Late Spring is the season for the most spectacular of the Grevilleas (G. robusta. see: I saw this one in the Domain Gardens in Melbourne and was delighted to be able to take a close-up of the flowers on a low hanging branch.

As you can see this particular Grevillea grows into a substantial tree. The one we planted in our garden has a long way to go!

This week my teacher set a revision exercise from book two of the Sogetsu curriculum. 'Variation five', in this case 'upright'. I have used Magnolia Grandiflora from the garden of my office and two Strelitzia flowers from our garden. The suiban is larger than it looks in the photo and the forward movement of the left and right hand sides of the work is lost with foreshortening. Because the suiban is large this arrangement allows space between the two groups of the material and on the righthand side to show the surface of the water.

Greetings from Christopher 

25th December 2012


Today I was delighted to see the first flower on a Grevillia I had planted about three years ago. Because of the poor water holding capacity of our soil its growth has been rather slow and as you can see in the second picture the plant is still quite small. Eventually it should reach two metres or so.

Recently my teacher set an exercise of making ikebana using roses with leaves, grass or reeds. I used three New Zealand flax leaves from the garden and a single red rose. 

The rose didn't last well so I re-worked the arrangement with a single Strelitzia. I think the balance was a bit more successful the second time. However, I have lost impact of the surface of the water in this deeper suiban.


 If you scroll down to last week you will be able to see the names of the ikebanists with the works shown that I added after I first posted the entry.

Greetings from Christopher 
18th November 2012


This weekend I came up to Sydney as the guest of the New South Wales Branch of the Sogetsu Teachers Association to give a workshop and a presentation about the time I spent in Japan last year as the recipient of the Norman and Mary Sparnon Endowment Scholarship. 
On Saturday afternoon we had afternoon tea with my sister-in-law on the terrace of the Museum of Contemporary Art with the opera house in the background. In this picture are Laurie, me and Julie, Laurie's youngest sister.

Australia's most famous building.

The theme of the workshop was 'Having in Mind Water'. I asked the attendees to think about how they might make ikebana with this theme. Such ikebana can show the surface of the water, show its translucence in a glass vase, imply water by using water associated plants or try to indicate the movement of water. Therefore some of these works may not actually show the water. 

Here are two of my examples. First, ripples on a pond.

Second, splashing rain.

Below are nine ikebana works created by some of the attendees. I was not able to photograph all of the works, here is a selection of them. I hope you can see and feel the intention of the ikebanists. They are by:

 Jorgen Rasmussen.


Ann Smith


Masae Ako

Evelyn Lines


Joan Perkins


Margaret Hall

Sandra Cottee

Kevin Walpole

Shirley Ma

Greetings from Christopher, in Sydney,
11th November 2012.


The pictures below were taken on a rather cold over-cast day a couple of weeks ago in the bushland about 10 minutes drive from our house. I wanted to show this splendid flowering Xanthorrhoea in its natural setting.

My ikebana this week uses two arum lily leaves in a black vase by Alistair Whyte.

This last week our TV and newspapers have shown images of the terrible ravages resulting from the converging hurricane and storms in the east of north America. My thoughts go particularly to friends in the USA and Canada who share our joy in ikebana and who may have suffered losses.

Greetings from Christopher 
4th November 2012