OUR STORY on flower frogs, from Midland, Ontario, freelancer M. Carolyn Black, stirred my childhood memories.
Carolyn writes (on page 24) about the devices placed in vases or bowls to hold flower stems. Collectors are snapping up classic flower frogs, some through eBay transactions. There are even books and newsletters about this collectible.
My maternal grandmother placed her clear glass frog in the bottom of a crystal vase filled with garden flowers. Creamy hydrangeas bloomed near her front step, and there were gladioli in the backyard. I didn't get a satisfactory answer, then, as to how a flower frog got its name. I accepted it as a grown-up peculiarity, the moreso since Grandma, an excellent seamstress, had some garments with embroidered fasteners also called "frogs."
Widowed early, Grandma was comfortable on Grandad's railroad pension and didn't have to work. She travelled widely and hung out with other "girls" with whom she curled and played bridge. Some of them had husbands, some were widowed, one was a retired teacher.
When not gadding or chumming, Grandma kept house. Did she ever. Housekeeping was her career and her calling. The place was perpetually scoured, dusted and waxed. Windows gleamed. Quantities of silverware were used and polished regularly.
My grandmother believed most problems could be amended with a little elbow grease. It was she who taught me, as her delegated dish dryer, "It's a darned poor towel that can't take off some dirt."
Grandma had time to cultivate and display flowers. A proper home would have lovely vases, as well as flower frogs. When the bridge club met at your house, the place would be spotless, and a delicious dessert would be waiting beside the bouquet on the sideboard.
Much has changed. We still love our homes, but many of us spend less time there. Most women now want or need to work outside the home. We enjoy our gardens, but avoid high-maintenance horticulture.
Although I admire the extravagant trumpet blooms of gladioli, I have never grown them, or any plant requiring twice-yearly relocation! On our acreage, we favour quick-and-dirty annuals, or hardy perennials. I like flowers in the house, but I often neglect to change the water. Then one day I'll catch a whiff reminding me that cut flowers do require maintenance.
My friends and I do not play cards, or curl. We squeeze in coffee meetings, but mainly stay in touch by phone or e-mail.
Housekeeping. Arrgggh. I'll catch up someday. For now, I'd rather spend leisure time walking in the meadow or playing with the cats. Or cutting flowers to set in one of Grandma's vintage frogs. I will try to remember to change the water. Even a glass frog appreciates fresh water.