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You'll want to make this horticultural 'pouf' your next centrepiece

You've planned a brilliant menu, over-researched the wines, ironed the tablecloth and resourcefully stuffed all evidence of your humanity into the hallway closet. Surely you can't be expected to garden up a fussy centrepiece, too.

Far easier: a simply propped air plant, the latest word in ultramodern, maintenance-free greenery. Also known as Tillandsia, these dazzling horticultural poufs absorb nutrients and moisture through their leaves, not their roots, so they don't require soil – or anything more than a weekly dunk in water to thrive. If you're entertaining outdoors, place them in glass orbs, like the one shown above, suspended from the ribs of your patio umbrella.

Alternatively, display one (or more) on the table, tucked inside a vase or a hurricane lamp. They also make darling party favours that guests can carry home, pet-like, in a pocket or purse. Too twee? Then keep them all for yourself.

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West Elm's Shane Powers Hanging Glass Bubble, from $7 through www.westelm.com.

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