By Emma Ea Ambrose 

During the holidays expenses tend to mount and bank accounts dwindle. While the internet abounds with thrifty tips for holiday decorating, Tyler Cotterman, a 2010 graduate of the College of Agriculture and owner of Wright Flower Shop in West Lafayette, said one way to spruce (get it?) up your home and save money over the holidays is by designing your own centerpieces.

Centerpieces are crafted from a collection of greenery, like white pine and sprouted eucalyptus, and blooms, like carnations and wax flowers.

Using an oasis utility dish, which can be purchased at craft stores, Cotterman recommended disguising the dish with a collection of fragrant greens. He added that differently textured foliage should be used to give the piece a dynamic look.

Many winter greens can be found in backyards and neighborhoods, eliminating the need to purchase from a florist.  “White pine, for example, can be found in many neighborhoods,” Cotterman said. “When it comes to blooms for the centerpiece you might need to visit a flower shop, but greenery can be found everywhere.”

After disguising the dish and base with greenery, Cotterman suggested choosing several different blooms to intersperse throughout the arrangement. A variation of colors, textures and sizes will enhance the arrangement and produce an inviting fragrance. When it comes to adding the blooms, don’t go overboard, Cotterman advised, and stick to an odd number of flowers.

Perhaps most importantly, sink the stems of blooms and greenery into the base by at least half an inch. If a bloom needs to be moved, the stem must be re-trimmed and inserted into a different location.

“This is so we don’t clog the stems. We want the stems to be able to soak up as much water as possible,” Cotterman said.

While decorating is an important part of the holidays for many families, decorations should never come at the expense of guests, he continued. Floral arrangements can be aromatic, so be sensitive to visitors that might have allergies.

Finally, for the adventurous holiday decorator, Cotterman said arrangements can be topped off with a bit of spray glitter, which can be purchased at most florists and craft stores. The glitter isn’t for everyone, he advised, but it can lend the centerpiece that extra holiday sparkle.