The first workshop on Saturday 22nd August, given by Yoshiro Umemura from Sydney, was on the two themes of: 'a vertical arrangement' and 'an arrangement using flowers only'. Now, to do this double exercise properly, one needs to be attentive to the traditional Japanese nomenclature of plants, with regard to ikebana. There are two principal classes: tree plants and grass plants. The category, 'grass plants' includes those plants that westerners think of mostly, as annuals and perennials, in which flowers are on stems that grow up directly from the ground. For example: iris, arum lilies, tulips, poppies and the like.  On the other hand, camellias are in the category of 'trees'. So are banksias. My good friend Heather has in her garden a most spectacular Banksia, a cultivar called Giant Candles * , with huge, long flower heads. Very suitable for a vertical arrangement, one would think. But not for the exercise that was set at the workshop!

While this is a vertical arrangement, I'm afraid it didn't meet the 'flowers only' criteria. (The bowl is by Phil Elson * .)

Meet my friend, the talented gardener, Heather (and her banksia).

It is pretty obvious why I was tempted to use these amazing flowers for the workshop. 


This flower-head was so heavy the branch couldn't hold it upright.

You can see photographic examples by people who got the exercise right at Workshop Number One * . The second workshop was on the two themes  of: 'a horizontal arrangement' and 'using leaves only'. Photos of the second exercise are below the first set of photos.

Photos of the Ikebana International exhibition that I mentioned last week will be posted in the next week or so.

Greetings from Christopher
5th September 2015

* Click on the blue text for further information.


  1. That Banksia tree is amazing! I didn’t realize it is considered a tree or that it grew that large. It was an interesting explanation of why your arrangement didn’t qualify for the lesson but it is a very pretty arrangement that I really like. I’m partial to field type materials for Ikebana.

  2. Oh wow! That looks so good in the Phil Elson bowl.