There’s no better way to set a festive table than bringing the outdoors in with seasonally-inspired centerpieces. And with Holidays right around the corner, we thought it’d be the perfect time to sit down with the queen of foraging herself, Bess Piergossi. If you haven’t stumbled across Bess, it’s time to take a deep dive through her Instagram to re-energize your creative spirit. She’s one of our talented Shoppe Ambassadors who resides on a quaint farm in Southern Maine. You’ll find picturesque images of her New England property, abundant in flowers and birds, along with her incredibly charming 1740’s farmhouse. Everything she touches turns to gold, and that includes creating a perfectly imperfect foraged tablescape. Read on to gather inspiration and all the tips and tricks you’ll need to create your own unforgettable scene this holiday!
I refer to myself as a “front yard florist”, gathering flowers and making arrangements from the gardens on our little farm, Hitchfoot Farm. My husband and I live in Southern Maine, in an old 1740’s farmhouse. We raise chickens, ducks, and two loving geese that transform our yard into a fairytale. Our property borders an old dairy farm, and nothing feels closer to heaven than picking flowers in the garden as I watch the cows graze. I have a passion for design and farming, and flower farming/floral design is the perfect blend of those two passions.
I like to fully embrace the seasons by bringing nature into my home, whether it’s an arrangement on the dining room table, or greenery on the counter. I find the seasons to be rejuvenating, and renewing. In the spring, tulips and flowering branches signal new growth and new beginnings. In the summer, wildflowers and roses represent freedom and vibrancy. In the fall, maple branches and dahlias warm the house with their rich color, and in the winter evergreens and winterberry celebrate the solstice and reflection. These floral reminders help ground me throughout the year, and bring beauty and happiness into home.
I’m most inspired by things that aren’t flowers–when I go outside and go for a walk. I love to observe my surroundings for shapes, colors and textures that I find interesting. I’ve made some of my favorite bouquets from foraged materials from grassy fields, the side of the highway, or the deep woods. I like to start all arrangements with greenery–it’s like the skeleton of an arrangement- it helps support the flowers, both physically and artistically.
Wild Rose Hips
*Tip/disclaimer: when using foraged materials–make sure what you’re harvesting isn’t an invasive species, and if it is, make sure you’re handling it/disposing of it properly.
After foraging for greenery, it’s time to collect the flowers. Flowers can be foraged (even a dandelion looks incredible in an arrangement), picked from a garden, or purchased at a farmers market, or local grocer. There’s no right or wrong answers when choosing flowers for an arrangement. I like to choose flowers within a similar color palette and of various sizes (some small flowers and small larger blooms).
Wild Carrot (Queen Anne’s Lace)
This step isn’t necessary, but it is my favorite. Fill up several jars up with water and sort your greenery/flowers by variety–one type for each jar. This step reminds me of setting up a painter’s palette–I can clearly see what my palette for the arrangement looks like and how many of each flower I have. It’s a beautiful display.
For a sturdy arrangement, place a flower frog or a ball of chicken wire in the bottom of your vase. Start with the greenery as your first layer. I use the thickest branches first, and then layer in the finer greens. Next, layer in your largest blooms, your focal points. Then add your smaller blossoms throughout as a supporting accent. With a solid base of greenery, it only takes a few blooms to make a statement arrangement.