DIY Kentucky Derby Centerpieces with Derek

DIY Kentucky Derby Centerpieces with Derek

Since 1875 the Kentucky Derby has been known as “the most exciting two minutes in sports”. The race and equestrian festival draws nearly 170,000 spectators for the thrilling event that has grown to draw nationwide attention. Outside of Louisville, Kentucky, where the event takes place, people gather in homes, bars, event venues, and grassy lawns to enjoy the festivities put forth by the exhilaration of such an event. From costume parties to backyard barbecues, there are many ways to enjoy the Derby. Below you'll find step-by-step instructions for some easy DIY Kentucky Derby inspired floral arrangements that can be used to decorate your Derby party this year. 

Here's what you'll need:

1) Red Roses (about 2 dozen)

2) Greenery (usually roses come with Rhumora Fern or Israeli Ruscus). Here I used Mini Pitt.

3) Cable Ties (or Florist Tape) 

3) 3 Mint Julep Cups

4) Cutting Shears

5) Fancy Vintage Trophy (optional) 

Flowers have always been a big part of the Kentucky Derby, but also for horse shows and equestrian festivals in general. Probably the most well known flower to be used in decorating at the derby is the red rose. Because of their wide availability and variety, red roses are easy to find at most farmer’s markets, florists and grocery stores. In addition, the iconic mint julep cup makes for a great vessel for these small, festive arrangements. If a mint julep cup isn't something you already have around your home, they can be easily procured from a craft or party store. 

trophy and mint julep cups

The only thing you need inside these sweet, little vases is fresh water. If the roses come with a packet of flower nutrient, feel free to use it as it will prolong the life of the flowers and help keep the water clean.

To start, unwrap the flowers and lay them out on your workspace. It is easier to inspect them this way and to remove any thorns or leaves that may fall below the waterline of your containers. I like to prep all of my ingredients like I do when I'm cooking. This way I can see all of the stems of flowers and greenery at once.

materials for Kentucky Derby Centerpieces

Gather the roses and greens together into small clusters, probably about three stems of roses and a couple of snippets of greenery. Then, using a cable tie, cinch the little bundles together into hand-tied bouquets. Using the cutting tool, removed the slack from the cable tie that is not being used. Be sure to measure the flowers to the height of the vase before you cut off the excess stems. The greens and roses should rest just upon the top of each vase. Repeat this step for as many mint julep cups as you'd like for decoration.  

overhead picture of roses in cable ties

These arrangements can be placed all around the house, used together as a tablescape-style centerpiece, or even used as cocktail centerpieces if the event is taking place in a more formal party setting.

finished Kentucky Derby Centerpieces

In addition to the arrangements themselves, decorating with votive candles and red rose petals adds a nice finish to any party decor. Once these easy centerpieces are done, put on your fancy Derby hat and enjoy the party (and the compliments on your centerpieces!)



Owner, Floral Underground 

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