entertainingflowersFood & Drinkoutdoorsarah ryhanenweeders digest

weeder’s digest: frogs & snakes

by Grace Bonney

[studio choo is taking today off, so i’m thrilled to welcome sarah at saipua back for another weeder’s digest post!]

Todays floral post is all about reptiles. Specifically frogs and snakes.

Fritillaria meleagris (also known as a Snake Head Flower) is a little spring bulbous flower that arrives in March. It is a petite and fragile beauty – we can’t get enough of them around here. So it was no surprise that Amy brought home a gorgeous bunch of these little snakes from the market this morning.

Today I’d like to use the Fritillaria to demonstrate how to use a flower frog. I’ve got a nice little collection of flower frogs going thanks to my friend Chris (who incidentally sells vintage frogs at the Brooklyn Flea on weekends – find his booth just through the main entrance to the left).

Let me break it down fast – flower foam commonly called Oasis is bad news. It’s made from petroleum and will never break down in a landfill. Flower frogs have always been a great alternative to foam. Plus they offer dual usage: you can prop little notes or business cards in them.

I set out to make two examples this afternoon. For the first I chose a 6″ wide stone urn. I set a 3″ frog down in the bottom and filled it with water.

CLICK HERE for the rest of Sarah’s post and her how-tos for working with floral frogs after the jump!

As with any flower arrangement, you want to start with the woody, most structural stems first. In this case, I used Cornelian Cherry branches (a cousin of Dogwood). After cutting them down, I forced them down onto the tines of the frog. This gives me a general structure off which to build the rest of the arrangement. Next goes in two pieces of lilac and some unopened forsythia from my mother’s yard (have you brought in some of your forsythia yet? It’s blooming now in the ti-state area). Each stem gets embedded into the tines, allowing the branch/stem to stand upright and supported. I follow these with stems of queen anne’s lace, ranunculus, and the beloved fritillaria. By the time I’m placing the smaller flowers, I’m not always reaching down to the frog. The web of branches formed by the cornelian cherry, forsythia and lilac provide a nice network of stems below the water line to maneuver the more fragile blooms.

For a smaller, simpler arrangement I grabbed a copper cup and a 1.5″ frog. I cut and wedged the stems of 7 fritillaria in the frog and then dropped the whole thing down into the water. Without a frog the stems would splay horizontally in a clumsy fashion.

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  • I never knew there was another option to floral foam! And how Oasis was so naughty. I will definitely keep this in mind for future arrangements.

    Quick question: when you are putting the stems into the frogs, are you putting the stem onto the spike? Or are putting it in between the spikes? This may be intuitive to most people, but I tend to do counter-intuitive things often.


  • Sarah,
    could you recommend an online resource for flower arrangement ideas? I have an Ittala vase that I love (the large Aalto vase) and I’m having a hard time figuring out how to make it look really full and special, given its asymmetrical shape.

  • Very cool! I wish I could work with flowers like that. Just two things – 1) I think frogs are amphibians, not reptiles. 2) Why are these called frogs and not hedgehogs? :)

  • I have a little flat vase with a frog, but I am curious as to where you can buy frogs to make your own. I have looked everywhere and can’t find any.

  • I was also wondering where to buy frogs! And how should I clean them before re-using them in another arrangement?

  • beautiful post sarah!

    I love using flower frogs but hate using that name for them. A little nugget of info is that their proper name is kenzans from japanese ikebana for anyone interested!

    I am loving the blooming forsythia here in NJ too… <3

  • why not buy them used on ebay, i searched “metal flower frog” with success.

    to clean: rinse frogs off with a nail or bottle brush.

    Nancy – we have a few of these urns kicking around at the shop – they are $20

  • you can also find flower frogs (usually glass ones, not the spiky ones like these) at antique shops and flea markets.

  • Flowers are wonderful, I would suggest using teak planters too. I understand one arrangement does not fit at all places but Teak planters are certainly one to consider. Oh! I love the wood block under the vase.
    Very contemporary look.

  • Just gorgeous!
    To P:
    I have found that a bunch of either dutch irises or arum (?) lilies work really well in the aalto vase, just get ones with long, strong stems and place the bunch assymetrically into the largest curve and leave them to lean, really simple!