Floral Designer Leslie Rios knows how to build a beautiful centerpiece for a dinner party. She is best known for her work at the exclusive pop-up Legend Series dinners across the First Coast.

Rios, who works out of her home studio in Riverside, loves the challenge of expressing her creativity. We asked her to come up with a DIY autumn centerpiece that celebrates the Thanksgiving holiday by working a little fall harvest into the design. “I also wanted to do a color scheme that wasn’t traditional,” she says. “I wanted to go with white and green and butternut squash and use produce that resembles flowers.” The veggies and fall flowers she selected can be found in most grocery stores, so her creation is something that anyone can easily make. Follow along to whip up your bouquet that is sure to enhance any feast in celebration of fall.

Feel free “to play around with the design, to put your own spin on it,” Rios says.

  • Items and Supplies
  • 1 Medium size white pumpkin
  • 3 White asparagus stalks
  • 6 Green asparagus stalks
  • 3 Artichokes: 2 small and 1 large
  • Bunch of kale
  • 1 Yellow tomato
  • 1 Butternut squash
  • A wide shallow bowl or serving platter
  • Fall bouquet with assorted fall flowers
  • Floral foam (can be purchased at craft stores)
  • Garden shears or sharp scissors



1. Place white pumpkin on upper left side of bowl as it faces you.


2. Set the kale leaves around the pumpkin, and then work the leaves around the sides and bottom of the bowl.


3. Place butternut squash to the right of the pumpkin. Soak a piece of floral foam in water and then place it in front of the squash.

4. Tuck the three white asparagus stalks in front of the squash, laying them down with the top tips coming off the lip of the bowl and the ends tucked under the squash. Fan three green asparagus stalks left of the pumpkin, toward the back of the bowl. Lay out the other three green stalks, so they fan to the right of the pumpkin


5. Place the large artichoke and one of the small artichokes on the front left side of the bowl in front of the pumpkin. Put the other small artichoke in the rear of the bowl, between the squash and the green asparagus stalks. Then tuck moistened floral foam under the artichokes, so that the foam is hidden.

6. Place the yellow tomato in the center, in front of the top of the white asparagus stalks.


7. Take the flowers and green foliage out of the floral bouquet and trim the stems to 3 to 4 inches in length. Vary the lengths so that some are longer than others. Place them into the pieces of foam, standing them up at an angle, dispersing them throughout the arrangement.

For more inspiration, check out her Facebook page: Leslie Rios Designs.