Every spring, my boyfriend’s mom Susan asks me to do a floral centerpiece for Easter Dinner. Last year, we used mostly household items and annuals from the Garden Center to create a cheerful, but inexpensive tablescape. Several weeks before Easter, Susan grew a batch of grass from seed in her windowsill and wanted to use the grass in the decorating scheme. So we decided upon little planted egglings for place holders.
We saved the egg shells from a breakfast casserole, and I dyed them with blue and yellow food coloring left over from Valentines Day (I’d already used the red for Red Velvet Cupcakes). The vibrant blue green color looked nice with the yellow pansies and bright green grass, and the several layers of colors on the shell created a marbled effect. The actual centerpiece is a simple white casserole dish filled with yellow pansies. Foil wrapped candies in the shape of violas complete the whimsical look.
To make your own eggling place holders, here is what you need:
Empty egg shells
Food coloring or Easter Egg dye
Glue or clear tape
2-3 WEEKS BEFORE EASTER:
Grow the grass in flats or pots, according to seed packet instructions. Make sure the seedlings get plenty of air and light (so they don’t get moldy). The grass seed packets sold in pet stores (for the grazing pleasure of cats) is inexpensive and grows quite quickly. You may need to soak the seeds overnight in water before planting. Plan to grow more grass than you will need, in case some of it does not transfer well.
Save your eggshells! When you’re breaking eggs for cooking, be careful. Only break it at one end, so that most of the shell is intact for planting. I used a knife to cut the egg open at one end. Wash and dry the shells completely and then dye according to packet instructions. You may need to do several coats. Let eggshells dry overnight or longer before planting.
1-2 DAYS BEFORE EASTER:
I planted my egglings on Easter morning, to be sure the grass wouldn’t wilt. However, the grass ended up lasting for quite a while after the event and so I could have made them several days ahead. When you’re ready to transplant the egglings, place a small piece of cotton in the bottom of each shell. Transfer grass shoots with roots intact and small amounts of soil into the egg. Pack in as many blades as you can so the grass doesn’t flop over.
You can add a little water. Just be careful when watering, because the dye on the eggs may run. Don’t water the eggs on the special Easter tablecloth or it might become slightly less special.
Set each egg on a bottle cap to keep it upright and use toothpicks, glue, and cut up index cards to create little signs with the guests names.
You can also try putting other plants in the egglings. I would have liked to use the pansies in the eggs, but the root masses were too big. So keep that in mind when choosing your plants. You could also try starting them from seed, right inside the eggs. This might require more eggs, and more time, since some of the seedlings may not survive.
For the floral centerpiece, all you need is a 12 pack of annuals and a rectangular casserole dish. I chose pansies because they last a long time, and can grace your outdoor planters for months after Easter. Plus there are so many colors to choose from. I transferred the flowers and soil from the flats and packed them in as closely as possible for a full and lush centerpiece.
What should I do this year? Ideas?