Japanese flowering quince has to be one of my favourite plants at this time of year, especially to use in ikebana.

This year in our garden the Japanese flowering quince, chaenomeles japonica, seems to have started flowering earlier than last year and more prolifically. I think it may be a result of the removal of a tree in our neighbour's garden that was sheltering the plant. Now it is exposed to the prevailing winds.

I took these photos this morning when it was sunny, 'though only 6 Celsius. Mild by some standards, but cool enough. The temperature may get down to 0 Celsius overnight during the next couple of months. However, living by the sea we rarely suffer frosts. 

On a different bush, given to me by my ikebana friend Joan, this white flower is the first for the season.

These buds are on yet another bush. This one is called Apple Blossom and the petals are soft pink and white. It was only planted last autumn and seems to have settled in well.

Ten days ago was Winter Solstice and I was interested in trying to capture the idea of the longest night and shortest day in an ikebana arrangement. The quince blossom seemed an ideal material, particularly as it allowed me to reduce the colours to red, black and white.


I have set the arrangement in a white bottle-shaped vessel, with a black design, against a dark background 

In this version of the arrangement, which I have had to reverse, I have created a background with a large dark area and a smaller white area to represent the different lengths of day and night at the solstice. 

Here is the arrangement against a plain white background.

And this is how it looked a week later in the niche in the living room. You can see that the blossoms that were fully opened have retained their colour and the more recently opened blossoms are pale.

The bottle-shaped vessel is by the ceramic artist Tadao Akutsu from Mashiko, Tochigi Prefecture Japan. 

Greetings from Christopher
1st July 2017

1 comment:

  1. One of my favorite times of the year for Ikebana is when the flowering branches are in bloom. By the time I return to Rochester it is mostly over with. It was nice to see your photos.
    I like your arrangement in the niche in that interesting container.