This week I attended the first meeting of Ikebana International (Melbourne) for 2015. Members are encouraged to create ikebana at the meetings, according to a particular theme. February's theme was 'Memories of Summer Holidays'. I have lived in the seaside town of Torquay, Victoria since childhood and so the first thing that springs to my mind of summer holidays is the beach. However, I learnt a long time ago that a beach is more than sand, water and sunshine. On the exposed cliff tops are wonderful works of nature as you can see below.

In this photo, above, at the edge of the low cliff is a clump of silver-grey cushion bush * (leucophyta brownii). 

On the sand dunes is found marram grass *(Ammophila), a species from the coasts of the North Atlantic Ocean, that has now naturalised in many parts of the world where it has been used to 'stabilise' sand dunes. I took the photo above on the east coast of Tasmania in 2011.

Also on the cliff face are found Moona trees (Melaleuca lanceoleta), a low growing tree that develops remarkably twisting branches in the prevailing winds that are a climatic feature of this region.

At the I. I. meeting I was given the task of explaining my interpretation of the theme and demonstrating how I created my ikebana to express my ideas about the theme. First I had to create a support fixture so that a Moona branch 'floated' across the top of the vase. In this instance I used a single length of dowel at a 45 degree angle into the vase that rested on the lip of the opening and which I inserted into the branch. Then I added carefully bundled groups of Cushion Bush, followed by the seed heads of Marram Grass that I had wired together.

A photo of me at the end of the demonstration. Here is a link to more images on the Ikebana International Melbourne blog.

Above is my first version of this ikebana that I made at home to ensure that the 'mechanics' would hold up and that my ideas were appropriately expressed. The vase is wood-fired ceramic with a shino glaze made by Sergio Sill, a New South Wales potter. The red colour of the glaze has a hot dry, Australian summer feel.

Greetings from Christopher

14th February 2015

Click on the coloured text for further information


  1. The marram grass and cushion bush are interesting. I have never seen either before and they look like fun material to play with. The moona tree branches are great for Ikebana. I am partial to dry materials arrangements and yours is lovely in that beautiful vase. Thanks for sharing.

    1. Dear Gail,
      I am pleased that you have enjoyed this posting. I have been checking on the internet and cannot find images of marram grass seeds of the kind we see here in Australia (and New Zealand). Photos on the web show grasses with tall upright seed heads. I intend to ask someone who may be able to tell me where the grass originates.


  2. Beautiful composition and use of materials. Would have loved to see your fixture in more detail. Your are quite the mechanic! Best to you both, Michael.

    1. Dear Michael,
      I will send you a photo of the fixing mechanism when I get a chance. I'm pleased that you like the arrangement.