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Publication Date: Wednesday, February 19, 2003

Ron Morgan says it with flowers Ron Morgan says it with flowers (February 19, 2003)

By Jane Knoerle
Almanac Lifestyles Editor

Cantaloupe, apples, bananas, and pomegranates were not ingredients for fruit salad, but part of stunning floral arrangements by noted designer Ron Morgan, who wowed the ladies at a lecture and luncheon last fall presented by the Atherton Dames at Holbrook-Palmer Park. Jeanne Fischer was chairman of the event; Nancy Greenback is president of the Dames.

Part stand-up comedian, part artist, Mr. Morgan kept up a steady line of amusing patter while he created six floral arrangements, which were later awarded as drawing prizes.

Mr. Morgan, who is based in the East Bay, has been a floral designer for 40 years and is the darling of garden clubs throughout the country. His philosophy is: "Flower arranging is supposed to be fun. Once it gets to be a hassle, give it up."

The designer confided he owns 3,000 containers and scouts for new ones at garage and estate sales and flea markets. He also owns more than 200 sets of dishes, adding that he and his dog dine off fine china every night.

His fans will soon be able to buy reproductions of his favorite containers, which will be manufactured in the Far East.

Mr. Morgan assured his audience: "Anyone can arrange flowers. If I can do it, you can too." His favorite flowers are white tulips. "I've told my friends, when I die I want my casket covered with white tulips. If they're not in season, hold me over."

When one of their children is getting married, Mr. Morgan's clients call first to see when he's available before they book the church or reception site. George Lucas, whose house he decorates for Christmas, is among his celebrity clients.

Mr. Morgan owns 10,000 Christmas ornaments and has decorated as many as 27 Christmas trees for his home for the holidays.

Some of his tips for the audience:

** White and yellow flowers reflect the light and show up well at night. Red and blue flowers absorb light.

** Do not mix colors. Use one color, in different hues, at a time.

** For a dinner centerpiece, choose flowers with little fragrance, so they don't interfere with the food.

** Search in your cupboards and closets for unique containers. But he warns, "Just because it has a hole in it, doesn't mean it's a vase."

** Always pick flowers for arrangements in the morning.

** Keep fruit, such as lemons or pomegranates, from rotting in an arrangement by piercing the stem area with a skewer dipped in oil of clove or oil of cinnamon.


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