By Amity Moore Joyce
Ever wonder about the green spongy block at the bottom of many arrangements? For florists, it’s a convenient, single-use tool that holds stems firmly in place and keeps them watered. For the environment, however, it’s nowhere near beneficial. Fortunately, Middlemist and other eco-minded floral shops have alternatives.
None is an apple-to-apple replacement for floral foam—it really is in a category all its own—but when you’re striving to be a responsible florist, it’s nice to have a choice of other mechanics. (“Mechanics” is a term the floral industry uses to collectively describe devices, tools, or techniques that help bring structure and stability to floral arrangements.)
Simply arranging a bouquet in a vertical vase is sometimes enough. A tape grid also works well, specifically when a disposable option is necessary. When more structure is needed for increasingly complex or creative floral design, reusable options, such as chicken wire, floral frogs, hairpin frogs, Holly Chapple pillows, are Middlemist’s tools of choice.
- Chicken wire carries weight among florists. They were using it well before floral foam came into existence. Chicken wire accommodates heavier stems, can be inexpensive, is reusable, is malleable and easy to shape, and disintegrates because it is made of metal.
- Floral frogs, also known as kenzans or pin frogs, work well with shorter compote arrangements. The floral frogs sit inside the small bowl or petite vase and serve as an anchor to keep the flower stems or greenery in place. They have been around for ages and are foundational to Japanese floral design. Additionally, the vintage ones are popular with collectors.
- Hairpin frogs function similarly to floral frogs except that they are constructed with longer, more flexible pins.
- Holly Chapple pillows are a brand of floral cage used to make sculptural flower designs. Middlemist uses them largely for event floral arrangements because they can be easily retrieved and reused. The pillows work well as a solo mechanic, even on elevated designs, plus they’re lighter weight than other options. They also allow for stems to be placed nearly horizontally or as cascades. Finally, once an arrangement is created in the pillow, the whole thing—mechanic AND flowers—can be lifted out of the vase for easy transport.
By using these tools, Middlemist practices eco-friendly methods in an effort to perpetuate sustainability within the floral industry and at its Golden, Colorado, flower shop. Be part of the movement by ordering floral centerpieces or registering for flower delivery from Middlemist.