During the week I gave a class in which a student, Margaret, used a charred branch in the exercise 'Using dried and fresh materials' The first challenge was how to position the branch. I suggested creating a 'cradle' using two forked sticks inserted into a kenzan. This allowed the branch to float above the vase.

To this were added three arum lilies. Unfortunately they had not really opened sufficiently at the time. But we were confident they would do so over the next couple of days. 

In the same class Niki created an arrangement to be '...viewed from all angles…' in this interesting footed vase.

For another class this week I selected some Coastal Sword Sedge (Lepidosperma gladiator click on the blue text for further information), to demonstrate to students that freely available material can be used to striking effect in creating ikebana. In researching this plant that grows naturally close to our house I was delighted to discover its name. Clearly it was called 'l. gladiator' because of its long sword-shaped leaves. Below is a photo of a dense clump.

This photo shows a close-up of the brown flowerhead which grows on a broad bladed stem.

I have found the leaves can readily be curved into graceful shapes. On the class-room table the strong forward thrust of the right-hand line looked quite dramatic but too long for the over-all balance.

I drew the long line back into the arrangement to create a swirl of lines floating above the vase with a satisfying sense of movement. 

Greetings from Christopher
14th June 2014

Emily Karanikolopoulos returned home yesterday from her three months in Japan as the fourth recipient of the Norman and Mary Sparnon Endowment Scholarship. You can see her latest blog posting by clicking on the blue text; Emily in Tokyo.


  1. The Sword Sedge leaves are a truly graceful touch. It reminds me to keep my eyes open in nature to discover new materials to use in ikebana.

  2. I love the idea of using the chard piece of wood and the container was such a nice match for it. All the arrangements are lovely and as always I am fascinated by the native materials of your country and enjoy seeing them in use. I enjoy and look forward to your posts.

    1. Dear Gail,
      thank you for your comments. I agree about the students choice of charred wood and the excellent match with the vase. I will pass your comment on to Margaret.