Creating a Sense of Community in Northeast Tennessee & Southwest Virginia

Summer Entertaining with Fruit & Flora

Answer the call for summer entertaining with fruit and flowers as inspiration for a colorful one-of-a-kind table setting. The soft floral note and scent of fresh oranges draw your guests to the table as they feast their eyes on a bold and beautiful fruit and floral centerpiece. This easy breezy arrangement turns your table into a summer fiesta with pops of orange, magenta, hot pink and green color scheme.

The bold color scheme is repeated by the felt flower placemat under the centerpiece ad the striped square placemats at each place setting. To balance the powerful colors, solid white dinner plates calm the scene and are embellished with green and white polka dot plates and dipping bowls. Coordinating colors hot pink and orange grace each place setting with the texture of a Pineapple shaped napkin fold. It’s hard to go over board using these bright color’s where décor is concerned for the hot pink and orange support the bright citrus and flowers in the centerpiece. Whole or sliced orange wedges can be used as place card holders for guests while providing a lovely citrus aroma at the table.

Consider Mexican cuisine for this dining event to ensure your menu matches the bright flavors of the setting. As guests arrive serve quesadillas, chips and guacamole with lemonade or margaritas to keep them happy while you set up a burrito and salad bar for easy self-serve buffet. For dessert consider a churro bar with ice cream and sauces.

Entertaining should be fun and festive. Preparing the food in advance and decking out the table with easy to create settings will ensure the host of the dinner party will enjoy her company.

The centerpiece is the main attraction to this table. The centerpiece will take 15 minutes to put together. A quick trip to the grocery store to pick up a bag or two of oranges, one bunch of kale, bright flower stems, and a few floral tubes is all that you need for this easy-to-create centerpiece. Selecting flower stems with open flat-blooms will create a full arrangement. Flowers to consider would be mums and Gerber daisies. A second or third flower can be part of the arrangement but keep the colors monochromatic or in the same color family for best results. Fruit such as citrus, apples, pineapples, and pomegranates are all great fruits to mix with flowers for long lasting arrangements. Select a vase/bowl large enough to hold the oranges but low enough your guest can see around when seated. Keep in mind when selecting your container, the oranges will create a mound on top of the vase and flowers will be inserted between the oranges creating added height. You can put this arrangement together with these 5 easy steps.

Step 1

Line the vase/bowl with a few crunched up pieces of paper towel. The paper towel keeps the fruit in place and protects the inner bowl as well as oranges.

Step 2

Cover paper towel with fresh kale covering entire surface.

Step 3

Place whole oranges one at a time to fill the container. Turn oranges with uneven color or blemishes to the inside of the arrangement so only the bright healthy peel side is seen.

Step 4

Fill tubes with water and insert cut flowers. Flower heads should touch tube.

Step: 5

nsert tubed flowers in-between the oranges. Adjust oranges if necessary to make arrangement look full with out exposing the floral tubes. Add additional greenery and flowers to fill open spaces if desired. To add scent, cut oranges into wedges and place throughout the arrangement.

Be inspired to decorate your table and home with fruit and flowers. Nature’s bounty always makes a beautiful display. So, put on some mariachi music and create your own fiesta with fresh fruit and flora. To see how-to-make the Pineapple Napkin Fold and Flower Placemat featured under the centerpiece go to This setting “how to” and more will be featured on the noon show at WCYB 5 the second Thursday of each month.

Helping you Make a Statement, Make is Sassy and Make it Yours!®

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Liz Bushong is an expert in the three-dimensional art of entertaining. She transforms simple dining occasions into beautiful and memorable moments by adding a touch of her own “sassy” style. For the past several years Liz been entrusted to decorate the White House for several Holidays. She is a featured monthly guest chef/designer on Daytime Tri-cities, Daytime Blue Ridge and other television shows. Liz is the author of the Just Desserts and Sweets & Savories cookbook as well as a contributing writer for VIPSEEN and Bella Magazine. For more information about Liz go to or