Flower Arranging Made Easy
A Frog's Holes Each Support One Stem
lorist foam allows the greatest latitude when arranging, but not all flowers flourish in this material. Choose sturdy-stemmed options, such as alstroemerias, for a long-lasting arrangement.
Making bouquets doesn't have to be complicated. It's easy when you have a few good tools on hand. These devices, called mechanics, hold stems in place so you can position flowers without frustration. Here's what each one does.
heavy metal base holds this mechanic at the bottom of the vase or container. Needle holders are usually round, though ovals are also available. They range in size from 1 to 6 inches across. Protruding from the base are sharp, heavy-duty metal prongs, which are spaced closely together to form a tight mass.
While the needle holder should stay in place, occasionally the weight of stems and flowers causes it to move within the vase. Florist stickum, a pliable claylike substance, placed under the needle holder firmly anchors it to the container.
This type of mechanic holds stems in an upright position. Place stems on the prongs, and that is where they stay. Water moves freely into the stems and up into flower heads, keeping them hydrated. Woody flowering branches and hollow-stemmed flowers such as tulips, calla lilies, and gerbera daisies last longest when held in place with a needle holder.
his label covers a number of different mechanics. A needle holder covered with a domed metal frame is a frog, as is a sparkling glass vessel with concentric holes. Regardless of the style, this device is designed for each space to hold a single stem. The frog may be ornamental, as with the glass forms, or meant to be hidden within the vase. Hollow-stemmed flowers also do well in this type tool.
This well-known flower-arranging staple offers options different from the other mechanics. Soak the dark green, spongy block in tepid water for 30 minutes to moisten it throughout. Adding floral preservative to the water prolongs the arrangement’s life. Shape the foam to fit your container using a sharp knife.
Use florist foam when the arrangement calls for flowers and stems coming out from the container’s sides. Push a stem into the foam at any angle, and it remains in place. This allows a wide range of design options and styles.
Florist foam is a good choice with sturdy-stemmed flowers such as chrysanthemums, alstroemerias, and lilies. Check the container’s water every day, and add moisture as needed. The foam must stay hydrated for the arrangement’s longevity.
The drawback to florist foam is this: Once a stem is inserted, a hole remains in the block of foam. If you change your mind and move the stem elsewhere, the hole remains. Do this too many times, and you have diminished the block’s stability.
Use these handy tools, and your flower-arranging confidence will blossom with the remarkable results.
Finding These Tools
Old flower mechanics are fast becoming collectors’ items. Search flea markets and antiques shops for interesting shapes and sizes. Needle holders and all styles of frogs make pretty displays when not in use. You can find new mechanics at flower shops and hobby stores.