By GWEN SISSON
Fall florals and decorating are taking on a natural home-grown feel in the Starkville area, according to local experts.
Jim DelPrince of Mississippi State University’s The University Florist is one of the most cutting edge florists in the state. Known for his beautiful work, DelPrince shares five ideas for fall that’s more about materials than specific floral designs.
u Lemon Cypress topiary — DelPrince said these evergreen plants provide great accent color for the interior, sun room or the front porch in autumn. He said natural and textural, globe topiaries such as these should be used in pairs.
u Gourds in pottery — McCarty Pottery is a Mississippi standard. DelPrince said the mottled brown color and sandy texture mixes well with smooth skinned, low-shine gourds.
“Simple design is casual, unplanned and expressive of modern, southern lifestyles,” DelPrince said.
u Mixed plants — DelPrince said mixed plants make great accents in a den, bath or kitchen. He suggests warm-toned Rieger begonias are the perfect contrast to Iron Cross begonias, a Yin/Yang combination.
u Sunflowers — Nothing warms up a space like sunflowers. According to DelPrince, choose light and bright yellows for evening dinner parties and deep gold and chocolate varieties for tailgates and well-lit rooms.
“Sunflowers possess the home-grown, farmers’ market feel suited for everyday living,” DelPrince said.
u Lavender and mauve Hydrangeas — The French call them Hortensias but in the U.S., they are known as Hydrangeas. In fall production, their colors deepen to antique tones some achieving fashion colors of lavender and mauve. DelPrince said cut Hydrangea can be nested in low tanks of water. As potted plants, he suggests dropping them into metal buckets or heavy willow baskets to brighten corners and entryways.
Melanie King of Flowers by the Bunch suggests purple fountain grass, a maroon Japanese maple or purple leaf plum as a perfect additions to a Bulldog tailgate arrangement.
“Fall is the perfect time of year to use foliage and grasses from your yard for floral designs, for example, use the plumes from your fountain grass in a tall vase, cut branches from trees for beautiful fall foliage, dogwoods, bradford pears and japanese maples all work really well, placed in a vase or urn,” King said.
Another trend King is incorporating into her work this fall is the use of small floral groupings for a dinner party/cookout table centerpiece instead of one large arrangement.
“(I will) do lots of small plants, in particular a small herb or vegetable plant, then group them together down the center of the table,” King said. “Then the host can send the plants home with guests as favors.”
Geomesh ribbon has been a popular trend in the past few years, but King said a major trend this year is using the ribbon in home decor in new ways, such as wrapped around a vase to accent the fall colors of an arrangement.
Recently, five members of the Starkville Town and Country Garden Club attended a district meeting of the Garden Clubs of Mississippi, where floral artist Kevin Knight shared floral design tips and trends for fall. Knight is the owner of Downtown Floral in Fulton.
Vicki Katz of Town and Country Garden Club said one concept Knight embraces is the use of unusual containers rather than the common clear glass vases.
“The use of a pitcher, basket or interesting vessel can add geometric form and color to any arrangement,” Katz said.
Katz said second popular trend Knight suggested was the use of fresh fruit in floral arrangements — either whole or sectioned for texture and sometime aroma. A third trend Knight suggested in the presentation was the minimum use of ribbons and bows. “Kevin felt that ribbon took away from the fresh look of a cut arrangement and only a small amount was needed under the best of circumstances,” Katz said.
Katz said it was clear that organic shapes and earth tones are still very popular and that there is no limit to style.