Over the last week Laurie and I have travelled nearly 2000 kms north to Brisbane. We drove through the centre of New South Wales which is very flat and generally dry as you can see from the photos below.

If you look carefully in the bottom left of this photo below you can see the Parkes Radio-telescope.

Inland from the Gold Coast of south east Queensland we also stayed with some friends where we visited a rainforest nature reserve.

The rainforest was on Mt Tamborine which is relatively cool and wet and where the camellias flourish.

Before we left Torquay our Cootamundra wattle (acacia baileyana) came into full bloom.

I was keen to use it for this ikebana in a box-shaped vessel by Julie Shaw a ceramic artist from Ocean Grove, near Torquay. By the time we return to Victoria the blossom will be nearly finished.

Greetings from Christopher
Mt Tamborine
27th July 2013


After some research I can reveal that the large dried fig leaf in last week's arrangement was Ficus dammaropsis from Papua New Guinea. The leaves can grow to about 60cms. Here are a couple of photos.

A few weeks ago we were invited to the christening of the new baby daughter of some of our friends. We were delighted to be given a long stemmed rose each as we left the church. The flowers lasted well, so I made this small arrangement using some pine left over from my Tanabata arrangement.

I have used a small egg-shaped vase that I bought in Seto City in Japan in 2006.

My teacher set us an exercise of a horizontal arrangement using dried material as the principal subject. I found some dried branchlets from the huge flower stem of a 'blue' Agave americana. They look like antlers and I thought such visually strong material went well with the burnt orange lilies in this large black vase by Alistair Whyte that I also used on 22nd June.

Greetings from Christopher
20th July 2013


At class recently my teacher set a 'simple arrangement' as the exercise. This was interesting because it was not an arrangement that was made then simplified. From the start it needed to be uncomplicated. I felt that it would work better to use strong and distinctive material. For the first ikebana I used a large dried leaf of a fig (sorry, unidentified type) and a single large white chrysanthemum. The vase is a stainless steel cone with holes of differing sizes. 

My second work for the class was single branch of Yate (eucalyptus lehmannii) with two flowers. This is from the tree in our garden as used also on the 29th June blog posting.The vase is by Barry Singleton, a ceramic artist from Castlemaine in Victoria. This work required some ikebana mechanics so that the stem arises from the centre of the vase and does not lean against the edge nor does it touch the bottom of the vase.

Greetings from Christopher

13th July 2013


There are a number of very interesting Australian plants that flower during winter. This 'Pincushion' Hakea (Hakea laurina) in the photo below is growing in our neighbours garden. It is a hardy medium sized shrub or small tree with thick leaves that have a slightly grey tinge and comes from Western Australia. 

The flowers are quite fascinating in shape. When I was a child they grew in the school ground and I thought they looked like a sky rocket firework exploding!

This close-up shows a flower just opening and the styles emerging from the rich pink centre are bent like hairpins, these subsequently straighten out. Clusters of the nuts are also visible on the branch. 

I decided to create a horizontal arrangement and have removed many leaves on the right branch, particularly above the line. This contributes to the reach of the branch in that direction. On the left-hand side I have removed almost all of the leaves below the branch. The vase is ceramic artist Graeme Wilkie.

(Click on blue text for further information)

Greetings from Christopher
6th July 2013