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  • Writer's pictureCarole Conn

Firkins and Flower Frogs

Flowers look better in antiques. They just do.

My Mom could arrange flowers like a pro. No matter what she put in a vase or bowl, it looked terrific. I could never do it, - until I discovered the flower frog.

With flower frogs, you can manage where the flowers go. This lets you put them in all kinds of containers - firkins, baskets, bean pots, pantry boxes, bowls, crocks and pitchers, not just boring vases.

Why are they called "frogs"? No one really knows. Probably because they sit in the water like a frog. They've actually been around for a long time. They were available in 16th century Europe, for example. The oldest patent for a flower frog in the US is 1875.

You can buy new flower frogs lots of places, but for the same price, you can buy a vintage one. They're much more fun.

Flower frogs are your secret helpers in the bottom of a vase. Here is an "arrangement" I did without the help of a flower frog:

Same crock, same flowers, but with a flower frog inside:

Amazing, right?

This is what the flower frog I used looks like inside the butter crock:

You can buy vintage flower frogs on Ebay, for example, for a couple of dollars. Even the fancy ones aren't much more that $15-20. The vintage ones are much quirkier and attractive than the new ones. They are also usually very sturdy, so they hold up well. If you are going to buy a flower frog, buy an old one.

There are several types of flower frogs. The one I used for this arrangement is a clip type - the prongs almost look like paperclips. These work when you are using a variety of flowers with different stems, from woody to thin, although very thin, weak stems won't stand up very well in these. Different sizes work in different shaped containers. I used the one on the left for the wide and shallow butter crock.

The ones with wire cages work in a similar way to the clip type ones. The deeper they are the better they hold tall flowers.

The spike ones are great for holding woody stems, like hydrangea or lilac. You just skewer them in. If the prongs are really close together they will hold even the thinest stem as well. They come in all kinds of shapes to fit any shape container. My favorite is the string of little ones in this photo. You can bend it any way you want it. There are also teeny weeny ones - which I've collected because I think they're cute. I can't say I've used them much, but they would be good in a very small or thin container.

I like how they look stacked up.

I have a couple of flexible wire ones that you can make into different shapes, depending on your container:

These are the same two frogs.

Tall ones that hold individual stems are almost sculptural. They look good on their own. The one on the right adjusts up and down, too. They work in taller pieces.

This is a cool one, too. It is 2 layers of fixed metal rings with a hole in the center of it. Very versatile for the right container.

I like the way my flower frogs look in a hanging shelf in my potting room.

Antiques used as flower containers are always more interesting than ordinary vases, - at least that's my opinion. Did you ever think of using a wood firkin for flowers? How, you say? You can't fill it with water. You can! Just find a jar that fits inside it.

I use this firkin a lot - it's small and it doesn't have a lid, so I'm not too worried about spilling water inside it. I love the way it looks for a country arrangement. I also use it for small plants. I just put a saucer in the bottom to catch water. Baskets can be used in the same way. The best ones for flowers are taller than they are wide.

I love English blue transferware, always have. I found these 3 pitchers on Ebay for no money.

They all have chips, hairlines and repairs. But you can't see that when flowers are in them. These are my go-to flower containers. And because of their shapes, you don't really need flower frogs. They are nipped in just under the rims, so they hold the flowers up well.

I love blue and white anything, so spongeware works well, too.

That's the butter crock I used for my flower arranging demonstration. Crocks and pitchers work well - these are all flawed. I keep them just for flowers.

Bean pots and salt glazed crocks are great for flowers, too. They look especially good with rustic country arrangements - like fall berries and leaves. Put a saucer under them - they're pourous and water may seep through them onto your antique wood table. An old pewter plate works well and looks good.

I use these a lot - little pitchers are wonderful for a small bouquet, the bean pot for herbs in the kitchen, and the basket for fluffy hydrangea blooms in a pin type frog inside a small glass bowl.

Herbs in my kitchen.

Wildflowers in a crock on an old bucket bench is my idea of heaven. Using the right flower frog makes it look effortless. Try it! You'll love it.


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