Urban Gardens


Last Friday, the very same day I wrote my Welcome to the Infinity Dream Award, Brenda and I decided to go out for an “healthy” walk, but before we reached the front door we had already planned an itinerary toward the Duchess Bakery for our first indulgence of the day: a pain au chocolat. On the way there we ran into some irresistible gardens, such as the one featured above, and Brenda started to document them on her phone. That little sign at the far right corner was the “déclencheur” and led to a series of pictures of our excursion.

On the way to Duchess, as well as on the way back home, we entered a couple of art galleries. First stop was the Bearclaw Galleryto have a look at some of  Aaron Paquette paintings. We have long admired his work and would be honoured to feature his work in our artist of the month program at Westwood Unitarian Congregation. After our coffee break we made a stop at The Daffodil Gallery, where I personally discovered the “inspirational art” of  Veronica Funk and  am excited we will be featuring one of her pieces at Westwood in November. More about these artists in future posts. Now back to our neighbourhood urban gardens.


Demonstration at Animethon


Floral interpretation of fireworks.

The Summer holidays have come and gone and we had an enjoyable time travelling to Creston, British Columbia, to visit with family and friends. We had our granddaughter Ella along for the ride as part of her 11th birthday celebration which is an event often carried over a couple of weeks. At times, some family birthdays were celebrated over a whole month, just ask our grandson Mylan. Enough digression.

I had hoped to write earlier about our flower arrangements, but weeks went by without any being done. We were to attend an ikebana workshop in Saskatoon at the end of July, unfortunately, the event was cancelled at the last minute. Not to despair, we had been invited to do a demonstration during Animethon 22 which took place this past weekend. During this festival, thousands of young people come to Edmonton to celebrate the popular arts of Japan, most notably, the anime, and many come dressed as their favorite character.


Yesterday, August 9th was the last day of the event, and for the second year, we offered a demonstration of ikebana.  The free style above was one of the arrangements done for the occasion. Other arrangements have been posted on our EJCA Ikebana Club website. To have a clearer picture of that event, please visit our contribution to Animethon 2014.

Tulips Shoka Isshuike



The Isshuike of tulips is a simple shoka arrangement, yet, as any Isshuike, one has to strictly adhere to the rules. Only two flower stems are used, one for shin and one for tai. It is important to use attached leaves as much as possible, if the leaves are not suitable, other leaves have to be cut from a stem and reinserted appropriately with the flower. Fortunately, tulips are plentiful in Spring gardens allowing us to practice this arrangement at this time. Today, my friend Miguel and I collected our material from his garden and produced the following arrangements.


Ikebana update

miguel paella party

It has been a while since I have posted any ikebana arrangements as there had been few special events of late. However, on April 18th, my friend and student, Miguel Ferrero organized a fundraising paella dinner for 100 guests, to benefit a girl’s school in Nepal supported by an Edmonton Buddhist group.  A week later, on April 25th, an earthquake hit the Kathmandu region, making relief help an immediate necessity. For the benefit dinner, Miguel had chosen some flower material which I arranged for him, the result being the above shoka shimputai of cucurma, bird nest fern and anthurium.

Last night, May 7th, we had a jiyuka (free style) lesson at the Edmonton Japanese Community Association’s Ikebana Club and our arrangements can be viewed on the Club’s web site.

Many ikebana events are coming over the next few months. At the end of May, I will be attending a special rikka workshop in Houston, Texas, during the local chapter’s Fiftieth Anniversary Symposium. Our headmaster, Sen’ei Ikenobo, will be offering an extensive demonstration for the occasion. There will be much to report upon my return.

In early June, the EJCA Ikebana Club has been invited to participate in the Kurimoto Japanese Spring Festival, where my students and I will exhibit a number of arrangements. I will also be offering a 45 minute live demonstration, as well as contributing a large arrangement to be exhibited at the gate of the Kurimoto Garden.

On the weekend of August 7th to 9th we will take part in Animethon 22 with a demonstration a day on the 8th and 9th, just as we did last year. Much to be looking forward to.

Shimputai of calla, bird nest fern and  chrysanthemum.

Shimputai of calla, bird nest fern and chrysanthemum.


Orchids and Ikebana



A while back, I signed up for a three week course on blogging offered by WordPress, our host. With daily assignments, it not only kept me on task, it also helped me refine my blog, and more importantly, it allowed us, students, to get to know a number of participants whose blogs we found appealing. We challenged each other, and at times felt influenced by one another. To make a long story short, this gave me the opportunity to discover Un pied ici, un pied là-bas, a blog that piques my traveler’s interests as well as feeds my need to read in French. Her previous post, L’Orchidée Made in France is a pleasure to read and a visual delight. It also gives me a strong desire to work with orchids more frequently.

In our exchange of comments I was asked if orchids are often used in ikebana, and I answered that it was but mostly in demonstrations and public exhibitions. I offered to do a post on this topic which was not a terribly wise move. Going through my own picture files, I only found two pictures of arrangements using orchids. The first one, above, is a simple freestyle (jiyuka) of dendrobium orchids and aspidistra leaves done as a demonstration for my students. The second arrangement, a gorgeous rikka, is the work of a colleague, and was part of a special exhibition for the 35th anniversary of the Vancouver Ikenobo Ikebana Chapter of which I am a member.




I had a look through a number of books from the Ikenobo collections and found numerous examples of arrangements featuring a variety of orchids. Orchids are frequently used in Japan where they are considered one of the four shikunshi or Noble Characters, the others being the chrysanthemum, the plum and the bamboo. By googling, I found that there are a number of indigenous orchids in Japan, whether they are used in ikebana, I couldn’t tell.

Having promised more than I could deliver, I googled once more not wanting to leave you hanging.  Here are numerous images of orchids in ikebana. Until next time I bid you farewell and thank you for visiting.