Episode 10- A Flower Arranger’s Best Friend!

Host J Schwanke shares some history of the flower frog—a device used to help arrange flowers. Whether man-made or natural, this tool has many applications when it comes to arranging and entertaining.

*Bonus Content in Blue Links!

J Schwanke's Life in Bloom is going to the Frogs- Flower frogs that is!

J Schwanke’s Life in Bloom is going to the Frogs- Flower frogs that is!

This week on “J Schwanke’s Life in Bloom”- we take a look at the Flower Frog- the Flower Arranger’s Best Friend! I became familiar with Flower Frogs as a child- it was one of the “supplies” we sold to avid flower arrangers and garden club members- and we also used them in the shop to arrange flower for customers. Flower Foam was on the up-tick- (it was released in the 40′s but was making lots of progress in shapes, colors, and different formulas… so flower frog use was starting to wane.

J shares his extensive flower frog collection on "Life in Bloom" on Public Television!

J shares his extensive flower frog collection on “Life in Bloom” on Public Television!

Fast forward to today- and it’s a popular antique or found object- that is getting a great deal of attention- for people that want very precise placement of flowers- or if they want to forego flower foam- for a more classic apparatus for flower arranging. I collect antique flower frogs- and I do use them on occasion for flower arranging… but I like collecting the different types, makes and models of this classic – traditional flower arranging tool.

J and the crew in the dining room- filming the segment about flower frogs for Life in Bloom!

J and the crew in the dining room- filming the segment about flower frogs for Life in Bloom!

I share a bit of my flower frog collection in this show- including some of my favorites- “The Rhino”… “the Collapsible Wire Mesh”- and even the Largest Flower Frog- I have ever found. The truth be known- I have a bit of ‘problem’ when it comes to flower frogs- I can’t pass up one that I haven’t collected- and so my ‘little collection’ has swelled to over 700… my biggest problem is displaying them.  I really don’t enjoy collecting something and having it sit in a box… so I like to look at them… so there are flower frogs- all over the house… in every little nook or cranny- I’m flower frog obsessed.

J has collected over 700 flower frogs of different shapes, sizes, and colors!

J has collected over 700 flower frogs of different shapes, sizes, and colors!

I’ve been very fortunate too- I have friends I’ve made through my uBloom.com Website- or that subscribe to my Youtube Videos- that like to send me gifts! THANK YOU!- Nothing is better than a surprise showing up in the mail- and recently my friend Jan from Florida- sent a silver-plated flower frog- (she had two- and thought I might enjoy one)… you’ll see it in an upcoming “PRETTY” Video where I make a flower arrangement with this classic Victorian Antique Flower Frog! Thank you Jan- you’re one in a million!

How to arrange flowers_Submerged Flower Arrangements

From J’s Award winning book- Fun with Flowers- this creative way to submerge flowers using flower frogs!

Flower Frogs are also great for submerging flowers- and I feature flower frogs in my Award Winning Book- “Fun with Flowers” in several projects- Fun with Submerged Flowers- and also Fun with Pincushion Protea- both of these project are “Flower Frog” dependent- and super easy to create… you can purchase a copy of my Book here at www.uBloom.com/Books!

How to create Submerged Flower Arrangements!

The Original JTV episode featuring flower frogs- and teaching how to submerge flowers in a vase.. watch it on Youtube!

I also feature flower frogs in projects on uBloom.com- here’s a link to Fun with Flowers and J- episode where I create submerged flower centerpieces using Flower Frogs- “Life in Bloom” viewers can use this discount code- FIFTYOFF – and subscribe to uBloom.com and get access to over 1800 Flower Arranging Videos… follow this link- www.uBloom.com/Join/Annual and get 50% off the annual rate of a subscription… Each week we post a NEW Video Project- and members get exclusive access to all my videos – 24/7!

This is just a portion of the flower frog collection at J's home!

This is just a portion of the flower frog collection at J’s home!

One of the most popular Videos on my Youtube channel- also features Submerged flowers- and the secret to this type of project is the pin holder flower frogs- that securely hold the flower in place and also weight it down (Flowers FLOAT) so you need the weight to keep the flower submerged- you can check out all the tips and tricks- in this Youtube Video from JTV my first Web-based flower arranging series…
While you’re visiting- be sure to subscribe to my Youtube Channel- we post a new video each week there too!

J Visits with Life Long Dahlia Farmer- Jan Brondyke at her Hamilton Dahlia Farm!

J Visits with Life Long Dahlia Farmer- Jan Brondyke at her Hamilton Dahlia Farm!

I use the submerging technique with the arrangement I create when we visit the Hamilton Dahlia Farm in this week’s show… Jan Koop Brondyke – ran Hamilton Dahlia farm for years… and finally retired a few years ago- (right after we filmed a documentary about their farm- Watch it HERE!) Jan told me- that she had a swimming pool for over 14 years – on the farm- but had never set foot in it… so she thought it was time- to retire and enjoy life! Good for her… while we miss her dearly- she migrated many of the tubers to Hope Dahlias- (another good friend) and they have continued the Dahlia Tradition in West Michigan- You’ll meet, see and learn more about Hope Dahlias in Season 2 of “J Schwanke’s Life in Bloom”. I love dahlias- and you’ll be seeing a whole show dedicated to this unique flower in our upcoming season- so stay tuned!

Happy to be growing Dahlias on her farm in Hamilton Michigan- Jan Brondyke loves the Flowers!

Happy to be growing Dahlias on her farm in Hamilton Michigan- Jan Brondyke loves the Flowers!

The Visit to Hamilton Dahlia Farm was incredible- and you can see the entire documentary we created on uBloom.com!

J creates a flower arrangement featuring a flower frog from the gorgeous Dahlias at Hamilton Dahlia Farm

J creates a flower arrangement featuring a flower frog from the gorgeous Dahlias at Hamilton Dahlia Farm

Frogs in general became the theme of this show- and I wanted a recipe that was FROG Inspired- and I ran across a recipe for FROG Jam… while doing some research- it seems that FROG Jam is created using 4 ingredients- Figs- Raspberries, Oranges and Ginger… a tasty little treat… but unfortunately when it came time to film the recipe- I couldn’t get my hands on FRESH figs- so I did the next best thing- I Found a place on Line- where I could buy FROG Jam – and so we turned this recipe into a feast – that includes FROG Jam- and made a few quick centerpieces with a few of my Flower Frog Favorites!

J offers up Frog Jam- with Inspired ingredients and Flower Frog Flower Accents!

J offers up Frog Jam- with Inspired ingredients and Flower Frog Flower Accents!

Garden Flowers are ideal for these simple flower frog arrangements- short flowers from the garden are perfect! I know that people can get nervous about cutting flowers from the garden- and in the first episode of “Life in Bloom” I share the concept of Arrange-Plant- planting your garden with the specific goal of being able to cut from the garden- I created a brochure about “Arrange-Plant” with my favorite tips and tricks for arranging from the garden- and it’s a FREE Download- just visit this link- www.uBloom.com/GardentoHome and get your Free Copy today!

It's easy to create a simple flower arrangements from the garden- download J's Garden to Home - brochure- click here!

It’s easy to create a simple flower arrangements from the garden- download J’s Garden to Home – brochure- click here!

For #FlowerCocktailHour I create a drink called the Juicy Frog- here’s a link to the recipe www.uBloom.com/JuicyFrog – it’s a beautiful green toned martini cocktail- and it’s tasty too. I love that included Verbena Flower Elixir – my friend Nora Eggers has an incredible line of Flower Infused Elixirs- that you can use in your flower cocktails or mocktails- they are made with Pure Cane Sugar and wonderful additions to “Flower Cocktail Hour”… you can learn more about Floral Elixirs- and order your own at this link- www.DrinkYourFlowers.com

Create the Juicy Frog with this recipe- www.uBloom.com/JuicyFrog - click here!

Create the Juicy Frog with this recipe- www.uBloom.com/JuicyFrog – click here!

Flower Frogs- are also the traditional arranging medium for Ikebana or Japanese Flower Arranging. When I was 17 years old- my parents sent me to Japan to study Ikebana- and I studied at the Ikenobo School- it was important for me to be classically trained in Flower Arranging to continue my career with the Family Florist Business- and I’m eternally grateful that my parents decided to give me that opportunity!

J creates this Ikenoba Inspired Japanese Flower Arrangement on J Schwanke's Life in Bloom!

J creates this Ikenoba Inspired Japanese Flower Arrangement on J Schwanke’s Life in Bloom!

In this episode- I share a very simplified Ikebana arrangement- created in a flower frog- that was given to me by my wonderful friend- Richard Seabolt… he was an amazing flower artist from Kansas City and a life-long friend- I like to call him my “other dad”… because he was so influential and supportive- he was truly a wonderful friend, mentor and inspiration. I miss him…

From J's Friend and Mentor Richard Seaboldt- J Creates a Japanese Flower Arrangement on Life in Bloom!

From J’s Friend and Mentor Richard Seaboldt- J Creates a Japanese Flower Arrangement on Life in Bloom!

Richard gave me a wonderful flower frog- for Ikebana- and I use it to create the arrangement with Chrysanthemums and a few flowers from the garden. The 3 main placements for Japanese Flower Arranging are Heaven, Earth and Man- three flower placements that symbolize the relationship of these entities- there are additional placements for mountains and meadows- and the Art of Ikebana- can be very simple or very intricate… I just touch on a few of the points in this week’s shoe- and if you want to learn more- there are countless books- websites and videos you can reference.

Using the Hana Kubari Technique - J creates a flower support system using natural branches that are exposed on Life in Bloom!

Using the Hana Kubari Technique – J creates a flower support system using natural branches that are exposed on Life in Bloom!

Here’s a JTV Episode- from my First Web-Based Series on Youtube- You can check it out here- and subscribe while you’re visiting my Channel- I appreciate it!

Exposed natural branches provide the support inside the vase- using the classic Hana Kubari Technique

Exposed natural branches provide the support inside the vase- using the classic Hana Kubari Technique

I include one more flower project in this show- that is also based in Japanese Culture- the art of Hana Kubari – an Ikebana Flower Mechanic where sticks or branches are used (and exposed) to support the flowers- I use this technique- with Curly Willow – arranged inside a cylinder vase to create a structure that simply holds and supports the Vibrant Magenta Chrysanthemums I use in this arrangement.

Another example of Hana Kubari on uBloom.com featuring Sunflowers- Click here to watch!

Another example of Hana Kubari on uBloom.com featuring Sunflowers- Click here to watch!

I have a Another Fun “Hana Kubari” inspired technique with curly willow and wire- that is featured in my Book- “Fun with Flowers” – and you can watch the video here at www.uBloom.com/SunFlowers  – it’s a another way to use this technique to arrange a few choice blossoms from the Garden, the Grocery Store- or Professional Florist… Check it out!

Life in Bloom's featured flower are Chrysanthemums.

Life in Bloom’s featured flower are Chrysanthemums.

The Featured flower this week- is Chrysanthemums- I have a deep attachment to these flowers- because we used to grow them in my families greenhouses- for cut flowers- and they took a great deal of care… they had to be “LIGHTED” with extra lighting at certain times of the year- and also had to be shaded- plus dis-budding to remove extra buds to get larger single blooms- it was a great deal of work.  I had the chance to visit Ocean Breeze in Santa Barbara- a few years ago- where they still grow Chrysanthemums- and my friend Rene VanWingerden- showed me how they light the plants- even when they are growing outside… it’s a fun documentary- you can watch here!

Join J and Rene - as they tour the Ocean Breeze Flower Farm on uBloom.com- click to watch now!

Join J and Rene – as they tour the Ocean Breeze Flower Farm on uBloom.com- click to watch now!

Flower Frogs are lots of fun- and I hope you enjoy – this FROG inspired Episode of “J Schwanke’s Life inBloom” it’s a great way to use a few flowers- and do some creative flower projects – Remember that the art of Flower Arranging- helps you relax- feel happier- as you enjoy the flower arrangements you create… give it a try!