Flower support: grids, Floraguppies, and dog toys.
This past September, I posted on alternatives to floral foam and demonstrated how to make a simple flower grid.
Those grids are still holding up: a bit of a faff to make, but I think they are worth the effort, and I’m going to make some more interesting ones to support Christmas decorations soon.
At the time, I mentioned I was trying to get a new flower arranging tool that I had seen advertised: the Floraguppy, and I did manage to get a couple. The guppy is a really ingenious invention: basically a plastic ball with holes in it that you put in the top of your vase. It arrives in two pieces along with a couple of wooden sticks, like chopsticks, to hold it up in larger containers. You soak the two pieces in warm water for a minute, and then it easily fits together. I started by experimenting with a large glass vase, wondering if I would be bothered by being able to see the guppy through the glass.
I didn’t need to use the sticks, as the guppy sat right on top on the vase rim. The criss-crossing stems keep everything from shifting and the arrangement easily stays in place. The guppy was, however, visible, and I didn’t like that: in future I will always use an opaque vase.
Then I tried something a little more difficult, putting the guppy in quite a large diameter bowl, where I needed the wooden sticks to balance it on the rim and hold it steady while I arranged the flowers.
This seemed to force me into a more compact and lower arrangement than I am used to making, and I did quite a bit of fiddling around before I felt happy with it. But the guppy worked beautifully. Then came the test. If I removed the sticks, would everything stay in place?
It all held together beautifully. You can lift the whole thing out to change the water or you can transfer it to a different vase. You could, particularly if you were doing a more natural arrangement, use interesting twigs for the supporting sticks, perhaps twigs with a bit of lichen on them, and just leave them in, making them part of the display.
But here’s the catch. Since I got mine, the website has announced they are only available in the USA. This despite the fact the company is based in Vancouver. Sadly, as the very helpful Cebastian in Customer Service explained, it costs them far more to send a guppy across the street in Vancouver than it does to send it to the USA. Oh Canada. What is going on with your postal service? They hope to have them internationally available in the shops next year. Still, that is rather a disappointment.
So, in the meantime … what about using a dog toy?
When I posted an arrangement using a guppy on Facebook recently, a friend commented that it reminded her of a dog toy: a lattice ball.
At the time I just laughed, but, well, it seemed at least worth testing it out. So, this morning I nipped out to Bosley’s to pick one up: a puppy size Hol-ee Roller. Unfortunately they do come in rather bright colours and there was nothing transparent, like the guppy, available. Handy for a dog when playing fetch, I’m sure; not so good for the flower arranger.
The lurid green seemed about the best bet, and even with this I needed a lot of greenery to cover it up.
With the guppy, I needed only a couple of pieces of choisya, but to disguise the Hol-ee Roller I needed to strip half the bush. And it wasn’t easy to criss-cross the stems into the ball so it wasn’t as stable.
Nevertheless, to my surprise it worked. It wobbled in the bowl when I removed the sticks, but that didn’t disrupt the arrangement at all.
But the guppy is far superior (and also cheaper) to the dog toy. Would I use a lattice ball again? I might if I didn’t have my two guppies, but as it is, no. I think I know a little dog who might appreciate a lurid green Hol-ee Roller.
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