Southern Accent

A Winter Floral Arrangement

When life gives you lemons…turn them into a fruitful bouquet

Photo: Margaret Houston

For the Charleston, South Carolina, floral designer Sara York Grimshaw, citrus is a comforting sight. “There is nothing like looking out into the landscape and seeing bold yellow fruit hanging heavy in the middle of winter,” she says. So she has a hard time harvesting the slightly sweet Meyer lemons in her own garden to eat—“but I have no problem taking choice cuttings for arrangements.”

Photo: Margaret Houston

The Mix

Meyer lemons (homegrown or store-bought); tree peonies (or camellias); yellow ranunculus; privet berry (or any backyard berry); date palm fruit; clematis pods (or any wild seed pods).

To best incorporate lemons, Grimshaw keeps things tonal. “I love layering the same color into the arrangement to elevate the star.” Here, ranunculus and tree peonies provide billowy texture, while privet berry branches add structure. A footed vessel brings height to the look, though Grimshaw doesn’t fuss over rules. Even a cake stand piled with fruit from the grocery store can put a lovely spin on the concept. “Taking risks with unexpected ingredients,” Grimshaw says, “is when the magic happens.”