Wednesday, 31 May 2017

Viburnum Opulus branch,cotoneaster horizontalis berries (red) and melia
berries (green)

We are becoming more and more conscious of reducing waste in all aspects of our lives. This includes our ikebana, where we are encouraged to reuse materials as much as possible. Mr Kawana made a particular point of this in one of his very early visits to Melbourne and I have been trying to follow his instructions as much as possible.

The same vine in a wall arrangement
 with hydrangea and echinops

'Arrangement Using Vine'
Wisteria, cotoneaster berries and hydrangea

'Dried Bleached or Coloured Material'
Coloured Acacia aphyla, horsetail and peones

The same horsetail with rose

I made this arrangement with some leftover materials but I wasn't completely happy with it. When we were discussing this in class, I realized what it was that bothered me about it. The mahonia flowers were placed naturalistically, whereas the leaves were more modern.

 So, I gave it a 'haircut'. I think it's an improvement

And once the mahonia flowers died, I replaced them with this hydrangea

You may remember, on a previous post, my delight in all my beautiful agapanthus flowers. Well, I was much less delighted when I had to remove them all after they died. It was a long and tiring job but it gave me the opportunity to play around with flowers and stems.

'Only one kind of material'

The same arrangement a week later
Agapanthus stems
Bye for now,

Tuesday, 23 May 2017


We are very lucky in Melbourne to have four distinct seasons, especially for us Ikebanists, and I love all four. But autumn here is so stunning it takes my breath away. I have many deciduous trees and shrubs, which lift my spirits as I watch them changing colours. And raking the leaves on a sunny autumn afternoon would have to be one of my favourite pass times. Unfortunately, due to a shoulder injury, I can only do so a little at a time.

In the photograph, above, I started to rake the leaves from the mature golden elm but then had to stop and hand the job over to my lawn mower man, David. He used his efficient, albeit noisy blower to collect them into a large pile. Before I distribute them into my garden beds as mulch, I will give the grandchildren a chance to play in them. Also, I draw your attention to the state-of-the-art tree house that my neighbour and his son built on this, my favourite of my trees.


In our first lesson after my return, the senior students were set the theme 'Composition Expressing a Movement'. I attended a workshop on this theme in Tokyo. The first sentence in this lesson reads as follows: 'Create a composition by developing its idea from a verb of movement'. We had a great deal of fun thinking up different verbs that we could represent in our arrangements, so much so, that we didn't know when to stop. I'm including only some of tthe work that was produced.

'Bouncing' - Bredenia 
'Drpping'- Lucy 

'Balancing' - Lucy 

'Cascading'- Emily
'Tickling' - Emily
'Excluding' - Vicky
'Curling' - Vicky

'Saluting' - Vicky

I leave you with a freestyle arrangement using my favourite camellia, 'Kamo Hon Ami' and viburnum opulus branches in this cheeky vase.

Bye for now,

Sunday, 14 May 2017

HAPPY MOTHER'S DAY to all the mums out there.

Last Tuesday we had our Ikebana International meeting where my sister-in-law Toula Karanikolopoulos was the demonstrator. Our theme was Using Paper in Ikebana, which is part of the lesson 'Unconventional Materials'. Toula used scrunched up paper that she died in subtle, pastel colours and added origami pieces to one side. She used New Zealand Flax and Singapore orchids in a container that she made herself.

Emily Karanikolopoulos

I wanted to use this Washi Paper that I made in Tokyo recently with my friend Emiko. But using an A4 piece of paper in an arrangement was quite challenging. This was one way to use it, almost flat, to showcase the details in the paper. I used aspidistra leaves and crucifix orchids.

Emiko Chishima in deep concentration making
her Washi Paper.

Below are just a few examples of arrangements using paper. For more photographs please go to our blog -

Christopher James
Betty Karanikolopoulos

Margaret Wilson

Nicole McDonald
After my absence from home and garden, I returned to find the Monstera Deliciosa flowering prolifically. Of course, I was compelled to arrange some of the flowers. In the arrangement, below, I used 5 flowers and three strelitsia leaves in a container I made myself many years ago. The copper strips pick up some colours in the container, which, unfortunately can't be seen in the photo. The flowers are very rigid and heavy making them difficult to place in an arrangement and the 'hood' of each flower falls away easily due to its weight.

Bye for now,