Crowning the Table with Roses

Close crop of a small horse figurine with a sash of roses on a field of fake grass

The Kentucky Derby is also known as the “Run for the Roses” because of the garland of 554 red roses draped over the winning horse. (Fun fact: Kroger has made this garland for the Derby since 1987!)

This garland is adorned with a “crown” of roses, green fern and a ribbon. The crown bears a single rose pointing upward in the center of the garland, symbolizing the struggle and heart needed to reach that sought-after winner’s circle. Bring this rich Derby Day history to your table with a rose-themed centerpiece.

Things You'll Need:

  • Scissors
  • Green tissue paper
  • Cake plate
  • About 18 roses
  • Hot glue
  • Moss
  • Floral foam (round) or Styrofoam
  • Red ribbon
  • Toy horse (choose a size that will fit nicely in the center of your cake plate)


  1. Use a floral foam round or Styrofoam form that is slightly smaller than your cake plate.
  2. Affix to cake plate with hot glue or tacky wax.
  3. Cover foam with moss (spraying moss with water makes it easier to work with).
  4. Cut roses, leaving 2-4” of stem that can be poked into the foam, arranging around perimeter of cake plate. Reserve a few leaf stems for decorating.
  5. Lay the ribbon over the toy horse’s back to resemble that winner’s garland. Stand the horse in the center of cake plate, attaching with glue if needed.
A small horse figurine with a sash of roses on a field of fake grass sits atop a cake plate adorned with roses