When I first started making floral displays, center pieces, bouquets, arrangements, I loved floral foam. It was cheap, easy to use; and the flowers always stayed where I wanted them to stay. I actually thought my flower arrangements looked "better", more professional rather than just a flower farmer, produce grower arrangement as I think of myself.
The only commenst I got back from my customers were that the arrangments would seem to dry out faster in the foam than if just open flowers in a vase, arrangement. But as I started to educate myself; reading more and more in blogs, flower farming books and flower magazines about the impact to the environment that is caused by these floral foams, it occurred to me I should re-think using the foam..
So what do florist use as an alternative? A few years ago, I saw an old interview with a florist who prepares all the huge arrangements for the Queen of England. He said he learned a trick to get very high and huge sizes using chicken wire. I wanted to try it so I went to the garden shed and cut myself out a few squares of wire. I formed a ball with it and pushed it into a few containers to see how it worked. It was amazing how strong it held the flowers. It was amazing how it fanned out flowers, similar to the pattern created by using the floral foam. I was hooked and now I always have the wire hanging on the wall in my flower/studio. I have even seen recently in Joann's and at my florist supply store packages of pre cut wire, most of it coated and some came in colors.
Another product used by people in the florist industry is the floral tape. This product comes in different widths and comes in green and clear, at least those are the ones I use. How this is used is you take your container and create a grid, cross crossed around the opening. You can make the tape close to gether or far apart, depending on what shape you want your final product to look like.And also is determined by the size stems of your flowers being used. Truthfully, it is pretty simple and quick, you just have to make sure you run a final ring around all the criss crossing tape to keep it firmly attached to the edge of the container.
Florist have available to them, many, many mechanics, or pre-made floral holders to use for bouquets, swags of flowers; sprays, at the top of candles, the list is endless. Unfortunately, if your client doesn't like the floral foam, you have to improvise because most of them have floral foam inside the plastic or wire apparatise. Sometimes, they just have to be used, if your client wants flowers to remain fresh, upside down, hanging from the rafters of a barn or decorating a birch limbed marriage trellis or arbor.
My favorite is the floral frogs-yes they are back in style!!! My late mother always had a collection of these guys all different shapes and sizes and made from different materials.
Old ones were made from milk glass, glass, cast iron, and wire. They can be attached to the bottom of a vase or vessel using floral, waterproof glue, or a clay product or even I have used a sticky adhesive strips that will hold one down.
They sit in the bottom of the vessel and hold flowers similar to the grid tape and chicken wire. Those frogs have squares built into their structure.Others are loads of metal pins sticking up from the center of the frog and you stick your stem of flowers into it.
they are available new and vary between $5-$10.I see them in almost every thrift or antique shop ranging from $1-$15.
I love using them, my only big concern is getting them back from the receiver of my flower arrangement!!!
Happy froging and chicken wiring.