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Thursday, July 7, 2011

Back in the day: Flower arranging with frogs

I received a great little planter for my birthday the other day, and it had a pin frog in it. It made me realize that I don't see those much anymore, although floral frogs...a couple of different kinds...were very common in most households when I was growing up in the 50s and 60s.

It made me wonder why. I haven't found a frog in any professional arrangement I've received for years. Is it because it's not cost-effective for most florists to use them today?  Is it because most women I knew back then were avid gardeners and cut stems from their gardens for fresh flower arrangements in their homes almost every day, and most of us today don't have time to do that anymore? When I was growing up, there were always arrangements of gladioli, dahlias, roses, lilies, hydrangeas or peonies around the house during the growing season. All were held in place by frogs.

There were two types that you could almost always find in a "junk drawer" somewhere in the kitchen:

Vintage pin frogs
Vintage glass frog
1950s Better Homes and Gardens Flower Arranging - RetroStitches
Vintage flower arranging book by Sunset
(Note the pin frog in the foreground.) - Ficurinia

These frogs were secured in the bottom of a vase or planter with floral clay, and then the stems of the flowers were held in place by the frogs. The glass frogs made flower arranging almost effortless, because the holes were angled to do the arranging for you. They were sometimes part of a decorative vase called a rose bowl. In the winter, these bowls held pansies (which I actually do make time for every year), and they held violets in early spring. In the summer, they were full of every variety of rose you can imagine.

I realize that the pin frog is still manufactured today, although almost everything I found online indicates that it is used primarily for the Japanese style of flower arrangements knows as ikebana and is often called a kenzan.

My new slate planter with pin frog
My grandmother's rose bowl
and the various glass frogs that belonged to the women in my family
My grandmother's rose bowl today...much as it looked when I was a child.

Now I get to decide what to put in my new planter. A beautiful little bromeliad? Bamboo? Fresh flowers? What do you think?


  1. i really wanted to buy one the last time i was in goodwill..tey look so cool...lovely collation Dana

  2. Hmm, I've come across many a frog for sale on eBay and wondered the same thing: Why don't people use these today?

  3. @1950sarh: I don't get it either. They make flower arranging so easy. I don't know why they aren't used like they were back then. Do most people these days (like me) grab a handful of flowers at the grocery store on our way out the door and just shove them in a vase? My mom's and my grandmothers' arrangements were much more artistic than mine!