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Three Cornicopias for a Fall or Thanksgiving Arrangement

The cornucopia is a familiar symbol of Thanksgiving, so how about putting three cornucopias together for a large and smashing arrangement to grace the sideboard or serving table. The autumn coloration is the inspiration for the color scheme and the plants growing in my garden provide the foliage and flowers. If frost and cold weather have eliminated much of the vegetation in your area, pick what you can, and buy a bouquet at the super market to provide the rest. The key to success is plant material that provides a variety of textures and forms within a chosen color scheme. Create interest by varying some elements while keeping continuity by repeating others.

A walk in my garden provided the following materials. I picked enough of each so that I could fill each of the cornicopias with the same plant material.

Plant Material:

Conifers: (left to right) ‘Green giant’ arborvitae,  cryptomeria, and’Gold Thread’ arborvitae

Broadleaf Evergreen: (left to right) privet, cherry laural

Deciduous Trees with Fall Color: Japanese maple (yellow), nandina (red), kousa dogwood (purple)

Flowers and Berries: rose “Easy Does it”, honeysuckle, nandina berries

Grasses: Muhly grass (top), Miscanthus ‘Morning Light’ (bottom)

Curly willow stems (vines such as grape vine or honeysuckle could also be used; a ribbon, raffia, or any other decorative material could also be substituted

In addition to plant material you will need:

-Three cornucopias the same size
-Three jelly jars
-Stuffing material (I used plastic grocery bags)


1. Wire together the cornucopias together at edges as indicated by the white arrows.

2.  Wire the cornucopias together by their feet  as indicated by the white arrow.

3. Fill jars with water and place each in a cornucopia, packing plastic bags or other material around the jars so they fit snuggly in the cornucopia. Try to position the jars so that the plant material can cascade out of the lower lip of the cornucopia.

4. Place the foliage in the jars so that there is some of each kind in every jar.

5. Add roses, other flowers, berries and grasses evenly in the cornucopias.

6. Finally, encircle the middle of the cornucopia with curly willow, vine, or whatever ornamental material you have selected.

Remember as you collect your plant material and place it in your arrangement that the exact flowers and foliage are not as important as the variety of texture, form, and color that you choose.  Continuity is provided by the repetition of the plant material in all three cornucopias so that a harmonious and balanced arrangement results.

Floristry pointer

Recommended Reading:

Flowers: The Book of Floral Design
Tussie-Mussies: The Language of Flowers
The Complete Flower Arranging Book