I also love the vals. It seems like they aren't as common now as they once were - maybe not 'exotic' enough for most people.
How do you manage to reach the substrate for pruning, arranging, futzing, etc? Are you 7' tall or do you have long forceps, tweezers, & other 'aids'? Do you find this to be a major drawback? I'm asking because I'm planning on a large planted tank and most of them are in the 29-30" tall range.