Sunday, 1 November 2015




I have two herbaceous peonies, that have been the source of great frustration for many years by their stubborn refusal to flower. I have tried everything, including freezing water into big blocks of ice and placing them on the ground above the plants to simulate frost. But to no avail. This year, to my great delight, each plant has produced four buds, thus earning a place in my blog. I'm guessing that the unusually cold winter may be the reason for them flowering but I can't be sure. I did not want to make an ikebana arrangement with them, firstly, because the stems are very short and, secondly, because the flowers make such a statement that they don't need anything else.

At the October meeting of Ikebana International Mr Barrie Gallacher, a volunteer from the Australian Native Association spoke to us about Australian natives and more particularly about the Royal Botanic Gardens in Cranbourne. I had not visited those gardens before and was inspired to do so after Mr Gallacher' talk. I highly recommend to anyone, who is able to visit the gardens to do so. I learnt a great deal, most especially about how ignorant I have been about Australian natives. One of the things I learnt is that the plant I have been calling gyamea lily is actually doryanthes palmeri, also knows as giant spear lily. It's the slightly different, doryanthes excelsa that is known as Gyamea lily.

I had been asked to do a demonstration for the group using Australian natives. I have to confess that I don't have many natives in my garden (a situation I'm already rectifying). So the task was made more challenging, firstly, in finding appropriate materials and, secondly, because I prefer modern styles of ikebana and Australian natives tend to lend themselves more to naturalistic work. But I felt I should rise to the challenge. I used Doryanthes palmeri leaves, red calistemon flowers and bought some spear grass. The resulting arrangement is below.



The theme for one of our recent lessons was 'In a suiban without kenzan', for which I prepared the two examples below.

Hawthorn and calistemon


















Oak and rhododendron

On the same day we also had students doing and arrangement 'Emphasizing curved lines' and my example for that follows.

Wisteria and Cymbidium orchids

Two weeks later, our theme was 'Seasonal Material', in this case 'Spring' and I instructed the class to make it a 'maze-zashi'(a mixture of a variety of materials and colours). Again my examples are below.




By coincidence, my teacher, Elizabeth had set the same theme for her class and I tried doing something a little different this time.




And then, there's some work I did just for fun:





This wall arrangement of Strelitzia nocolai flower and leaf stands
almost 2 metres in hieght
Until next time,
Emily