Julie McDonald’s Comment: Florist Shows How To Make Affordable Christmas Centerpieces


By Julie McDonald / For The Chronicle

Go to the courtyard. Greenery clip. Stick it in a vase. Add flowers.

It sounds simple enough, but at the Christian Women’s Fellowship meeting in Centralia last week, longtime florist Dan Duffy demonstrated how to use simple details to create a gorgeous Christmas centerpiece using the greenery in your garden. .

Of course, unlike me, he knows what he’s doing. He owned Duffy’s Florals and Antiques in Centralia for 40 years.

Duffy created a base that sits on the kitchen table year round and adds flowers as they bloom. “We had a geranium flower, so we stuck it on,” he said.

For a simple arrangement, he goes into his yard and clips dusty sucker and other greenery

“We stick one in a container,” said Duffy, 82. “It works very well like what you call a frog, which holds the flowers in place in an arrangement.”

He recommended buying oasis, a brick of green moss sometimes called wet moss. The dry oasis, which is harsh compared to the wet oasis, is used for artificial flowers. The humid oasis retains water, which allows the flowers to last longer. It can be purchased from Safeway, Walmart, Michael’s, and other stores.

“It’s the best thing to use in a vase because the stems will go straight in,” Duffy said. “This oasis gives you the material to arrange them.”

He buys flowers from Safeway. Duffy pointed out that the flowers are often clustered on top, but they will last longer if you gently run your hand over the flower to spread the flowers.

Trim the leaves from the lower stems before gluing them into the moss or they will rot.

“Whenever you make a flower arrangement with an oasis, don’t put the flowers so that they are very tall, as this will hold water,” Duffy said. “So make sure the stem goes down below the flowers. “

He suggested starting at the bottom.

“The way we usually make arrangements is to kind of start at the bottom and just build your base,” Duffy said. “Don’t always start at the top. “

The selection of different varieties of greenery in the yard makes the arrangement more interesting, he said.

“You don’t need to have holly,” he said. “It can be very creative to use whatever you have. You can stick a pine cone in it if you have it.

Thread can be used to hold flowers in place in an arrangement. Noting that roses often grow drooping, Duffy suggested adding water to the tub and floating the flowers, so that they absorb water throughout and rejuvenate.

It uses a metal-edged ribbon purchased in a 50-yard continuous roll from Costco to create beautiful bows to adorn bouquets, arrangements, Christmas trees, wreaths and gifts. too much.

Duffy started his floral career as a delivery guy, when one of his friends needed a vacation and asked him to replace him temporarily, but he didn’t want to get the job back, so Duffy stayed. When he left for college at Bellingham, he visited a local florist and applied for a job, noting that he had experience designing and delivering flowers. They hired him.

After buying florist Centralia, he held annual Christmas open houses, attracting up to 500 people. When a woman entered the store and walked around, he was drawn to her personality and her laughter, but no one could name her. Later, one of his employees told him that a woman in Galvin needed a blind date for a special event and asked if he would be interested. He knocked on his walk-in door and saw the woman in his store – Nancy. He had known her a month before his marriage proposal and they have been married for 55 years.

During the reunion, Duffy shared photos of flower arrangements he had created at their successful flower shop. Each page featured a photo of a little boy, his great-grandson.

He and Nancy have three sons, four granddaughters and a great-grandchild.

“How could I not show you her photo of a year old?” Duffy said. “He’s almost two years old now.

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Julie McDonald, personal historian of Toledo, can be reached at [email protected]


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