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Thanksgiving Centerpieces: Kathleen Hyppolite Has 3 Floral Ideas (PHOTOS)

11/13/2011 08:44 am ET | Updated Jan 11, 2012

It's the most important meal of the year. But your turkey and legendary sweet potato casserole certainly aren't going to be outdone by any Thanksgiving centerpiece, and there's no harm in giving guests something pretty to look at while they await the main event. We know you've already got lots on your plate, so we called in a pro for some quick tips: florist Kathleen Hyppolite, whose floral design company, Kat Flower, and booth at Brooklyn's year-round flea market warrant more than just a once-a-year visit.

The best part about the arrangements Hyppolite has created here is that you can pick up most of the materials right at your gourmet grocer. Plus, they'll last longer than that leftover turkey will. Here's how Hyppolite recommends keeping your flowers fresh.

Look for healthy blooms. Most arrangements will last between 3 and 7 days, Hyppolite says. But longevity depends on what type of flower you're working with and how long before purchase they were cut. "Farmers' market flowers are a lot fresher because chances are, there's a grower that's coming to the market. So they should be freshly cut," she says.

If you're picking up a bouquet somewhere else, make sure that the flower looks sturdy and securely attached to the stem, but the condition of the foliage is key. "The leaves will tell the story. Make sure that they look really bright green," Hyppolite says. She also recommends shaking the bunch a bit. If they start to fall apart, that isn't the one you want.

Start with clean water and a clean vessel. What you clean it with isn't as important, Hyppolite says, as adding flower food to the water (just follow the package instructions) and making sure that there isn't any foliage below the water line once your flowers are in.

"Foliage, leaves, etc., introduce bacteria into the water, which compromises the life of your cut flower," Hyppolite says. "So you want to keep it as clear and as clean as possible."

Give your flowers lots to drink. Before you arrange your bunch, trim the ends of the stems using a sharp pair of scissors or a floral knife. "And you want to always cut at an angle," Hyppolite says. "That allows the stem to drink: it increases the surface area."

Keep an eye on the water and change it every other day or so, when it begins to look cloudy. You'll want to give the ends a fresh cut at that time, too.

For the best look, Hyppolite suggests arranging them in odd numbers. "Think one, three, five, seven" at a time, she says. "You can do 6, since that's like two odds together."

Here's how she brought fall's bounty to life.

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