Decorating with Fruit
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By Melanie Crawford Photography by Robert Clark / Photography styled by Melanie Crawford
This lush masterpiece combines the bounty of the season with greenery and floral selections to reflect a Dutch master still life painting. Now we’re ready to move the adventure into high gear by actually creating the centerpiece.
Put one end of a cut piece of the bamboo skewer into the side of one of the larger fruits, like a pear or an apple, and attach the fruit to the arrangement by putting the stick into the Oasis. Repeat the process with a few more pears and/or apples, angling some of the fruit down, some to the right, and some to the left until you have the outline of the centerpiece.
Work your way from the bottom to the top, incorporating smaller fruits as you go. Gaps will be visible at this stage, and your design might even look a little hopeless, but don’t be discouraged — just keep going. Remember we’re creating something for the enjoyment of our family and guests that points to all that we have to be thankful for, so perfection is not the goal.
To finish the design, use the natural elements from your walk to add interest and texture, filling in any gaps left between the larger pieces of fruit. At this point, you’re very close to being finished – just stand back and take a look at your gorgeous creation from all sides. If you can see the Oasis or a noticeable gap, choose a fruit or a flower that will fit the space and pop it in. Now stand back one more time and heave a sigh of satisfaction for a job well done.
Fruit topiaries have waxed and waned in popularity since Colonial times. This design can be particularly helpful if you are moving your Thanksgiving dinner outside since it works in multiples, and it doesn’t take too long to make.
In recent years, we’ve seen the growing popularity of harvest dinners set up on a series of long narrow tables with white tablecloths fluttering in the breeze, and this arrangement really lends itself to our current circumstances since the venue is outside and the chair placement keeps people separated.
The fruit topiary, which in its most traditional version is a cone shape decorated with apples and boxwood, can easily be adapted to work for Thanksgiving by substituting one or more citrus fruits for the apples for more of a fall color palatte, and any greenery that you have growing in your yard can be a substitute for the boxwood...
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