In A Vase on Monday-Ikebana Lite


Given the challenge of Ikebana style vase this week, I decided to read up on Ikebana. A familiar disconnect in my brain popped up. The Japanese Zen design concepts. Very daunting to a Westerner like myself. My Ikebana should be considered the Lite version. Like Lite Beer. Having read bits and pieces of the theories and schools of Ikebana and most of this flying right over my head, I decided to look at pictures of Hawaiian Ikebana as I could probably find the right plants and voila! Ikebana Lite. My disconnect with Japanese design theory began long ago…during a trip to visit a friend living in Japan.

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About 25 years ago, I found myself sitting on a wide set of ancient, worn wooden steps, unshod and somewhat hungover contemplating the famous Zen garden at The Temple of Ryoan-ji in Kyoto, Japan. This garden is the quintessential dry Japanese Garden consisting of stones, gravel and minimal greenery. The meaning of the garden has not been defined – at the time it was thought the stones in the garden represented ships going to the various islands. The photo may be the Ship Rock, I am not really sure.

I chewed antacids, contemplated the garden, then contemplated the garden some more. It was a drizzly, overcast, bonechilling day in early March. I had scheduled the trip hoping to experience Cherry Blossom time, but ended up missing the flowers. The English ladies behind me were exclaiming ‘we understand and see the ships’ Nowadays, of course, someone has made a computer model, claiming the Buddhist monks who built this garden were laying out the tracery of a tree.

I saw none of the above, appreciated the serenity of the space and went on to see if I could spy some Cherry Blossoms.


Back to Ikebana Lite. The vase is the base of a stone jewelry box with a flower frog tucked inside. The taller flowers are Parrot Flowers (Heliconia psittacorum), the orange flowers at the base, Mexican Honeysuckle (Justicia spicigera). The fine textured foliage accents are recycled grapevine from last week and foliage from Muhly Grass (Muhlenbergia capillaris).

It is entirely possible I have pioneered the use of Muhly Grass in Ikebana Lite.



27 comments on “In A Vase on Monday-Ikebana Lite

  1. pbmgarden says:

    Interesting background tale. Your design hits the mark perfectly I think and I like your use of the Parrot Flower.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. joanna says:

    Only one word for this:

    Can’t be bettered for simplicity and style.
    Loved the story behind it.

    Liked by 2 people

  3. Noelle says:

    Loved your story line which made me think that at different times, everyone seems something different in man made garden. I see lovely plant material beautifully arranged, and because of the angles and heights, each one complements the other, to give a harmonious whole: really beautiful

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Cathy says:

    It is a brilliant display with those bright oranges! I also visited that garden, alomg with many other temple gardens. I didn’t ‘get’ most if them I’m afraid, but they were still fascinating. 😉

    Liked by 2 people

  5. Eliza Waters says:

    I love it, SQ! Nothing ‘Lite’ about it – looks like the real deal to me!

    Liked by 1 person

  6. I love your arrangement and description of the journey you went on with it. It looks like fireworks to me – great energy!


  7. Your post had me giggling all the way through. I love your arrangement and I’m glad to see Ikebana with a tropical flair. I seriously considered using succulents for my own rendering of the style but opted for a Mediterranean accent instead.


  8. Cathy says:

    That was a good introduction to your post, reminding us that ‘style’ of any sort means different things to different people – and so we must be our own critics I suppose. Were YOU happy with the balance and the arrangement when you had finished? It looks stylish and elegant to my eye and the colours work really well together so thank you so much for giving such thought to the challenge this week


  9. What a beautiful tropical Ikebana vase…love the vertical flowers….you certainly hit this one ‘out of the ball park’ as they say!

    Liked by 1 person

  10. Christina says:

    It is so interesting seeing everyone’s ideas for Ikebana. Your design is lovely and your reference back to Japanese gardens was fun to read.

    Liked by 1 person

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