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Ask Ella: Yes, You CAN Use Pinecones In Bouquets

Ask Ella is a recurring Garden Collage feature where we ask our in-house florist, Ella Stavonsky, about floral design– including the history of, origin, and maintenance that goes into some of the most intriguing flowers on the market today. This column is dedicated exclusively to common and rare varieties of flowers you’re likely to find at your local market. This week, we spotlight pinecones, the queen of the winter season.


With Winter in full effect, you have to start to wonder where some of those flowers are coming from. (Yes, we’re looking at you, peonies.) With the new year and a new sense of purpose, now is the perfect time to try and embrace your more sustainable aspirations in small ways, like making bouquets to bring cheer around the house– plus, it’s a fun, creative challenge to try and rely on more seasonal elements.

Front and center this time of year are pinecones, of all different shapes, sizes, and colors. Some are a deep dark brown, with carefully separated teeth, others are a pale green (not unlike Pantone’s 2017 color of the year…) and tightly closed. While pinecones might seem a little inelegant as an element for floral arrangements, they’re a surprisingly fresh touch.


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Branches of pinecones tend to have woodier stems, so like hydrangeas, it’s advisable to split, hammer, or scratch the stems, and place them in hot water. Each day, you should plan to recut them stems, and do this again. Also note that if your pinecones aren’t open, warmth will cause them to open and release their seeds. These can easily be swept up, but just be aware if you’re placing them on an especially delicate surface.

In keeping with the season, pinecones pair naturally with other greens like eucalyptus; there’s quite a lot of variety with eucalyptus: you can opt for silver dollar leaves or spiraled, you strip the leaves and stick with just the seeds, you can look for large pods. Other filler can include sprigs of rosemary and other branches of fir or sprays of pine needles. For those looking for more centering, grounding elements for arrangements (rather than greens), small white roses are a safe bet and add a snowy touch, or else silver pods add a more subtle, textural effect.

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