#102 Learn to Arrange Flowers — in an Ikebana Style

Almost everyone has a special skill, although sadly, many of us don’t acknowledge it.

Praise someone who can sing in tune, and they’ll shrug and say ‘anyone can do that,’ but for those of us who are pitch imperfect, that’s just not true.

In a similar vein, people who can arrange flowers to look effortlessly gorgeous don’t understand how some of us struggle to coax a single rose to stand up in a narrow specimen vase.

So a recent opportunity to

#102 Learn to Arrange Flowers — in an Ikebana style

with a group of friends was too good to pass up.

Freshly gathered, awaiting expertise

Ikebana is the ancient Japanese art of flower arranging and is governed by 7 Principles: silence, minimalism, shape & line, form, humanity, aesthetics and structure.

As we were good friends teaching ourselves how to cut and measure and determine correct angles using videos and Youtube demonstrations, you’ll understand that the first Principle of Ikebana went out the window in no time.

But we embraced the concepts of minimalism, of using simple shapes and lines (based on a triangular pattern) and eschewed busy-looking, heavy, symmetrical Western designs with gusto.

Just as pleasing was discovering that the small metal, spiked flower base many of us found at the back of our vase cupboards—

aka spiky frog

is a specific device used in Ikebana called a kenzan.

While I know the designs we created are not true examples of Ikebana (hence I’m calling this blog post in an Ikebana style) we were thrilled with the results, marvelling how creating an elegant flower design doesn’t have to be a daunting task after all—even in the middle of winter with sparse pickings.

Another bonus of this activity was discovering a hidden flower growing among my narcissus in the back garden at home.

Called an Erlicheer jonquil (not an obscure Latin term, but named because it’s an early-flowering specimen guaranteed to cheer you up in winter!) it’s a new favourite.

I’m imagining a mass planting of this fragrant beauty in my front garden next year!

8 thoughts on “#102 Learn to Arrange Flowers — in an Ikebana Style

  1. Katherine Muirhead

    GORGEOUS! – Loved the comment regarding the first principle of Ikebana 😂. Minimalism is the one I need to practise. Ikebana is one of the most enjoyable and least stressful forms of ‘craft’ I have ever tried. Spring will be fun this year!

    1. outsidethesquare101 Post author

      That’s so true, Kate. I received a bunch of native flowers last week, so I divvied them up and made x4 minimalist (but lovely) arrangements for every room in the house! No stopping us now 😊

  2. judy Wilkinson

    /Users/judy/Pictures/Photos Library.photoslibrary/resources/proxies/derivatives/15/00/155d/UNADJUSTEDNONRAW_thumb_155d.jpg
    Just 3 blooms in the garden!!!! Our mother love doing Ikebana and I remember a few efforts, which were lovely


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