A finished contemporary design of birch branches, water tube and flowers

Very Peri Specimen Centerpiece

What better way to highlight the Pantone Color of the Year 2022 — Very Peri — than with a minimalist design showcasing specimen blooms in tints, tones, shades, and related hues. In this step-by-step tutorial, FDI Instructor Michelle Headrick AIFD PFCI builds a simple structure that brings the flowers into focus, using tree branches and water tubes. Its size is easily scale-able — you can make a smaller version for a desk or a night stand, or fashion a larger centerpiece to run down the middle of a banquet table. Either way, grab your tools and have fun creating this exciting, unique, and stylish design project!

materials and tools for the project, including flowers, branched, water tubes and an electric drill

STEP ONE: Gather your materials and tools including a drill, screws, spade bit, clear water tubes, several branches, and an assortment of single blossoms and blooming stems. 

The full recipe appears at the bottom of the page.

using the electric drill to screw branches together

STEP TWO: Begin by laying out your selected branches in a pleasing pattern, layering and angling them for depth and stability. Then secure them together using the drill and the 4 inch deck screws. Teacher Michelle chose white bark birch branches (though any species would work), selecting one larger, longer branch and three smaller, shorter branches extending to either side. Adjust your branch sizes and numbers as desired.

Drilling holes in branches for the insertion of water tubes

STEP THREE: Once the branches are secured together, then drill holes in the branches using a spade bit, going 1/2 inch to 3/4 inch deep. To create holes for 4 inch water tubes, a 5/8 inch bit works well.

Be sure to keep the bit vertical as you drill so the holes are straight up and down. Tip: To give the structure a more relaxed feel, space the holes randomly.

Filling water tubs with water

STEP FOUR: Next, insert the clear water tubes into each of the holes, and fill them with fresh water treated with flower food. 

Tip: The water tubes should fit snugly in the holes, depending on the brand you use. If the tubes are too tight, use the spade bit to enlarge the holes slightly. If the tubes are too loose, use a small dab of hot glue or OASIS Floral Adhesive to secure them in place.

Adding base foliages to water tubes

STEP FIVE: After the water tubes are filled, add your selected flowers, placing a single variety in each tube. Adjust the height and order as needed to create scale and visual balance. Teacher Michelle begins by inserting a couple varieties of eucalyptus as the silver-gray of this foliage nicely complements the gray undertones in the flowers. 

Tip: Coat each flower stem with an anti-transpirant like Crowning Glory before placing them into the water tubes to enhance vase life.

finished design

STEP SIX: Thank you to FDI Instructor Michelle Headrick AIFD PFCI for sharing the steps to create this lovely and unique Very Peri botanical specimen design. If you would like to learn more, join us in the Classroom or Online and study the theories and techniques of design with the Floral Design Institute Teachers.

Full Recipe 

Four branches of white bark birch (Teacher Michelle used one 36 inch and three 12 inch branches) 

Drill Several 

4 inch deck screws and appropriate drill bit 

A 5/8 inch spade bit 15 or so 

4 inch clear water tubes 

Assorted single stems of flowers and foliage used: 

One stem eucalyptus - “True Blue” 

Two stems eucalyptus - “Baby Blue” 

One stem limonium 

One stem calla 

Two stems sweet peas 

One stem tulip 

One stem hyacinth 

One stem iris 

One stem agapanthus 

Two stems veronica 

Three stems miniature Phalaenopsis orchids 

One stem rose - “Cool Water” 

Hot glue (optional) 

OASIS Floral Adhesive (optional)

  • Fresh Flower Food Individual Pack 10 ounce tub
    Fresh Flower Food Individual Pack 10 ounce tub
  • Crowning Glory Individual Pack 32 ounce spray bottle
    Crowning Glory Individual Pack 32 ounce spray bottle
  • Quick Dip Individual Pack One Pint
    Quick Dip Individual Pack One Pint
  • Oasis Floral Adhesive Individual Pack 3.9 Gram Tube
    Oasis Floral Adhesive Individual Pack 3.9 Gram Tube