Holiday Decorating with David Root

| December 3, 2016 | 0 Comments

The Mission Hills Garden Club had a potluck and a demonstration by David Root as our holiday event. Since we met the week before Thanksgiving, we had a variety of finished products. We learned concepts behind various arrangements, regardless of the occasion.

Before he began his demonstration, Root told us how he came to be dressed in a fringed gown. It seems that after a day of mishaps, he was finally on the road to Mission Hills when he heard a pop. His 501 button jeans’ top button had come off. Lacking a safety pin, he pulled his shirt out and down, but he felt that he was risking doing his demonstration without pants. Fortunately a woman friend was attending. She not only had safety pins, but she had the orange garment that he put on. Fortunately it was androgynous, and his autumnal colors fit in with Root’s theme.

The first arrangement happened to be a fall decoration, but it could be adapted to any other season. For fall, Root used an uncarved pumpkin. ears ago, he used a carved pumpkin as a container for a floral arrangement set in wet oasis. The decorated squash spent the night in an un-air conditioned room. The next day Root returned to find his creation nothing but pumpkin soup, which had run everywhere. The moral: Don’t use a carved pumpkin as a container for live flora unless you first place a liner inside the pumpkin. For this project, David had covered the pumpkin’s top (or the top of any other object you use for this arrangement) fasted with moss glued using a glue gun. He placed succulents in the moss, arranging them in a pleasing manner. He finished it off with a bit of dried wheat for a more autumnal look.

After finishing the pumpkin, Root showed us how to make a very linear arrangement. He used a découpaged terra cotta pot, which he had painted white, cut out flowers from a “party” paper napkin, and using découpage glue, he glued the flowers to the pot. He then lined the pot and put in a piece of wet floral foam (Oasis works best.) He had found a piece of what may have been a dried, long, heavy leaf, which he soaked in water to make it pliable. Next he twisted it and fastening each end so it couldn’t straighten and let it dry. He inserted the dried leaf into the foam, which became the focal point of the piece. He added sun flowers, inserted the way they would grow: largest blossoms at the base and increasingly small as they grew taller. If your flowers have curved stems, use them to your advantage. He filled in with greens as well as smaller yellow and purple flowers. He did warn us “Don’t let your ass show.” He meant do not show the underpinnings of any arrangement. Keep the mechanics covered or camouflaged.

Root has perfected the art of dumpster diving. He finds all sorts of useful trash. A discarded bamboo tomato cage became the foundation of one of the arrangements he showed us. He filled it with branches, laying the entire thing on its side. At one end he inserted a container with foam, which was hidden by the branches and their foliage. He used ornamental kale and a variety of red and green tinted foliage as well. The dried seed pods of the Norfolk pine made a beautiful addition to the whole.

Root believes in using discards. He took a broken wicker hamper and re-fashioned it. He secured foam at the sides of the top and made his arrangements there. An old floor mounted candle holder turned into a lovely Christmas candelabra when decorated with pine branches, red roses, and other blossoms. The hurricane lamps would be placed over the candles to protect the flowers from burning. (This arrangement is on Root’s left. . . our right side of the table.)

Adding to Root’s collection of discards, René van Rems, a world-famous floral designer, gave Root a plethora of flowers that still had enough life in them for him to use. Some he took to the VA Hospital for Flowers for Patriots. Others he brought to the Mission Hills Garden Club. These he sold for $5.00 a generous bunch. The money went to Flowers for Patriots.

I have known Root for over eight years. He grows more and more inventive and more and more amusing as time goes on. This was really a marvelous experience.

As usual, there will be no meeting in December. However, mark your calendar for January 25, 2017 when John Bagnasco, a local radio personality with Garden America and a rosarian will give a presentation showing rose gardens from around the world. He also will give you ideas about garden related vacations. The meeting will be at the church at 4070 Jackdaw between Fort Stockton and West Lewis. Meetings are from 6 to 8 p.m. Members are free; guests pay $10, which will be applied toward membership if you join that night.

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About the Author ()

Barbara Strona is a native Californian who grew up in the Mid-West and Los Angeles. She and her architect husband, Carl, came to San Diego in 1968 and have lived in Mission Hills since early 1971. Barbara received a Bachelor of Arts from Scripps College with a major in English, and a minor in Art. She attended UCLA graduate school and received a General Secondary Credential. She taught English in Los Angeles, Pennsylvania, and at Point Loma High School. She has been a Realtor specializing in residential sales since 1984. Her passions include her job, reading, writing, foreign languages and foreign countries, animals (feathered or furry), theatre, and her family: husband, two adult children and two grandsons.