Culinista Kitchen®

Flora to Fawn Over

by The Culinistas

Every beautiful bird that hits the table this Thanksgiving should be flanked by three things: copious amounts of wine, our crimson quinoa salad and a centerpiece so epic you’ll be saying your “thanks” to guests all night long as the compliments roll in.

That’s why we asked Karen Palmer of L.A.’s Monday Bouquets to share five techniques that will upgrade your centerpiece game this holiday season.

Palmer, who used to drag friends willing and otherwise to floral design classes, started making bouquets as a creative outlet during COVID-19. Now you can catch her making bouquets with flowers from the Hollywood and Santa Monica farmers’ markets, sold locally in L.A. at Standing’s Butchery and Uplifters Kitchen.Check out her tips below, or if you’d still rather leave it the pros, you can contact Palmer directly for special requests on Instagram @mondaybouquets and her website

Go Monochromatic

“I think that people get intimidated by having to work with a lot of different flowers and colors. They get stuck on the question of “what goes with what?” Stick with a single color and simply add some leafy green accents. Whites and creams are always chic, or you could go with different shades of orange to make it look more autumnal.”

Rustic + Recycled

“This one’s for the eco-conscious hosts: Colorful tomato or coffee cans will pop on the table, are low enough that you’ll be able to see over them and are a great way to reuse containers you might otherwise chuck in the recycling bin. I’m partial to Bianco di Napoli tomatoes for cooking, and it’s a bonus that the cans are so beautiful! Simply fill them with your favorite blooms, and you’re done.”

California Cool

“Even if you’re not spending the holiday in Palm Springs, you can make your home feel like a desert oasis by grouping different succulents and cacti in terra cotta pots at the center of the table. Look for different heights and shapes, and perhaps one or two that are sprouting blooms so you get a little color on the table. Of course, if you’re using cacti, make sure they’re not too tall — you don’t want anyone pricking themselves while they’re reaching for another helping of stuffing.”

Citrus Bowl

“This may be the easiest idea of all: Grab a rustic wooden bowl. Fill it with your favorite citrus (lemons, oranges, grapefruit, whatever!). Nestle some eucalyptus, branches, and even some seasonally hued flowers in between the fruit. The centerpiece screams effortless elegance, and you can eat the fruit when you’re tired of Thanksgiving leftovers.”

Leafy Greens

“I use a lot of eucalyptus in my bouquets because it’s so readily available here in Southern California. Plus, there are so many different kinds that I feel like I’m constantly discovering new ones to play with! You can create a simple yet chic table runner by simply piling a bunch of eucalyptus greens down the center of your table. Then, accent it however you’d like with seasonal accoutrements like mini pumpkins, acorns, citrus fruit, or candles (making sure they won’t burn the leaves, of course!). The bonus here is that it smells incredible! “

A special thanks to Karen Palmer for the beautiful photographs.