My Ikebana: Splitting Palm Leaves

Added on by the ikebana shop.

There are two noteworthy points about this arrangement.  First, 2 nageire containers were used.  They were "joined" together using a spirally steel hanadome.  Second, palm leaves were split and ripped lengthwise, transforming the flat, smooth leaves into material that has more lines and texture.


Here is the whole arrangement. 


I hope you like it.  --Miyako

Plum Vs. Cherry

Added on by the ikebana shop.

Both the plum (ume) and cherry (sakura) blossoms feature prominently in Japanese fabric and print patterns.  Can you recognize which ones are the plum blossoms and which ones are the cherry blossoms? 


The plum blossom is much revered by the Japanese.  It blooms in February to early March; that is, around the time when winter is not quite over yet.  Only a strong flower can bloom in the bitter cold of winter and therefore, the plum blossom is seen as a symbol of strength and fortitude.  Together with pine and bamboo, the plum is one of the Three Friends of Winter (shochikubai 松竹梅)  It is also the true harbinger of spring.

The cherry blossom is probably the most loved flower in Japan.  It blooms in late March through April.  Once blooming, the flowers last for only about a week.  During this very special time of year, Japanese people come out and celebrate the blossoms with hanami (flower viewing) parties.  There is a carpe diem element to this, a celebration of impermanence in the Japanese psyche.

 Plum blossom. By Kakidai (Own work) [CC BY-SA 3.0 (], via Wikimedia Commons

Plum blossom.
By Kakidai (Own work) [CC BY-SA 3.0 (], via Wikimedia Commons

 Cherry blossom. By あおもりくま ( Aomorikuma ) - 青森市 合浦公園, GFDL,

Cherry blossom.
By あおもりくま ( Aomorikuma ) - 青森市 合浦公園, GFDL,

So now, back to our question: how does one distinguish between the plum and the cherry?  
The key is to observe the petals.  The plum has round petals.  The cherry has indented petals.  
Simple as that!

Plum blossoms on fabric.

Plum blossoms on greeting card.

Plum blossoms on chiyogami paper.

Cherry blossoms on fabric

Cherry blossoms on greeting card.

Cherry blossoms on chiyogami paper.

Now you know! 

Extra trivia....
Cherry blossoms are depicted in the 100-yen coin!


Japanese Calligraphy: To See A World...

Added on by the ikebana shop.

Original Japanese calligraphy by Yukari Haverstock. It's the Japanese translation of an excerpt from William Blake's "Auguries Of Innocence".

To see a World in a Grain of Sand
And a Heaven in a Wild Flower
Hold Infinity in the palm of your hand
And Eternity in an hour.

ひとつぶの砂に ひとつの世界を見 
一輪の野の花に ひとつの天国を見 


Ikebana Lessons Cancel Policy Change

Added on by the ikebana shop.

This announcement is for our ikebana students.

We are tweaking our lesson cancellation policy a little (effective Feb 23, 2018). 

Old Cancellation Policy:

  • Up to 1 day before lesson date: No charge.
  • Same-day or no-show: Full charge (1 lesson)

New Cancellation Policy:

  • Up to 2 days before lesson date: No charge.
  • 1 day before lesson date: $20 +HST.
  • Same-day or no-show: Full charge (1 lesson)

Extra Colour: The Planning Behind The Lessons

The ikebana lessons are individualized.  Each lesson is planned specifically with each student's rank and skill level in mind.  Flowers and branches are carefully chosen so that they are appropriate for each student's lesson theme.   The flowers/branches are ordered (usually 4-5 days in advance).

Sometimes, we do have a wait-list.  It might be natural to assume that if one cancels, then another person can take the spot.  That works out sometimes but more often than not, it's not as straightforward as we would like to think.  If the student level is different, then the pre-ordered flowers would not be appropriate.  New planning and adjustments need to be made.  Usually it's a last-minute scramble around town, scouring florists for suitable flowers!  

Of course, there is usually an important reason for a cancellation.  We understand this.  Unavoidable circumstances happen to us too.  And that's OK!  But if you do know that you need to cancel, the sooner you let us know, the better it is for us to adjust!

Thank you very much for your understanding and continued support.

Happy New Year 2018!

Added on by the ikebana shop.

Akemashite omedetou gozaimasu!  明けましておめでとうございます!

Let's welcome the Year of the Dog with an eager bow-wow!  (or "wan-wan" as the Japanese would say!)  May Lady Luck smile upon you in 2018!


My Ikebana: Relief In Blue

Added on by the ikebana shop.

When I have bits of leftover plant material, I dry them and keep for future use.  This time I have dried china berries and palm leaves. I thought I'd use them for some relief work. 

As well, I picked up some tree bark and branches off the street!  I painted the dried berries blue and found some blue card stock that would further draw out the colour.

Here is the whole arrangement.


I hope you like it.  --Miyako

My Ikebana: Kitchen Sink Flowers

Added on by the ikebana shop.

One of the new themes in Sogetsu Textbook 5 is called "Using Various Locations" (場を探す)which challenges us to seek out non-traditional locations to place an ikebana arrangement.

Above the kitchen sink in our little studio, there is a small ledge where we'd normally put tea canisters, dishwashing detergent, etc.  This would be a great place to provide a little enjoyment to the person opening the cupboards!  (Of course, care was taken so that the flowers will not impede the cupboard doors.)

Here is the whole arrangement.

I hope you like it.  --Miyako