As I write this post on Saturday morning, some showers have arrived with very strong winds. The rain is a great relief for the garden as we have had a very dry summer. Our 13,500L rainwater tank, which I have been using for the garden, is nearly empty.  

A couple of days ago I noticed some large cracks in the ground beside the road in front of the house. These form in extra dry weather because about 60cm below the ground surface is solid clay, which shrinks considerably when it is dry. Such are the conditions that make growing of exotic plants difficult in our garden. 

One of life's lessons is to accept the realities of what is going to grow in the circumstances of our gardens in spite of being drawn to the exotic, and to enjoy the unique beauty to be found there.

Here is an unexpected bit of beauty I came across yesterday. It is the well camouflaged cocoon of a case moth that usually feeds on eucalyptus and native cypress species. It also likes silver birch and pinus species apparently. I haven't noticed one for a long time and it took me back to childhood memories of finding them in my parents' garden.

One success I have had with exotic plant species in the last year is this variegated miscanthus that was given to me by my ikebana colleague Margaret Leung. It has flourished because I have kept it in a well watered pot in a protected position. To the left in the background you can see an autumn- coloured hydrangea. 

Taking inspiration from an Ohara School ikebana colleague, Sally Wilkinson, I decided to use the same materials in this week's ikebana.

This is my first version in the living room niche. My intention was to focus on the autumn colours, in the hydrangea flower and in the margins of the large leaf on the right hand side. They are vey close to the maroon of the traditional-shaped vase. However, I concluded that the miscanthus was too dominant, distracting from the main subject.

My solution was to lower the miscanthus by cutting it into shorter sections, and creating more space between the two hydrangea heads. The leaf is a little further forward and is better shown. This ikebana arrangement is one way to interpret the Sogetsu curriculum theme, 'Taking into account the colour of the vase'

Greetings from Christopher
14th April 2018

1 comment:

  1. I understand the problems of clay soil since that is what I have in Rochester. I live in an area that use to be a brick yard in the 1800s so during prolonged heavy rains we can end up with a pond in the back yard and the cracked soil during extreme dry periods of drought.