I was delighted to receive an email from a Japanese friend last week who had looked at the previous weeks post with her children. She wrote to me saying: 'We were surprised to look at the very interesting animal like a Kenzan''. What a great description, I thought! To my surprise this afternoon when I came home from a walk here was the echidna again, this time on my garden path. I have only once before seen an echidna in the garden. Because they have very poor vision I was able to get some close-up photos by keeping very still.

Here it is walking through the leaf litter looking for ants. 


Earlier in the day I was walking through the Royal Botanic Gardens in Melbourne and noticed this bright red Virginia creeper on the old house that used to be the residence of the Director of the gardens.

At a distance I could see that some of the creeper had engulfed the trunk of a large tree. This photo is taken with a zoom lens so it is not quite so clear.

Once again the subject of my ikebana is Autumn. My teacher set 'using berries or fruiting branches' as the exercise at last weeks class. The bottle shaped vase is from Mashiko. I was pleased how well the reds of the berries and grapevine and the yellow of the Dancing Lady Orchid went with this vase. 

Greetings from Christopher
28th April 2013


A few days ago it was very warm and the sky was dark and cloudy. I think that is the reason this cute, but not cuddly, echidna (also known as a spiny ant eater) was wandering around our street looking for some ants to eat (see: ). These creatures are usually very shy and do not come out of their day-time hiding places until dusk. At least one of them regularly roams around our garden at night digging it up while searching for ants.

A couple of weeks ago I showed an image of a Gang-gang cockatoo in a eucalyptus, eating nectar from flowers. I decided they would make a good subject for the 'no-kenzan' arrangement exercise, using two vessels, set by my teacher. This is a great exercise in creating space within the arrangement. I was not completely happy with the result. I think there is a little too much symmetry in the lines at the centre of the work. However, I was delighted to discover just how beautiful this material is when the leaves are removed and think it will be worth working with these branches again in the future.

Greetings from Christopher

20th April 2013


Three weeks ago I showed the image below of the 'shop window' installation at the Melbourne International Flower and Garden Show, by Toula and Betty Karanikolopoulos, members of the Victorian Branch of the Sogetsu School. I had failed to register at the time that they had been awarded a fourth place for their very striking design.

Last Tuesday I attended the monthly meeting of Ikebana International in Melbourne, our capital city. A workshop was held with the theme of Autumn grasses. There was a wonderful variety of interpretations, from the naturalistic to the expressionistic, of this traditional ikebana motif. The first image is of the demonstration example created on the day by Lee Johnstone.

Next by Elizabeth Angell.

Emily Karanikolopoulos,

Robyn Unglik,

Toula Karanikolopoulos,

Glenys Beissel.

I would like to draw your attention to the right-hand column of this blog. I have recently added images from all of the last nine years of collaborative exhibitions of ceramics and ikebana at Qdos Gallery in Lorne. Click on the link under the heading Qdos Exhibitions. Also I have created a link to the Nordic Lotus blog of Lennart Persson who is a Sogetsu practitioner in Oslo, Norway. I recommend his blog for the excellence of his personal explorations into the history and meaning of ikebana.

Greetings from Christopher
13th April 2013


In the warm early autumn weather some of our Australian trees are flowering. A few days ago I noticed these cream gum flowers on the grass beside the footpath. 


I then saw red flowers strewn on the grass.

They came from this tree. I think it is Eucalyptus Leucoxylon, (click on highlighted words for more pictures). This tree can have either cream, pink or red flowers and is a popular street tree in our area. 

And this is the creature that was doing the 'strewing'. The blossoms are rich in nectar and very attractive to this subtly beautiful parrot called a Gang-gang Cockatoo (Callocephalon fimbriatum). This is a female, the male has a red crest. You can see an image of him at:
I like the description of their call as being squeaky ' a cork being pulled from a wine bottle.' (before it pops).

This weeks ikebana is an exercise in re-using. The flowers are the delightfully fragrant Abelias that I used in last weeks grass arrangement. The bottle shaped vase is by Barry Singleton. The graceful natural curve of the branches almost caused the flowers to arrange themselves.

Greetings from Christopher 
6th April 2013