I’m Leanne Kesler, director of the Floral Design Institute. And today, I’m here to share with you a fabulous centerpiece based upon sunflowers but with a soft touch of blue.

Both sunflowers and hydrangeas are very thirsty flowers. So as you work with them, you want ample foam with a lot of space for a water reservoir to keep them so that they are not thirsty. Once you have your foam placed, score the corners. Give it a softer surface. And then you’re ready to design.

To begin the design: a bit of foliage, maybe some ruscus, just cutting it down, placing it in. A little bit of pittosporum, bringing it low to break the line of the container and then also up through the center to draw the eye upward. Maybe a fatsia leaf. If you’ve taken classes with me, you know three or more foliages make the design so much more interesting. Then when it comes time to set in the hydrangea, remembering that alum will make it last so much longer. Alum is a pickling spice. You may find it at the grocery store or you can find it on our website at flower school .com. If you want to know how to use it, if you just go to the website, type in hydrangea. There’s a whole care and handling section on keeping it alive as long as possible.

Well, we’re all familiar with the classic yellow sunflower. The beautiful bronze orangey sunflowers are so grand and give us a perfect complement, blue and orange directly opposite on the color wheel. So, adding these to the centerpiece gives it such a beautiful look, an updated take on the sunflower rather than the classic, going to something a little more special.

The last touch, a little more texture, beautiful, is nigella pods. They pick up on that rusty orange. Give a little more delicate look, letting it come out a little longer, grouping them so that they show well. And then adding just a bit more foliage for another hue of green and a softer look as it drapes with the fern. It’s coming right out over the front.

The finished design looks great no matter which side you look. The recipe is easy; 10 fabulous sunflowers, 6 hydrangea, 6 stems of the nigella. Although it was roughly half a bunch, if it doesn’t come to you by stems because the stems can vary a lot. Then foliage. We have some ruscus, fatsia, pittosporum, and fern. Three or four stems of each. You can mix and match depending on what you like. The key is that it’s 10 sunflowers and six hydrangeas with foliage and texture.

Working with hydrangeas and sunflowers is easy once you know to make sure there’s a great water reservoir and you do the proper care and handling. If you want more information, you have questions, check out the website at Flower School .com. If you can’t find it, pick up the phone and give us a call at (503) 223-8089. Now it’s your turn. What are you going to create with wonderful end-of-summer flowers? Be sure to take a picture, post it on social media, and hash tag Floral Design Institute. That way, we all can see what you do as you do something you love.