A stroll through Kings Park Botanical Garden in Perth on Saturday morning offered views of the city and the Swan River as well as numerous beautiful banksias, of which there seem to be so many spectacular examples in Western Australia. I learned that 90% of all 170 banksia species occur only in south western area of Western Australia.


Below, the city from Kings Park Garden.

I was intrigued to come across this bush of Spinifex Longifolius, native to Western Australia apparently. It is beautiful for the density of its seed heads and is very similar to the introduced Marram Grass that grows in the sand dunes in Victoria.

My attention was caught also by this bright yellow flowering eucalyptus 

...and one of my favourites, eucalyptus macrocarpa I took the photo below, of the Macrocarpa flower, in June 2008 when we spent a couple of nights in Perth before going to Broome. It was not in flower at the time we visited the garden last week. However its leaves, which are a beautiful silvery blue-green, have a wonderful sculptural quality that look splendid anytime.   

We came across this large bush of Eucalyptus Macrocarpa in a private garden in Norseman, our first night stop on the journey back across the continent. 

On  last Saturday afternoon I spent a couple of hours with members of the Western Australian Branch of the Sogetsu School and had an opportunity to give a ‘slide-show’ presentation of the three months I spent in Tokyo in 2011. Below are some beautiful examples of ikebana created by Dav Rangel who kindly hosted the afternoon event in her home.

In January a website was established by the Western Australian Branch of the Sogetsu School Teachers Association. The 'activities' page has some photos of past exhibitions, check it out.

Also please look at Emily Karanikolopoulos' latest posting from Tokyo. I have provided links to both of these websites on the righthand side of this page. 

If you click on the blue highlighted text you may see more photos of our travels: Coming Home.

Greetings from Christopher
29th March 2014


Since last week's posting we have continued to explore the countryside around Denmark, Western Australia and enjoyed the beauty of this rather green patch of the south west of the continent. The soft powdery sand of the beaches is a bright white; I think because it comes from the limestone of which there is such a lot in this region. Hence this is also a well known wine grape growing region. There are also a lot of granite outcrops. The photo below is of me in Elephant Cove, William Bay National Park.

I have no idea what this plant is in the picture below. However, I couldn't resist photographing it because it was growing in pure sand on the beach.

Here is a close up of its' flower.

This banksia was growing in the heath above the beach. As this flower has finished, it obviously must flower in Spring. The leaves have a beautiful sculptural quality.

In the forest on our way further west to Margaret River I photographed this Bullanok (Kinga Australis). It looks very like the Grass Trees of the eastern states (Xanthorrhoeas) but is apparently a different genus.

The difference between these plants and Xanthorrhoeas is very apparent in their rather strange flowers, see the close up below.

While in Denmark we were delighted to catch up with Karin, a Sogetsu teacher, and her husband Bernd, whom I had met in Berlin in January 2013. We enjoyed a walk along an old railway line where we could admire the local flora.

Here is a photo of the lighthouse at Cape Leeuwin, the southwestern tip of Australia,

where the Indian Ocean and the Southern Ocean meet. A very blustery bit of coastline indeed.

This week's ikebana is a re-working of the theme of straight lines and a mass using belladonna lilies in another bamboo vase that I made from the bamboo of our friends' garden.

If you click on the blue highlighted text you may see more photos of our travels: From Denmark to Perth.

I am also delighted to provide a link to the new blog of the latest recipient of the Norman and Mary Sparnon Endowment Scholarship. This is my friend and colleague Emily Karanikolopoulos.

Greetings from Christopher


We have now been in the south western area of Western Australia, near Albany, for a week. This area is justifiably famous for the richness and diversity of its unique flora. I had hoped to be able to post a photograph of the Yate (Eucalyptus Lehmannii) in its native habitat. We grow it in our garden and I have used it as an ikebana subject on a number of occasions. However, I have not been able to photograph any yet. In stead here is a selection of flowers I have spotted by the roadside.

Swamp Bottlebrush Beaufortia sparsa is like a bright red beacon along the roadside.

This is a splendidly large bush of the Showy Banksia Banksia speciosa.

I am afraid I have not been able to identify this banksia. The second photo includes my hand so that you can get a sense of the size of the flower.

There are many Kangaroo paws growing wild. This green one seems to be the most common in this area.

I was astonished to see this pelargonium (Pelargonium capitatum) growing in the sand dunes.

Below are two photos of the Albany woolly bush (Adenanthos sericeus) native to the area. It is often used as a green 'filler' by florists in the eastern states.

Unfortunately I have not had the opportunity to make an ikebana arrangement with any native flora as they are protected species in the wild. However on a walk I came across these belladonna lilies that had escaped from an old farm garden. I realised their colour would compliment this beautiful ceramic bowl by Graeme Wilkie. 

Here is an extended version of the work incorporating a second bowl.

And a final version on a low table.

If you click on the blue highlighted text you may see more photos of our travels: AROUND DENMARK in WESTERN AUSTRALIA.  

Greetings from Christopher
15th March 2014


Over the past week we have driven a further 3,219kilometres west beyond Adelaide, from where I made my last post, and have arrived at the house of friends in Denmark Western Australia. After driving through very flat semi-arid countryside it has been a surprise to discover that this southwestern corner of Western Australia is quite wet and our friends have a lush garden that includes these stands of large bamboo.

Which led to an impromptu project to make some nageire vases from the bamboo.

My attention was caught by one large stem that had an interesting zig-zag section. Having my drills and dowels from the Adelaide workshop with me I set to work and created this three piece freestyle vase.

Here it is with an arrangement of materials from our hosts garden

For more photos of our travels click on the blue highlighted text, Crossing the Nullarbor.

Greetings from Christopher


On Thursday we drove 758 kilometres westward from Torquay in Victoria to Adelaide in South Australia. A long journey taking 8 1/2 hours driving time. We are going to drive across this wide flat dry continent to Western Australia so I plan to post some photos next week of our travels. 

On Saturday I visited the South Australian Branch of the Sogetsu School of Ikebana for whom I conducted a workshop, attended by thirteen members, on the theme of 'fixing techniques' . I also gave a 'slideshow' presentation of the three months I spent in Tokyo as the recipient of the Norman and Mary Sparnon Endowment Scholarship. Below are some photos of my demonstration.  

This included two wiring techniques and the use of dowels. The next three photos are of the examples that I created in the demonstration. Each of the participants practised making and example of the first wiring technique.

The participants then chose the appropriate technique to create a small sculptural structure that was then incorporated into an arrangement in the afternoon  session.

The process of critique of the finished works.

Below is a selection of some of  finished works. The first is by Cherie who used a single bamboo skewer dowel.

Chris used wiring and suspended a small ceramic vase in her structure.

In her second piece Cherie used long dowels that held the sections of birch apart. Here intention was to then colour the dowels with a bright contrast.

Mary used bamboo skewers for her dowels.

Eleanore used two types of wiring techniques.

Maureen used dowels in milled wood.

Yvonne used dowels with sections of birch.

Lorelei used dowels made from bamboo skewers.

The photos above were kindly taken by Lorelei and Eleanore. I was amazed to meet Eleanore again who had been a student colleague of mine some decades ago when we were both at the beginning of our working lives. Unexpectedly united by our passion for ikebana.

The photo below is my demonstration piece using the first wiring technique.

Greetings from Christopher
2nd March 2014