ikebana and life in japan

a blog about ikebana and life in japan


Water Flowers

One of the special characteristics of Ohara-ryu Ikebana is it's use of water flowers -- water lily, lotus, calla lily, and pond lily. All of them have special characteristics that are showed off in the way that they are arranged but have a short life in the container, so they are appreciated very much for their fleeting beauty and cooling effects on a hot summer day.

I recently had the opportunity to do a couple of different water arrangements. The first was of calla lily. It is done in the upright style and is very specific in the way in which the leaves and the calla lily are placed in the container. The arrangement has three flowers and eight leaves. Calla lilies last for over a week, but the leaves of the plant are very delicate and last but a few days. Summer is the only season that the arrangement can be done, so it is a once a year arrangement, if you are lucky enough to have the materials to do it.

Realistic Landscape in the Upright Style with Calla Lily and Bullrush

The other arrangement I did used water lilies. The arrangement depicts the edge of a stream or pond with the Spirea giving the effect of a lush bank on the waters edge. Bullrush is also added as a tall filler, and two water lilies are placed in the arrangement, one at the back and base of the Spirea, and one in the front of the container pulling the eye forward and giving space to the arrangement and also a sense of a water lily floating on the surface of the water out in the pond or stream. The water lily also only last a couple of days, but when they are bloomed out, they are so cool and refreshing to look at. They rules for the placement of the flowers are also determined, like the calla lily above. The arrangement has two flowers, five leaves, two rolled leaves that have not unfurled over the surface of the water, and two small filler leaves.

a close up of the water lilies

Realistic Landscape in the Slanting Style with Spirea, Bullrish, and Water Lily

Both of the arrangements bring the outdoors in and help to cool you off on the hot, humid days here in Japan. I love the water droplets on the leaves of the water lilies, now if I only had a small goldfish swimming in the container. I can definitely feel summer with these arrangements.

*a couple of bonus photos of other summer arrangements

Circular Form with Calla Lilly, Smoke Tree, Hybericum, and small blue flowers from the yard

Circular Form

Natural Landscape of Spirea, Hosta Leaves, and Japanese Bellflower