Guest Author - Connie Krochmal
Flowers may be the very basis of floral design. However, we wouldn’t get anywhere without the various kinds of floral supplies. Without these, we wouldn’t have vases to hold the stems or floral foam to support them. Here’s a look at the old and new when it comes to floral supplies.
Oasis Floral Foam is a registered trademark. This is now so commonly available that we take it for granted and don’t give it a second thought. What did floral designers do before this wonderful invention came into being? One answer is in your kitchen—the ordinary potato. Stems were inserted into the flesh of this vegetable. An appropriately sized potato was selected to fit the container. If necessary, a larger one could be cut to size.
Oasis Floral Foam has been around for over fifty years. This was invented by V.L. Smithers. His goal was to find a way for plastic foam to hold water so it could be used for floral arrangements. He was inspired to do this in his lab after he had given his wife an arrangement. After creating the product in his lab, he set up a factory to produce Oasis. The company is now called Smithers-Oasis.
When you go to buy foam, you will find there are two kinds, wet and dry. The wet one is intended for arrangements to which you will actually add water.
Styrofoam has also become a mainstay in certain kinds of floral designs. This is mostly used for topiary. An example would be the fruit topiaries that are seen during the fall and winter months. Styrofoam can also be used to create boxwood and evergreen topiaries. This doesn’t hold water like Oasis floral foam. However, there is a way you can keep evergreen topiaries from drying out. Spray them from time to time with water. Naturally, you will want to set it into the topiary into the sink before doing it.
I’m not sure how long Styrofoam has been around. As with the Oasis, floral designers used whatever alternatives were available. In this case, it was usually wire frames stuffed with moist moss. Getting the wire into the right shape was not easy or very much fun. Now, we can also buy pre-made wire frames if we wish to use them instead of Styrofoam.
Whenever we want a floral preservative, all we have to do is choose from the various brands in the stores. At my local store, customers can pick up free, sample-size packs free when they buy flowers. Before we had commercial floral preservatives, people used homemade concoctions. For example, a few drops of bleach would control bacterial growth that attack flower stems. To feed the flowers, some sort of sugar was needed. Most people just used Seven Up or some other non-cola soda.
Now there is every type of vase and container imaginable. There are even ones designed to fit around the umbrella holders on patio tables.
Containers come in every shape, size, color, and material. I’ve even seen one that rests on its side. This is a sight to behold.
Creative folks are going to love the new WonderVase. This container is sure to revolutionize floral design. First of all, this is unbreakable and reusable. It comes in the form of a sheet that you put under warm water and shape as you see fit. This is suitable for everything from chic to chunky. The sheets come in three sizes from small to large. You can also have your choice of colors as well with everything from clear, blue, and green to red. These come in frosted and plain. Once you discard the floral arrangement, rinse the vase out, and flatten it under warm water. Store it flat until you need it again.