Thursday, 29 January 2015

Hello all,
I'm happy to report that things are slowly getting back to normal. My surgeon is very happy with my progress and I have now discarded my clunky footwear, which was reminiscent of Frankenstein's monster. I am now wearing my husbands's oversized thongs (flip flops for my American readers). It will be some time before I will be able to wear the pretty shoes that I have been imagining at the end of this ordeal but, now that I am mobile, I don't mind the wait.

I will be starting classes next week, which means my work will be mainly restricted to the class themes, so I'm making the most of this time of playing with freestyles using whatever I can find around me.

There is a carob tree in my sister's street that I've been admiring for some time. I love the way the long, bean-like pods hang below the branches which grow almost horizontally. Driving past recently, I noticed a large branch had broken and was hanging by a little bit of bark. It had to be rescued and, with the help of the trusty saw in my car boot, I did just that.

Below are the two arrangements that were created, using the carob branches for the first and just the pods for the second.

And speaking of finding, I came across fennel growing wild and Osage oranges near by. I thought I'd use them together as shown below.

Inside and out this glass container

One Osage orange and one agapnthus

Two days later, the fennel had died, since it was not in water, so I removed it and replaced it with other material.

Now with agave

I went into the garden at night to cut the agave and I found this
dear little frog that measures only 3 cm in length.

Now with clivias

This time of year the agapanthus in my garden are flowering profusely and I love to use them. I'm including a photo of the garden bed  in which they grow. I had tried growing all sorts of annuals in this spot before the agapanthus but nothing survived because there were two mature pine trees growing there. My sister in law, Toula had initially given me a number of agapanthus plants and later I added to them, thus filling the whole bed.

Fresh and dry agapanthus

The difficulty in this simple arrangement was working out the mechanics that
would allow the stems with the heavy flowers to come out of the small

 opening without resting on the sides.

There is a small casuarina tree near my house that produces interesting hanging stems that lend themselves well to ikebana.

In this wall arrangement I used sunflowers, crab apples
and the casuarina that comes forward as well as
cascading down

Here I used two cascading materials - the casuarina and the amaranthus,
which I grow in my garden
Until next time,

Thursday, 8 January 2015

Hello all and a very happy new year to each and every one of you!

As I mentioned in my last post, not much ikebana was done during my recuperation period. This was due to my limited mobility and the restrictions imposed on me by my loving but somewhat overzealous carers, namely my husband, Sam and my sister, Lucy, both of whom hovered over me like a couple of mother hens. All kidding aside, I am very grateful to them as well as the rest of the family for taking such excellent care of me.

My garden, oblivious to my plight, continued to produce beautiful, seasonal material that was crying out to me to cut it and arrange it. It took a great deal of self control to resist the temptation.

Anyway, I'm a little more mobile now, although I have to allow for frequent rest periods, as my feet are still swollen and will be for another two months. So, I've been able to make some arrangements to satisfy my cravings and to share with you.

These dancing ladies orchids were given to me by my friend Olga, the asiatics by my sister in law, Toula and the weeping mulberry branches were in my ikebana room, so the whole thing came together without too much exertion.

The next two arrangements are in my newly acquired containers that just had to be used immediately. At the time I could only manage these simple arrangements but with a Christmas feel.

Here I used red hot pokers and alstroemarias with gold and silver mizuhiki.

I bent these agapanthus stems by pushing them down whilst still buds and they developed this shape. I used with them some pine and pine cones, which I sprayed gold plus some red and silver beads.

My gloriosa lilies are quite prolific at the moment and I'm able to keep this arrangement going by replacing each flower as it dies.

Hydrangea and dried date palm piece

The sunflowers in this arrangement were planted by my two grandchildren (with assistance) and were watered by them at each visit. I didn't have the heart to cut them when in full flower but the kids have since lost interest so I can use them with a clear conscience. I also used a gyamea leaf, red hot pokers and watsonias.

I hope you'll forgive the doting grandmother for including this photograph of Xavier and Hermione in the garden with the sunflowers in the background.

A close up of the unfurling leaf and flowers

This arrangement is 2.5m tall and, thus, a little difficult to photograph. I used a strelitzia nicolai leaf that is just unfurling and some flowers from my neighbour's creeper, with his permission, of course. Neither he nor I know the name of the creeper.

From my balcony I could see a tantalizing vivid pink colour at the bottom of my garden. When I finally made it down there to investigate, I remembered the bromeliads I had planted there. I had fun using the leaves and with them I used calla lily seed heads.

Yellow calla lilies with a spent strelitzia flower

In the two arrangements below I used the dead flowers from strelitzia nicolai that were to be thrown out after having been used previously but they have such a sculptural look that I enjoyed playing with them.


I'm a long way from getting back to normal activity but it's a great feeling to be doing even the few things that I can.

Bye for now,