Tuesday, 27 March 2018


This show attracts over 100,000 visitors and is reputed to be the largest of its kind in the southern hemisphere. To quote from their promotional material - "The prestigious Show is well established in the psyche of Australians as a 'must see' event".

Hello all,

The competition that I entered is called the Babtcare Shop Window Competition. The site dimensions are : 2.5 metres wide by 2.00 metres deep by 2.4 metres high. The theme for this year's competition was 'Blossoming with Age' and we were to write something about our interpretation of the theme and how our display related to it. I have to admit that I had some difficulty with this. Conceptual art is not my forte, so I took the following Haiku by Matsuo Basho and referenced it in my display.

This autumn -
why am I growing old?
bird disappearing among clouds

You may remember from my last post, the tragic loss of most of my willow tree. One small, silver lining of that catastrophe, was that I had big branches of willow, from which to choose to use in my display.

I was pleased to receive 'Second' in the competition.

The two photographs, below, were of entries in the same competition and were done by Sogetsu ikebanists.

Akemi Suzuki Fuller, an Ikebana International member

Shoan Lo

The Ikebana International exhibit, representing the five schools of ikebana in Melbourne.
They were awarded the Bronze medal.
On  Sunday, the last day of the show, five Ikebana International members did a demonstration on the main stage. I represented the Sogetsu school.

On the stage in deep concentration

The finished piece after I re-arranged it at home and
photographed it against a blank background

I, also, took photographs of the other four arrangements. However, because of the very busy background, they do not do justice to the lovely work, so I was not able to include them here.

I was very proud of my student Nicole McDonald, who, apart from studying ikebana, is a member of the Vermont Floral Art Society and who, together with Myrna Demetriou, was awarded the Second prize in the Victorian Floral Art Association competition.

Exhibiting in the Melbourne International Flower and Garden Show is quite an undertaking. It takes days of preparations, countless forms , such as Health and Safety to be filled and submitted, loading trailers and cars with materials, tools, ladders etc. As I've been exhibiting for many years and have a great deal of experience, I arrived at the Exhibition Building on Sunday afternoon, quite confident that I was properly prepared. Imagine my surprise when I walked up to my allocated site and found that it was made of completely new  material. Whereas previously, the walls enclosing each site were made of some sort of particle board covered by a black, carpet like fabric, these new walls were made of a stark, white metal. And, whereas I was previously able to hammer nails or put staples into the walls, I was now unable to do anything like that.

I had planned an autumnal scene for my exhibit  with a distinct mood. I had, also, planned a canopy from which I could suspend fishing line, which would hold up the gypsophila creating the 'clouds'. All my plans seemed impossible since I could not attach a single nail to the existing structure.

I bought 9 metres of very wide fabric in pale green, which I intended to attach to the walls to change the colour from what I thought was going to be black. I had cut and stitched the fabric to fit into the space but, then, had to spray the whole thing with a fire retardant spray. Finding the spray and applying it was another story altogether. Unbeknownst to me, the fabric shrank when it got wet and I only discovered it on Sunday when I tried to attach it. So, back home to re-cut and re-sew.

I had two things in my favour, my husband, Sam, who's really good at carrying heavy things and my brother-in-law, Peter, who was only there to provide us with his trailer but who stayed on to help with building a canopy that just sat on top of the walls of the site. Peter is a genius as a handyman.

All of the following day, I had the benefit of help from my sister, Lucy. She and I work very well together because we think alike and are quite good at problem solving. And, I can assure you, we had to use all of our resourcefulness and ingenuity to achieve our goal. Next day was Tuesday and I was on my own but, just when I needed someone to hold a branch for me to screw it onto another,Trish Ward, our president, arrived to see how I was doing and was promptly put to work.

I have always had to rely on help from my family members but never more so than this year. I'm very grateful to all of them, including Vicky, who was not with me but looked after mum leaving Lucy free to help me. I am truly blessed!

So, here it is, Tuesday night and I still have not finished putting away all the paraphernalia I brought back after dismantling my exhibit. Some of the material was still viable, so I made a couple of arrangements, because, God forbid, I should let anything go to waste!

The yellow orchids were from my exhibit and the New Zealand flax was left over
from my demonstration
I reused the amaranthus and nandina domestica nana and
I added the roses to complete this wall arrangement

Thank you for staying to the end of my rant. And now, utterly exhausted, I bid you Good Bye,

1 comment:

  1. Congratulations on receiving second place for your lovely Babtcare Shop Window arrangement. It is nice that you were able to give and Ikebana sendoff to some of your downed willow tree pieces.
    What an interesting story of your experience at the Melbourne International Flower and Garden Show! Thanks for sharing that experience because it makes ones I have been through seem tame:) I like your arrangements post exhibition and during your demo.