This week I attended the first meeting of the Sogetsu School, Victorian Branch for 2014. Following our Annual General Meeting a workshop was conducted by Theresa Feile. You can see some photos from the workshop on the theme of Disassembling and Re-constructing Material (click on the highlighted text).

Yesterday there was some raucous noise outside and I took this photo through the bathroom window. This fairly large bird, a Sulphur-crested Cockatoo, was feeding on the seedpods of the Yate in the garden. Fortunately it was not chewing on the window frames.

On Thursday I used the gently curving lines of some branches of the callistemon from our garden to demonstrate an upright arrangement for one of my new students. 

When I came home I decided to re-use the materials in a freestyle arrangement. I looked carefully again at the lines and realised that, in the vase I was going to use, they looked better placed on their side as they echoed the curve of the vase. I was also surprised that this rather stiff dry native material worked well with some small white roses. The ceramic vase is by Barry Singleton.

Greetings from Christopher
22nd February 2014


At the end of November last year I posted the photo, shown below, of an ikebana work using a succulent and 'unconventional material' created by Joan Norbury.

This week at the class with our teacher she showed me the photo below. She said the succulent arrangement had '...remained in that position (since the class) under a very wide eave and without the succulent receiving any water whatsoever…yet (it) continued developing and produced flower.'   

Here is the arrangement re-photographed last week, three months later without water. Some plants are amazingly resilient!

During the week I attended the first meeting of Ikebana International in Melbourne for this year. The theme for our exercise was 'Red Hot Tuesday', (click this link to the Ikebana International blog). In my interpretation of the theme I imagined the 45 degree Celsius, hot dry air of a couple of weeks ago that caused these Gymea leaves to burn. I have added a branch of driftwood from the beach and two orange flowers of Crocosmia Montbretia, an image of which can be seen on the lower right of the wikipedia page. The arrangement looks a bit odd as it is viewed from above. The vase is by Tom Cockram a ceramic artist from central Victoria.

Greetings from Christopher
16th February 2014


Our house backs on to an intermittent creek, pictured below, that at the moment is just a series of small pools and muddy bogs. 

This week has continued to be sunny, hot and dry. Because of the weather I decided to set my students the exercise of 'an arrangement of summer grasses in a basket'. I collected seven different grasses from the creek. Below is a native grass with a tight seed head and behind it fennel that has escaped from a nearby garden.

Here is some dock growing among bullrushes (called cattail in some countries), which are shown in the following photo. 

This photo shows sedge and in the lower part of the photo the green seed head of Down's nut grass.

Lastly the wiry bracken fern.

I have arranged the above photos in the sequence of their use from top to bottom in the naturalistic basket arrangement below.

Greetings from Christopher
8th February 2014


To continue last weeks floral theme, below is a photo of a bright orange corymbia in our neighbours garden that looked luminous in the bright sunshine yesterday.

We have had some very hot weather this summer with a week of days over 40 degrees Celsius a couple of weeks ago. Today it is 35 degrees C (95 Fahrenheit) in our garden. Below are two photos that I took yesterday afternoon of the near-by beach.


The summer in this part of Australia is hot and dry. So it is common for our gardens to look desiccated and wilted after such weather. Therefore it requires the growing of hardy plants as well as the use of mulch and appropriate watering for the garden to survive and look well.

This week I have tried to capture the feeling of the hot dry weather in my ikebana. I have used a piece of sun-bleached driftwood, some pale orange succulent flowers and a small amount of a hardy native cushion bush, leucophyta brownii that has beautiful silvery stems. If you look carefully at the bottom of the photo above you and see some growing on the cliff-face. 

Here it is growing in our garden.

"Summer days"

The cylindrical vase is by Jane Robertson from SouthAustralia.

Greetings from Christopher

2nd February 2014