Welcome to the 19th Tablescape Tuesday!
When I posted a Christmas tablescape a few weeks ago, I received several questions about how I made the fruit tree centerpiece. Even though Christmas is over, I thought it might be helpful to see how it’s made, just in case you would like to make one next year. Honestly, I think this would be beautiful for any occasion, not just Christmas. So for this Tablescape Tuesday, I’m sharing the “secret” to this all natural centerpiece, including the pineapple candle holders on both sides.
You’ll need a pineapple for the top of the tree. I bought 3 since I also like having the pineapple candle holders on either side. And, of course, you’ll need some small, Red Delicious apples. I always use Red Delicious because I love their deep, red color for this centerpiece.
One of the most important components is a form a friend of mine gave me as a Christmas gift 15 years ago. She knew I had long wanted to make an apple tree like the ones you so often see when visiting Colonial Williamsburg. The form I have is a wooden, cone shaped structure that’s painted green, with finishing nails protruding all around. There is one really long nail and three shorter nails on top. I found some similar cones online for sale at the Williamsburg Marketplace…click HERE to access that site.
I didn’t think to take pics when I first assembled the tree on December 12th…I was too busy panicking about the 25+ neighbors who would be arriving for a cookie party at my home two days later! So I took some pics this past Sunday, as I took the tree apart. The fruit is a bit past it’s prime in the pic below, since it’s a couple of weeks old…so please try to ignore that. The apple tree normally looks great for about a week and a half…then things begin to get a bit wilted.
When first assembling the tree, I start by placing the apples on the tree. I push the apples onto the nails, turning the tree around and around, as I work. I always start at the bottom and work my way up to the top. If you use apples that are too large, you will run out of room. It just doesn’t work well and you end up with the apples not fitting correctly and sticking up way past the top of the tree. Once the apples are in place, I push a small pineapple down onto the nails at the top. In the pic below, you can see what the tree looks like with just the apples in place and no greenery.
Next, I cut short pieces of holly and tuck them down in between all the apples to hide the form underneath. I use holly because that’s what I have available in my yard; boxwood would work great, also. The holly stays looking great for a long time. It actually still looked good before I removed it for this pic.
Once I have the tree in the center of the table, I tuck magnolia leaves under the base. I place the magnolia leaves so they are pointed outward, kind of like spokes in a wheel. This year I tied a sheer ribbon/bow around the top of the pineapple. I really like the way it looked so I think I’ll use that idea again next year.
I found a great article online that gives some history of Williamsburg fruit trees/cones. It also shows some great pics of trees using other types of fruit like pears, lemons, kumquats and pomandered oranges. The article, which you may access by clicking HERE, is taken from Susan Hight Rountree’s book, Christmas Decorations from Williamsburg.
A few tips: You want to purchase a pineapple that is relatively small, for the top of the tree. Otherwise, it will overwhelm the tree itself.
You may have to shop around to find pineapples that are “pretty” without crushed foliage. When I was shopping at Publix, they only had around 3-4 pineapples out…and they all looked waaay too big and squished. I asked the produce manager if he had any others and he brought out a whole box full. They looked much better and the tops were in better shape.
The pineapple candle holders (see pic below) on either side of the apple tree, are done with a “kit” I purchased about 17 years ago on a Christmas home tour. The home tour was sponsored by Traditional Home magazine and since I was a subscriber, they sent me two free tickets. After touring this beautiful, historic mansion in Atlanta, we shopped in the gift shop “tent” they had set up behind the house.
Tammy at White Iris Designs found a candle holder base and spike online that will work with fruit…it’s at Gardens etc. Thanks Tammy for sharing this! Just click HERE for the link.
I love this centerpiece and make it every year for my annual Christmas party. The apple tree would actually work well anywhere in the home. I could see it on a large coffee table in a family room….or perhaps as a focal point on the counter in a kitchen.