Friday, 23 November 2018


Hello all,
Above is the photograph of a New Year arrangement I made for the last Ikebana International meeting for the year. I had, actually, prepared a much larger and more involved arrangement for this occasion, however, it would have been difficult to pack into the car and carry all the materials to the venue. So I quickly put together this simple arrangement using two of my favourite containers, sprayed strelitzia reginae leaves and 'Mr Lincoln' roses. For more photographs from our meeting please go II Melbourne.

Below is the original arrangement. The branch material is from the date palm after the fruit have fallen. The leaves were still attached, so I covered them with paper whilst praying the branches silver, then covered the branches whilst spraying the leaves gold. I used pine, ornithogalum and hippeastrum. The container is an asymmetric lacquered suiban, which Lucy brought back for me from Vietnam.



You may remember  on a previous post that I mentioned the Box Hill Floral Art exhibition. My student, Nicole McDonald is a member of the group and took part in the 'Glass with Class' competition. I'm very proud to announce that she won first prize. Below is a photograph of her piece. She used weeping willow and strelitzia reginae.


And now for class.

Shaneen's piece, below, is of the theme 'Emphasizing Straight Lines' and she made it in her self made ceramic container

Bull rushes and green Goddess lilies


Close-up of the container. . Shaneen used crushed glass in the
depression but is not visible























At a recent class I wanted to challenge the advanced students so I provided containers for each one that they had not used before and three different materials, at least one of which they had not used before. I, also, wanted to be challenged, so I asked Lucy to pick a container and materials for me to use.

 Lucy chose Japanese maple, New Zealand flax and a succulent,
the name of which I don't know. The container is one I made
at the Sogetsu kiln

















This is how I arranged the quite disparate materials. And, yes
it was challenging!
Nicole used Japanese maple, spuria iris and aspidistra leaves
in one of my self made containers
Vicky used mahonia, spuria iris and euphorbia



















Bredenia used stripped fern, leaves and flower of what I
think is curculigo and roses







Lucy used gymea leaves, green Goddess lilies and yucca
flower stem





















Strelitzia reginae and variegated
agave















Two views of the same arrangement.
I think it works well as an example of an
arrangement to be viewed from all sides
















I made this next arrangement because I had a number of these Siberian iris flowers which are very short lived but which I love for their vivid blue colour. I used the citrus yellow container for contrast.




Bye for now,
Emily






Sunday, 11 November 2018

Weeping willow, tall bearded iris, helleborus and Japanese maple


Hello all,
Every spring I like to make this type of 'pond arrangement'. I mainly use this suiban that I made many years ago, on the bottom of which, I laid crushed coloured glass, which melted during firing. The result is a water-like surface, well suited to  this type of arrangement.

I've included a close-up of the stunningly beautiful, tall bearded iris that I used here. The rhizome was given to me by my student, Shaneen Garbutt but she doesn't know its name. I consulted my Irises book and it looks like it might be 'Houdini'. If anyone knows otherwise, please let me know.



Close-up of the bottom of the suiban




Another spring arrangement using my much-prized vases, which were a gift from my daughter and son-in-law.
Japanese maple, roses, euphorbia characias, tall bearded iris and ornithogalum
The foliage of Japanese maple is usually so dense that we have to thin it out considerably to lighten it and to reveal the stems and to create space. For the above arrangement I removed as much material as I had left on the branches. See below


We had considerable frost damage in our garden this year and one of the casualties was my monstera deliciosa. Once the danger of further frosts was over, I gave it a very hard pruning. Much of the material went into the compost bin but a number of interesting cuttings simply could not be discarded. Hence the arrangements below.
















Both arrangements lasted for more than two weeks despite the fact that their stems were not in water. However, the fruit started to peel away and become messy, so had to go. According to a You Tube video, this fruit (also known as Fruit Salad Fruit) is edible but only where the outer skin has peeled away by itself. If you try to hasten the peeling process and eat the underneath you might regret it. I have many of them growing, so I will put it to the test and let you know.














In my last post I included a photograph of an arrangement using three strelitsia nicolai flowers. These are quite striking but the white petals are fragile and brown easily. In contrast the dark 'casing', if I can call it that, is very strong, making it physically quite difficult to ease out the delicate and fragile new petals from inside these tough exteriors.

Also, the weight of the flowers caused them to droop downwards after a while, so, after removing all dead material and dividing the flowers, I re-arrangement them into two new arrangements.

Original arrangement




















Finally, I leave you with this cheeky little arrangement. The ornithogalum had this interesting stem and required nothing more that a container in which to display it. I bought this little ceramic container in Athens in 1988, long before I started learning ikebana in 1991.

Bye for now,
Emily