Wednesday, 2 November 2016

Spring arrangement using spuria iris, roses (altissimo) and euphorbia
Hello all,

Last week I had the most rewarding experience of my ikebana teaching career when I ran a workshop at the kindergarten that my grandchildren attend.

I prepared 28 plastic take away tubs by spraying them gold, then added soaked oasis for the children to use instead of kenzans and containers. For each child I cut branches the right size for the containers and put them together with flowers in a bunch held together by rubber bands.

At the kindergarten I was assisted by my sister Vicky, who, as some of you would know, is also one of my senior students. My daughter Madeline, whose son attends the kindergarten, was also there acting as photographer.

I started by demonstrating the Basic Upright in a proper suiban with kenzan. Then I demonstrated in the plastic take away tub so the children could see exactly what they had to do. As I began the demonstration the children were sitting on the floor watching but very quickly they all crowded around the table, on which I was demonstrating, their eager little faces very close to me.

Bending so low is not easy on an old lady's back
We then distributed the tubs and materials to all the children and helped them to put the arrangements together. Their questions and comments were both insightful and entertaining. Two little girls impressed me in particular because they tried to make their arrangement from behind, as they had seen  me do.

It took quite a lot of work and some cost for the workshop but it was all worth it when we saw how proud they all were with their arrangements, which they then took home. I can see why it is so important to our Iemoto to teach ikebana to children and I thought of her often during my preparations and afterwards. I would, definitely, like to do more with children myself.

I would have liked to have included photographs of the whole class but, without their parents' permission, I cannot. So, below, are photos of my two grandchildren.

With my very proud Hermione

And with my very proud Xavier

I have written much about my garden because it is so vital to my ikebana. Often so many plants flower at the same time that I feel pressured to arrange them all. I hate to let them die on the plant, then have to wait until the following year for them to flower again. Case in point, the arrangement below, had to be made because of this interesting stem on my rhododendron.

My prolific garden is also helpful with class, as I can dash out and cut what's needed when students who work have not been able to get materials for class, or brought the wrong materials. Many of my plants are precious mementos from friends and relatives, some of whom have passed away. In the spirit of sharing, I too, have given many plants and cuttings to students and others.

And, just when I think I know all there is in my garden, having planted everything myself, it goes and surprises me by producing something I haven't seen before. When first I saw the flower in the arrangement, below, I thought it was a piece of paper from the road. Then, on closer inspection, I was delighted to see it was a flower. If anyone knows the name of it, I would be very grateful if you would let me know.

Bye for now,

1 comment:

  1. Hi Emily. You have a special talent in flower decoration!

    My name is Adi, from Malaysia. I will be visiting Tokyo next week on business trip. I am an avid gardener. I am trying to find places where I can buy either Wisteria or Sakura tree/bonsai in Tokyo, small enough that can fit in my luggage :)

    I try to search from the internet but could not find any good reference in English. I will be staying at hotel near Chiyoda-Ku. Any garden centre or shop nearby where I can find these tree?

    I am sorry I found blog and noted that you are quite familiar with Tokyo and English speaking so I thought you can help to provide some tips.

    Thank you very much in advance.