In a Vase on Monday: the Ikebana Challenge

Those of you who follow this meme will know that our wonderful host Cathy, at Rambling in the Garden, has set us a challenge for today; to ‘have a go’ at an ikebana style vase.

At first I felt very daunted; many years ago I spent some time teaching in Japan, and one of my students was a Buddhist priest who I taught at his amazing home and temple. His beautiful wife was schooled in all the skills her position required, such as singing, performing the tea ceremony, and of course Ikebana. I often admired her stunning creations. Later on, a visit to a presentation for tourists explaining the background to Ikebana reinforced the idea in my mind that this was an art way beyond my comprehension.

However, as this past week progressed, and with encouragement from my sister, I found myself looking at Pinterest, contemplating the possibilities with the tools and plants I have at my disposal, and planning what I might try out.  And I started looking forward to participating!

So here we are:


One tall Allium sphaerocephalon, a Hydrangea flower and some Crocosmia leaves cut off at an angle, all inserted into floral foam.

The second vase was intended as a backup should this planned one fail:


The vase itself was a present from my sister. 🙂 The three stages of the Leucanthemum at different heights are tied together with grass, albeit invisibly.

I have always hesitated at cutting day lilies as they do only last a day, but the ephemeral nature seemed fitting for a Japanese theme, so this final effort was a simple ‘playing around’ with some props from my time in Japan, and the burnt orange day lily cut right at the base of the flower:


(Those chopsticks were the ones I used on a daily basis, carried around in my bag in a special case, to avoid the wasteful use of the throwaway chopsticks used at every eating place.)

This was so much fun, despite the intense heat which forced me to give up on capturing the first vase exactly as I wanted. The vase itself, however, was extremely satisfying as it was very simple to put together once planned.

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A big thank you to Cathy for hosting, and to her and all the other bloggers who post vases on a weekly basis for being so encouraging and inspiring – you are an incredible crowd!