Floral designer and author Kristen Caissie is known for her poetic arrangements that could have been plucked straight from a field of wildflowers. The founder of Moon Canyon in Los Angeles brings her let-it-be approach to winter compositions: spotlighting flowering bulbs, wispy grasses, and fragrant greenery—and letting nature do its wild and wonderful thing as much as possible. Here’s how she makes the most of the cooler months.
A mantel, side table, or low bench becomes the perfect display surface for tulip, amaryllis, and ranunculus bulbs planted in pickle jars, a sculptural tumbleweed, and other foraged pieces. Add lattice to the back wall to loosely frame your still life.
Foraged birch branches, wispy grasses, and wheat bring movement, while Port Orford cedar and Carolina cedar create different textures and colors when combined.
You can also add fragrant juniper for a fresh woodsy scent. The garland won’t shed and can stay up well into spring.
Fresh greenery like bay laurel, switchgrass, and Spanish lavender will dry where you place it, so you can make an architectural arrangement that keeps through the winter. Scatter loose bulbs around a rustic wood bowl and layer on new foliage or found objects, such as lichen and small rocks. For an asymmetrical, wabi-sabi effect, Caissie likes to set her centerpiece at one end of the table.
Wire a small bunch of Victorian birch branches together to create a circle, and let the tips cascade. “You’re following the natural shape, so you really can’t go wrong,” says Caissie. For color, add sprigs of switchgrass, dried flowers (like the starflowers here), and papery pod, using wire again to attach the pieces in both directions. To freshen the wreath, mist with a spray bottle over the sink once a week.
Go conceptual and keep sprouted bulbs in a shallow vessel rather than a vase (making sure to water as needed). When the stems grow taller, tie them together with twine and let the flowers bloom into a beautiful bouquet.
Try tulips, hyacinth, paperwhites, and amaryllis bulbs, which are all inexpensive and can be purchased from your local nursery or grocery store.
Freshen up your space with bunches of fragrant herbs and flowers, like bay laurel and Carolina cedar. Hang them in your storage or laundry room—especially when drying linens—or on a hook in the bathroom or kitchen. The natural potpourri lasts six to eight weeks.
Fresh Floral Arrangement
A little can go a long way with winter blooms, and you often don’t need more than a few stems to make an arrangement. For this grouping, Caissie used snowberry, lisianthus, and hellebore, placing the trimmings to float in little bowls of water and scattering them across the table for an artfully undone look. The final touch: a bulb on each plate, looking ahead to spring.
This story was originally published in our Winter 2016 Issue and has since been updated.