Holiday Tour of Tables set

How much is enough in a flower arrangement? John Grady Burns said when you run out of money or flowers!
Burns shared his wit and floral wisdom at Wednesday’s Holiday Tour of Tables at the Starkville Sportsplex. The event was a fund-raiser for a variety of community projects sponsored by Town and Country Garden Club.
“We are so excited,” said Marilyn Tabor, president of Town and Country Garden Club. “Everyone is having a great time and John Grady Burns is outstanding.”
Betty Forbus of Town and Country Garden Club said this first-time event was an opportunity to do a more garden/decorating-related fund-raiser, in lieu of their annual holiday bazaar.
Over 150 people joined the club for lunch Wednesday. The crowd enjoyed tablescapes from 16 local vendors who showcased a sampling of their holiday merchandise.
Vendors attending the event were Bell Building Supply, The Book Mart, Dandy Doodlez, The Flower Company, Flowers by the Bunch, Giggleswick, Main Street Arts, Montgomery Jewelry, Mak B’s, Occasions, Polka Tots, The Purple Elephant, Something Southern, Starkvile Flooring and Interiors, Stewart’s Town and Campus Florist and Sullivan’s Office Supply.
And guests also had the opportunity to set at tables specially designed by Town and Country Garden Club members, who created the table decor and brought their own china and crystal to create a beautiful table.
After a lunch catered by members of Town and Country Garden Club, Burns took the stage, with the help of his assistant, Brooks Garcia, a garden designer from Atlanta, Ga.
A native of Natchez, Burns is a graduate of Mississippi State University’s floral design program, studying under Professor Emeritus Ralph Null.
He is the owner of Flora in Atlanta, Ga., and has developed a reputation as on the cutting edge of floral design in the Southeast.
“He is really, really entertaining,” Forbus said. “He is considered one of the most artistic people in the Southeast.”
Burns’ theory on holiday decorating is to keep it simple.
“We tend to put so much stress on ourselves over the holidays,” Burns said. “I love simple compositions.”
Burns encouraged the crowd to study nature and see how plants grow naturally.
“Nature has given us the best example of creating simple arrangements,” Burns said.
He created five to six arrangements, using his theory of arrangements radiating from the center, with points created from a variety of materials. He loves various shapes and shades of greens and lots of color.
“I love asymmetrical shapes and a variety of textures to create an arrangement,” Burns said.
He used a Lazy Susan to create arrangements such as centerpieces. Barnes stressed the importance of thinking outside of the “round mound” idea of the centerpiece.
He encouraged “transseasonal” arrangements where the basic arrangement can last from Thanksgiving through Christmas by the yellows and oranges of fall for fresh reds of Christmas. Adding pinecones and Christmas ornaments to the basic evergreen arrangement can also freshen the look for Christmas.
He encouraged searching the backyard for many of the items in an arrangement, then buying a few fresh flowers to add color or texture.
In each arrangement he created Wednesday, he commented often that a few flowers were purchased for the arrangement and the rest came from the backyard or the roadside.
Burns and Garcia also served as guest speakers at Columbus’ 2011 Decorative Arts and Preservation Forum and Antiques Show and Sale set for this weekend.
“This event was a roaring success” said Sue Blackbourn of Town and Country Garden Club. “The community has been so supportive of this event.”
Janey Stubbs of Town and Country Garden Club said the event was wonderful and everyone had a great time.
Proceeds for this event go to help finance several community projects sponsored by Town and Country Garden Club, including Starkville High School’s Hollis Creek Project, the downtown planter project and other beautification projects in the community.