A favorite time for friendly get-togethers, Labor Day bridges summer and fall and thus presents twin inspirations for a lively floral party centerpiece. As you create a flower arrangement, you could choose to emphasize the bright and bold hues of summer, the earthy blues and browns of flowers traditionally linked to September, or the flame-like palette of autumn. Feel free to follow these original designs below or modify them to color your occasion.
Labor Day is early fall’s answer to the Fourth of July, so a patriotic theme could offer a fitting salute to America’s bold primary colors. For this centerpiece, take a large bunch of red dahlias, a medium-sized bunch of white dahlias, and a few deep bluish-purple lisianthus blossoms. Each of these flowers displays a large volume of ruffles or layered petals. If you wish to use a vase, cut the flowers so that the red stems are the shortest, the white the second shortest, and the lisianthus the longest, then arrange in roughly concentric circles in what would look like a bulls-eye from above. Finally, to add the Labor Day touch, stick sprigs of silver dollar eucalyptus, which you can most likely find at your local florist, around the base of the creation so that the round coin-like leaves dangle outside the vase. This effect of a centerpiece dripping silver coins just might bring good luck to your table!
Unlike the former arrangement, this bouquet allows you to experiment with a harmony of colors. Tradition casts the aster, a bloom similar in appearance to a daisy, but typically with violet-blue petals, as one of the birth flowers for September. Using the striking but cheerful contrast between yellow and blue as your motif, choose whatever available flowers appeal to your taste and your ideal of Labor Day. For instance, for a simple French country feel, you could create a bouquet of periwinkle asters, peppered with sprigs of aromatic purplish-blue lavender. To accentuate the blue by contrast, weave in a few yellow allamanda blossoms. If you desire a more formal feel, exchange the lavender for light blue irises or the allamandas for light yellow lilies. Play with the duality of blue and yellow that hints at the exciting changing of seasons.
Here is where you can really let your imagination run wild. Among the flowers that best symbolize autumn, the chrysanthemum tends to dominate flower displays. However, these flowers make a tremendous base to an eclectic bundle of turning leaf colors. Buy a bunch of chrysanthemums in a vibrant color: for instance, rusty orange. Trim the stems and spread them out in a vase. Now, add an assortment of flowers from the “warm” end of the color spectrum: yellows, blazing oranges, fiery reds, and deep burgundies. Since fall is often celebrated as the harvest season, don’t be afraid of a full, overflowing abundance. As you punctuate the chrysanthemum starter bunch, consider such flowers as starburst-colored zinnias, peachy shades of dahlias, vivid amaryllises, spear-shaped celosia, or even the strategic sunflower or two. The finishing touch? At your garden center or florist, buy a few branches of ornamental peppers, or even a few brightly colored chilies from the supermarket, and stud the arrangement with them to make it as spicy as you like.
Instead of a large, dome-shaped centerpiece, you might opt for a more angular, contemporary arrangement. For instance, you could position a maroon or golden calla lily on a tilt in its vase. You could then complement and soften the base of a yellow lily with a sprig of purple statice, a nubby textured plant that sports tiny crepe-like flowers, or a red one with a crest of curly yellow celosia. For the peak of seasonal sophistication, buy a long-stemmed slipper orchid and accent it with a cluster of tiny, innocent waxflowers or baby’s breath. No two bouquets can be identical, so scramble these color schemes with locally ready flowers for an arrangement as special as your Labor Day.