Last week I commented on the cold weather and said that ' by the sea we rarely suffer frosts...', hmmm, talk about famous last words. The very next morning...

...a patina of light grey covered the ground.


This leaf outlined with frost must have fallen from the apricot tree only the day before.

The birdbath was frozen solid.

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A couple of weeks ago, my teacher set us an exercise from the new Book 5 of the Sogetsu curriculum: An arrangement set on the Table. Among the points of consideration are whether the arrangement will be seen from all angles, that its height does not interfere with the guests' line of sight, and that it is in harmony with other aspects of the table setting.

Below are my fellow students' creations from that class:

Dianne used a 'finger citron' and two variegated leaves in this stylish modern arrangement.

Toula used four matching vases in which she arranged camellias and cotoneaster branches. She removed all the leaves from the branches to emphasise the berries and branch lines.

Marilyn used two complementary shallow vessels. She arranged her camellia branches to arch between them creating a long narrow arrangement.

Swan used a long narrow vessel in which she arranged 'spinning gum' branches and a line of yellow chrysanthemums.

In thinking about this exercise beforehand, I decided to use three matching cup-shaped vases by the Bendigo potter Ray Pearce. Their external appearance reminds me of heavily appliqu├ęd patchwork fabric. The glaze is an olive coloured celadon. Initially I thought to use my cotoneaster branches in a naturalistic manner. However, the branches looked too fussy against the vases, which I found to be unexpectedly visually strong. 

I then decided a strong contemporary design was needed. Using some short lengths of sedge leaves braced across the vases, I removed the berries from the branches and floated them on the surface of the water in crescent shapes that I had created. This massing of the berries significantly increased the impact of their red colour.

Here are the vases re-set on the dining table at home.

Greetings from Christopher
9th july 2017


  1. Seeing the frost on the leaves reminds me of late October over here in Rochester, NY. If there are still leaves on the trees a frost will drop the ones that have changed color but are still hanging on. This shortens the cleanup time somewhat.

    The arrangements are lovely. I especially like that bold yellow on the black display board, very eye catching. I thought the spinning gum looked familiar so Googled it and found out it is eucalyptus and that in your area it grows as a tree! In Rochester you can grow it as a perennial. I only find eucalyptus in the flower section of my local supermarket or from the wholesale florist.
    Say hi to Laurie for me:)

  2. Love how you have created such boldness with red berries and your use of negative space to highlight the water. Best regards, Michael