Your weekly source of floral inspiration, sage advice, industry news and encouragement. Written with floral designers and boutique farmer florists in mind.


Botanical Brouhaha Expert Discussion Panel: No. 74

Nov 18, 2015


I love all the new compote designs I am seeing. What do you use as a base in your compote designs…foam, tape, chicken wire?


I’m a chicken wire and tape compote designer. I’m not a fan of frogs, they are expensive and I don’t like how it feels when inserting the stems into the pins. I prefer chicken wire taped into place, it allows multiple stem insertions while allowing a very naturally gathered look. I try to avoid floral foam as much as possible since it is bad for the environment.

Bella Fiori

Alicia Schwede (Bella Fiori & Flirty Fleurs)


Compotes are so much fun, I love creating them! The technique depends on the shape of the vessel and the flowers I am using. I almost never use foam for compotes, nor anything else in fact (I hate it). For compotes, I usually use chicken wire secured by tape if the vessel is deep enough and if not, I use kenzans with oasis fix adhesive.


Laetitia Mayor (Floresie)


I use foam. This way I do not have to worry about transportation issues.

Francoise Weeks (Francoise Weeks)


Chicken wire is the only mechanic we use in any of our designs. We never use floral foam for sustainability concerns, and I’ve just never been a big fan of frogs or tape grids since they both have an annoying tendency to shift just when I have the framework for a design right where I want it.

Love 'n Fresh Flowers

Jennie Love (Love ‘n Fresh Flowers)


I use chicken wire in my compote dish arrangements whenever possible. I find it easy to prep and design in, and the flowers hold up extremely well being directly in water as opposed to foam, so it allows me to be able to use more fragile flowers and foliage.

Elisabeth Zemetis (Blush Floral Design)


I use all three techniques for different designs and occasionally a combination of two. Foam is still my go to for large elevated designs and compote designs. I pretty much create everything at my studio and then transfer it to the venue and using foam means it arrives looking exactly as it did in the studio. For huge dome arrangements I will cover the foam balls or blocks with chicken wire for stability. I use a taped grid system for one of our weekly contracts. They have two large wide necked vases and using the tape allows me to create a look with depth without using a lot of foliage as support. It also means the flowers are in water rather than foam and last for a full week.

Nick Priestly (Mood Flowers)

Mood Flowers

Mood Flowers

  1. Alison Ellis says:

    Awesome post. I remember when Nick designed that fountain-like planter. Amazing!

  2. Mary B. Hayes says:

    Novice question: how does one change the water in a taped container or one with chicken wire? Seems like that would be difficult. You could add water to the container, but you can’t readily change the water. Since these arrangements are mainly designed for an event only, perhaps that is not a concern. But if you wanted an arrangement to last for several days or a week, what’s the trick for a good water change?


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