Saturday, March 29, 2003

Floral designer thinks outside the flower bed

Ron Morgan might choose almost anything for a centerpiece, as long as it looks good

By Joy Kraft
The Cincinnati Enquirer

Floral designer Ron Morgan of Alameda, Calif., looks beyond the flower bed when planning his knockout centerpieces.

"Just because it doesn't grow in your yard doesn't mean it can't be in your centerpiece," says the sought-after speaker and author of The Center of Attention (Half Full Press; $49.95), who will be sharing his flower power at the Cincinnati Flower Show, 11 a.m. April 23 in Coney Island's Moonlite Pavilion.

We caught up with the master green thumb between trips to Key Largo and Atlanta.

Question: What's the most frequently asked question you hear?

The Center of Attention with 240 pages of Ron Morgan's tablescapes contains imaginative arrangements using everything from cauliflower to cornstalks. We picked one of Morgan's favorite color themes - white - to show you how the master thinks.

"Green and white is nature's strongest and most endearing theme," he writes. "Bananas, apples, and limes submerged in water create the illusionary mechanics for the large lush white blossoms."

Container: Use a round Victorian fish bowl on a glass pedestal base. (You could use a glass cake stand or a upturned glass vase as the base as well).

Flowers: Peonies, roses, rhododendron, tulips, viburnum.

Fruits: Green bananas, limes and apples submerged in water.

Assembly: Flowers are secured in a plastic saucer filled with floral foam that rests on top of the fish bowl.Ron Morgan will speak at 11 a.m. April 23 as part of the 2003 Cincinnati Flower Show's Lecture Series. Cost: $45 per person, includes lunch and admission to the show.

People always want to know what inspires me, where I get my ideas.

Q: Your answer?

A: Walking around seeing different colors and combinations that I think would look good together, not necessarily flowers, but fruits, leaves, anything growing.

Q: What's on your table?

A: Nothing. I haven't been home long enough. Dirty laundry on top of the washer is my centerpiece now.

Q: What's your favorite centerpiece?

A: A vase of white tulips. I like the cleanness, the freshness ... anything pure white. I'm a sucker for its luminescence.

Q: What do people need to consider when choosing a centerpiece?

A: Where it's going to be, the colors of the room, the light, how many people will be there, whether it's formal or casual, whether it's a sit-down dinner or buffet.

Q: What about the height rule?

A: Conversation is still the most important part of a party, so the 14-inch (high) rule for a sit-down table still applies. But people are having a lot more fun with centerpieces.

Q: What flowers do you recommend?

A: A good, standard flower. Anything but carnations and gladiolas. They are my two least favorite. They have been overdone.

Q: What's the most unusual thing you've used in a centerpiece?

A: A lady collected antique bug pins. Last week for a party, I used green apples in a glass bowl with the whole collection of pins climbing all over them. The plates had some bugs on them and a yellow border.

Q: What will you talk about at the Cincinnati Flower Show?

A: How to use flowers, make them last longer, what looks good together ... fast, easy tips. I want everyone to think, "Oh I can do that!"

Q: What's the popular color combination?

A: It's still peaches and cream and salmon.


Wedding gifts go way beyond the basics
Give yourself, guests the gift of a plan, experts say
Get to it!

Jarvi's CSO on edge of greatness
Dayton troupe soars with energy, patriotism

Floral designer thinks outside the flower bed
Flower show speakers, events
Early spring best time to plant bare-root roses
Home improvements might bring tax benefits to owner
Sevres vases worth the hunt
In the know
Home hints
Circle This