23 Oct2014


This was a bit of a “wacky” autumn holiday dinner for close friends. It was after Canadian Thanksgiving and well before the American’s celebrate their holiday. We are neither American nor Canadian, but have almost always had a turkey sometime in October/November for the last 20+ years. At any rate, we decided to have a “festive” meal recently and I consider it the first of our holiday get-togethers, albeit much earlier than usual.


I left for the wholesale flower market at 6am on a Friday and got there by 625am, traffic wasn’t bad at all. I walked up and down the entire length of the market to see what was on offer, and quickly realized there were almost no roses at all, recent storms perhaps having wreaked havoc on supplies from the North. But there were lots of other flowers on offer, and they were a curious, colorful smattering of flowers that you might get in Spring, Summer and Fall in more temperate climates, in other words, a real miss-mash.


A good friend was also hosting a dinner party of her own that evening, and she was crazed, and asked that I pick up some flowers for three arrangements for her dinner as well. So I was buying for two, and if you have been reading the blog for a while, I tend to overdo the blooms, and go lightly on the leaves, for the most part. I started off trying to keep an orange and purple range of colors, but that kind of got waylaid by purchases of orange, yellow and other blooms.


It all seemed a bit chaotic, and in retrospect, I should have avoided those carnations and maybe the bright yellow snapdragons as well…


…the problem with mixing this many types of flowers, some with soft stems, others with woody stems, some that will wilt faster than others is that you might end up with arrangements that are total disasters.


One way would have been to put just one type of bloom in each vase, but of course that seemed to simple. I just took a deep breath, took out my clippers, put water in some vases and mixed in some flower food and hoped for the best.


When we got back home, I put all of the flowers in copious amounts of fresh water for at least 3-4 hours before I started to work with them. This gives them time to settle and drink up and that should help make them last longer, not to mention look better.


The first of five arrangements on the long dining table, this one at the end, and the smallest or lowest in height.


A second arrangement, slightly taller than the first.


And the arrangement at the center of the table, with the tallest height, but still low enough for nearly all guests to easily converse across it.


A lush but only medium height arrangement on a side table in the living/dining area. I also made 3 arrangements for the friend with a dinner party, but forgot to take a photo of those!


Ornamental gourds were scattered around the flowers. And a few votive candle holders added as well to light the arrangements from below with a gentle yellow light.


That’s what the dining table looked like…


…and all in all, the flowers seemed to mirror the colors of the abstract painting in the living room. I didn’t plan it that way, it just seemed to happen. Considering that we told guests it was a “casual come as you are” dinner, the arrangements turned out a bit fancier than intended. But then again, getting everything just right on the first holiday dinner of the season would probably be too much to ask for.

P.S. If you are wondering why a didn’t name all of the flowers in the photos, it’s because I don’t actually know what half of them are called. :)



  1. Charly says:

    What a colorful flower arrangement. Mr. MM if you are in the LA area check out the Los Angeles flower market. I walked out with the following this morning for $96.
    – 2 bouquets of arranged lilies (10 lilies each)
    – 4 bouquets of lilies (8 lilies each)
    – 2 bouquets of arranged sunflowers (8 sunflowers each)
    – 2 bouquets of arranged roses (18 roses each)

    Oct 23, 2014 | 10:02 pm


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  3. Nina says:

    Gorgeous, truly a feast to the eyes!

    Oct 23, 2014 | 11:59 pm

  4. Greens & Blossoms says:

    I will try to name a few…2nd pic:violet – hydrangea or milflores, orange- alstroemeria; 3rd pic: yellow – golden rod, violet and deep purple – ornamental cabbage; 4th pic: snapdragon and mini carnation ; 5th pic : orange – gerbera , violet – mokara orchid; 6th pic : burgundy – looks like broom plant or some wheat plant

    Oct 24, 2014 | 12:29 am

  5. Debbie says:

    Gorgeous flower arrangements!

    Oct 24, 2014 | 9:05 am

  6. passive.observer says:

    Nice arrangements as always! I really love your painting MM!

    Oct 24, 2014 | 10:41 am

  7. ami says:

    MM, you’ve opened my eyes to the beauty of snapdragons. You did a snapdragon and hydrangea combination last year that I really really love.

    Oct 24, 2014 | 10:49 am

  8. Khew says:

    The arrangements worked precisely because there were no leaves. Leaves provide a foil or background and direction. Since there were none, the different varieties of flowers came together and melded instead of sticking out. What we have here are basically just texture, colour and uniformity provided by height constraints.

    Oct 24, 2014 | 10:56 am

  9. Flora Dior says:

    MM, nice flower arrangement. Sometimes it looks better when we don’t really plan it to look a certain way. Good job, btw!

    Oct 24, 2014 | 12:54 pm

  10. Thel from Florida says:

    So colorful–Beautiful — Love, love, love!

    Oct 24, 2014 | 3:30 pm

  11. Patricia says:

    Great flower arrangements! Love the festive colors. :)

    Oct 24, 2014 | 6:16 pm

  12. Ros-Anna says:

    Beautiful colours; lovely table arrangement; what a feast for the eyes!

    Oct 25, 2014 | 5:07 am

  13. linda says:

    ABSOLUTELY STUNNING is all I can say !

    Oct 25, 2014 | 7:09 am

  14. LizCuy says:

    I totally love them! Makes me want to hop on the bus (or train) and go to the Flower Market.

    Oct 25, 2014 | 10:31 am

  15. myra_p says:

    The long, spiny-looking, dark burgundy thingies are the flowers of Ti plants. Fyi :)

    Oct 25, 2014 | 11:01 am

  16. Marketman says:

    myra, thanks for that, they actually came with the leaves, and they told me ginger something or other, but I wasn’t paying close attention to the vendor… greens&blossoms, thanks for that, I am increasingly drawn to flowers I don’t know the names of or haven’t used regularly… so I will have this naming problem continue for sure.

    Oct 25, 2014 | 11:39 am

  17. calorie-shmalorie says:

    The white and pink-tipped spiky flowers are Celosia.. Celosia argentea spicata, a variant of cockscomb. The yellow bud-looking thingies I would like to know the name.

    Oct 26, 2014 | 2:21 pm

  18. Betchay says:

    Absolutely beautiful!

    Oct 26, 2014 | 7:59 pm

  19. Natie says:

    Another filler flowers there is the Alstromera, MM..I miss reading your blog. Was on vacation…

    Oct 27, 2014 | 4:03 am

  20. Bubut says:

    what a beautiful flowers for a lovely dining experience. thanks for sharing

    Oct 28, 2014 | 11:35 am

  21. Greens & Blossoms says:

    Just remembered what that yellow -bud is called – Acapulco…it’s a medicinal plant and grown in Nueva Ecija…

    Oct 29, 2014 | 7:01 pm

  22. calorie-shmalorie says:

    @ Greens and Blossoms. thank you, I would never have guessed. Akapulko- leaves for treating skin diseases and irritations.

    Oct 31, 2014 | 12:29 am

  23. suzetts says:

    hi mm, how do you serve your food? in a buffet table or sit down/ somebody serves them? thanks

    Nov 3, 2014 | 2:07 pm

  24. Marketman says:

    suzetts, for the snazzier holiday dinners, the meal is often sit down and waiter served. For a table with 12-14 guests, two waiters are required, preferably 3, if you have lots of dishes, so guests don’t keep waiting. We used to do this more often, but now maybe just 3-4 times a year.

    But more often than not lately, we do a combination service, meaning the appetizer and soup is served, then guests get up to get what they want at a buffet table, and the salad, cheese and or dessert is served. If we have lots of dessert, then it’s a buffet.

    For casual meals, which are the vast majority of dinners we host at home, it’s served buffet style and eat as much or as little as you desire. There are several holiday meal posts from the past 10 years in the archives that hint at the style of service used at that meal.

    See this previous post, here or another, here.

    Nov 3, 2014 | 2:48 pm

  25. Angie says:

    Hi i just noticed that the spoons & forks were all placed face down? In restaurants its face up? Just wondering ….

    Nov 5, 2014 | 8:36 pm

  26. Marketman says:

    Angie, the silver in that serivce is of european origin, with the “design” or embellishment on the silver on the “back” of the forks, spoons, etc. The service is set as such so you see the silver as it is intended, and because folks using them will probably hold the fork “upside down” and eat their meal that way. There are different kinds of settings or service, European, American and even Russian I think. Little details that I keep learning as I go along…

    Nov 9, 2014 | 10:16 am


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