This week, as we were out walking, the distinctive cry of a Gang-gang Cockatoo caught our attention. The call of this bird is like the sound of a cork being pulled from a bottle; or like a squeaky door hinge. 

This particular bird was happily feeding on the nectar of a street tree, a cream-flowered eucalyptus. 

It was only a couple of metres above our heads and appeared quite unperturbed by our presence. This was a male bird, identifiable by the red feathers on its head.

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Last weekend I attended a Sogetsu Branch workshop lead by Lara Telford. Her theme was 'Wabi-sabi in Ikebana'. I would like to recommend the excellent article on this concept, which arises from Buddhist philosophy, in Wikipedia Wabi-sabi

As the weather has become colder I have been watching my hydrangea flowers pass from their early autumn greenness to being mottled with dark pink-red spots. This, I thought, would make a suitable subject for the workshop where we would be paying attention to that beauty which is to be found in imperfection. I posted the photo below in 2014...

...this shows a paler version of this year's colouring of the hydrangea. In the workshop I arranged this year's large, richly coloured flowerhead on a long arching stem with only a couple of leaves.

Lara correctly pointed out that it was too beautiful (!) for the exercise. I hope you can imagine my pain when I recognised that she was right. So the large beautiful flower had to go. I bravely cut the flower off, leaving only a single fading leaf on the stem and a smaller flower with a group of leaves at the opening on the vase.

I re-set the arrangement when I got home against a grey background.

This photo shows just how right Lara was in her critique. The focus of the arrangement has become the leaf with its final autumn colouring before it falls. The feeling is one of loneliness.

Greetings from Christopher
15th July 2017

The vase is by Graeme Wilkie of Qdos Gallery.


  1. Wonderful arrangement and critique. Love the curve in the branch echoing the curve in the vase. Warmest regards to you both, Michael


  2. You piqued my interest in the call of the Gang-gang Cockatoo, which I had never heard of, so I went to Youtube and found a few videos I watched. It was very interesting to see and hear this bird, thanks for sharing this experience.

    That is a beautiful hydrangea you grow and I can feel your pain of having to cut away a lovely large flower, especially after seeing how nice it looks in your 2014 arrangement. I enjoyed going to the link you posted to see the arrangements made using the wabi sabi philosophy.