If you had to pick one, I would go for a wreath on a front door or an outdoor pot, just because I know it will last the longest. A centerpiece is really great for an event, but it can last for a month, while an outdoor pot can last for five months. I always do my pots, and then the centerpiece is an afterthought for me. And I am a florist, that means something!