Monday, December 28, 2009

Spider Orchids

I have these two Spider orchids (Miltassia. name unknown) blooming this month, some others are spiking. Most of my orchids bloom in winter time continuously.

I am delighted this one has two spikes, so it is going to last very long time.

Saturday, December 19, 2009

Medium Sized Cattleyas

C. Percivaliana "Summit" FCC/AOS. (fragrant) 2nd place
I got this one from B.C.O.S.'s auction last year. It is called "Christmas Cattleya." It is blooming for the first time under my care. I like its clean sharp color.

I don't remember where this one came from but it blooms every year. I like its velvet texture and beautiful color.(3rd place)

The above two Cattleyas bloomed in time for B.C.O.S.'s meeting show table. I will tell you if I get any place in the windowsill grower category later. The result came in 1/13/10's news letter. I got 2nd and 3rd place.

Lc Sylan Sprite "Blythe Spirit"( HCC/AOS) x Bc Pink Sensation"Cynosure" ( fragrant)
When this one starts to bloom, the color is dull on the first day and then becomes prettier each day after. Unfortunately their sepal turns brown so fast that I can't bring it to B.C.O.S.'s meeting to compete. I think they are very cute and beautiful, although it only lasts less than three weeks.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

New Years Arrangement

This is Textbook 2-20. I want to show you what Mizuhiki means in this New Years arrangement.

In the Ikebana world, the leading materials for New Years flower arrangement are pine, bamboo, Japanese plum, mum, camellia and lily. I have no problem finding pine and bamboo, they are right in my back yard. I also used leftover mums, carnations and some bittersweet. It is important to add Mizuhiki into your arrangement (gold or silver paper strings, symbolizing happiness or prosperity, etc...), so I put the silver ribbon on the right side in the bottom instead (you can click it to see the enlarged picture). 12/15/09

Composition of Surfaces by Using Leaves

My teacher's final magic touch is adding a New Zealand flax to give enough height.

There are no more leaves left outside in winter. So I focus on my house plants. I found three different kinds of leaves that I can use, that also show their own characteristics and interesting surfaces. There is one Philodendron Selloum, one Tiger tail, and three of the same kind of leaves that I don't know the English name for (their white flower blooms at midnight and lasts for only two hours, and has a very strong perfume), I rolled each one of them and put them side by side. Last I put one white Mum to brighten the green. The teacher said the flower in this arrangement cannot be a focal point. 12/15/09

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Natural Wonder

Over our Thanksgiving holiday, my son in-law discovered this wasp's nest inside our Rhododendron bush in my backyard garden. Everybody was so excited and curious, especially my grandchildren. My daughter googled it and found out they chew old wood from fences or posts and mix it with their saliva. Then they spit and spread with their legs to form a paper after it dries. So interesting! I don't know when the wasps started to build their nests there, but they are all gone now. I feel very blessed and thankful that all my family members were able to come home (my nest) then!

Another side of view, it's so big!

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Christmas Arrangement

Another arrangement for a festive occasion. The teacher wanted us to make a new look, not a traditional style of Christmas arrangement. I used red poinsettias, white mums, baby's breath, silver painted hostas and nandina berries( shining materials). Adding the evergreen holly branches created harmony.
After all, it's Ikebana! (12/2/09)

Sketching and Arrangement

First, I got the materials ready (mums, bittersweet and leaves) and the container (this particular one is a gift from my very good friend, hand made). Looking at them, I drew an idea of my arrangement on a piece of paper. After that I made the actual arrangement. The finished work looks pretty much the same as the sketch. But through this lesson I realized that even though the drawing was flat, my arrangement was not. My sketch does not reflect the three dimensional quality of the flowers and leaves and of my overall arrangement.
The Ikebana flower arrangement is truly living art. (12/2/09)

Thursday, November 26, 2009

White Cattleyas

C. Skinneri Alba " Debbie" FCC/AOS

Close up view ( so sad, it last only two weeks. 11/19-12/3)
Third place in Cat. group (windowsill grower)
I have these two identical white cattleyas. I might have divided them last Summer, but I can't recall. This is a big vigorous orchid. I remember it had only two flowers on one stem last time, besides that, the flowers have a much better form this year. It is blooming just in time for B.C.O.S.'s show table ( last Thursday's meeting) and Thanksgiving holiday.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Showing Lines at the Base

This is my teacher's arrangement--so graceful!

This is mine, not too bad.

I read the textbook's explanation of this arrangement so many times. Finally I understood the importance and beauty of the base material and its relation to the container. It seems easy to do but it's not! I choose wild raspberry plants from my back yard and one sunflower. Both were placed at a higher position than they would normally be in an ordinary arrangement, showing their artistic form. (11/17/09)

Thanksgiving Arrangement

Composition in today's class (after my teacher's magic touch)

Tried at home yesterday (11/16/09)

Another version of a Thanksgiving centerpiece (11/16/09)

"Special material and arrangements for festive occasions" is today's subject. Thanksgiving is approaching. We have many things to be thankful for. All my children and grandchildren are coming home for a family gathering. They are longing for my roast turkey and my special turkey stuffing and tempura, always a big hit.
This is a happy occasion, so I would like to make a flower arrangement as colorful and as loud as possible. A friend of mine gave me a bunch of bittersweets, I combined these with fruits, small mums, pine and other materials (draft wood) to compose my Thanksgiving themed arrangement. I have two versions here, one is dinning table centerpiece which can be viewed from all angles. The other one is placed against the foyer wall. What do you think? (11/17/09)

Friday, November 6, 2009

November's blooming orchids

This is my sun room. I want to show the scarlet red color of the maple tree outside the window. Isn't it beautiful?

Oncidium (Dancing lady). Saint Dawn Gold.

C. Pot. Mysteve Natsumi.
I divided this one into two plants. The other one finished blooming a month ago, it lasted about 6 weeks.

Milt Xenia

I posted this orchid in last September's "Happiness is ...." It's blooming now.
Second place in Oncidium group (windowsill grower)

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Large Arrangement Free Style

One day before class, at home, over 4 ft. tall

After teacher's suggestion and changes

After I finished my wood arrangement a couple of weeks ago, my teacher encouraged me to do a larger arrangement. I think I am ready this time and have some ideas in my mind so I went looking for usable wood in the small forest in my backyard. I cut them, trimmed them, and interlocked them to make them secure and stabilized, then I put the self made container in the middle (shaped round like birds nest). I gathered the Nandinas, Mums, pine and laced maple in the container. At the bottom, as you can see there are also Mums, berries and pine. I think it looks beautiful but not striking enough.

Slanting Style Nageire Variation #1

Crape myrtles (turned a fall color now) with white Mums are good combination.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Slanting Style Moribana Variation #4

In this style, we have to emphasize the beauty by omission. So I used pear tree branches for both Shin and Hikae, no Soe in this arrangement. I added two purple Dahlias and chose the light blue container to balance the whole composition.(10/21/09)

I redid this assignment today because I didn't like what I did in yesterday's class. I changed the materials entirely.Much better and prettier.

Spreading Arrangement

Spreading arrangement is a style laid out directly on a table without using kenzan or containers. Use long lasting materials which can stay in place without water. I chose black pine, wax plant, daisies and red berry. Daisies can only last a couple of days but I can change them from time to time. This arrangement should be viewed from all angles. My teacher said that I could do it better by extending the vine and grouping the flowers. All right, I will try to improve it next time! (10/20/09)

From a different angle.

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Back from vacation

Home site windowsill #4

Home site windowsill #2
It's been very cold these past two weeks. So I gradually brought all my orchids and house plants back inside the house. My home looks like jungle again. This means no more vacation for both orchids and me because I have to work regularly watering, fertilizing, checking and re-potting occasionally. I divided my orchids into five groups at different windowsills, I only work with one group each day, this way I won't feel so tired.
This October's B.C.O.S.'s meeting features an orchid auction (10/15/09), members donate their duplicate orchids, and the society purchases some wholesale blooming orchids for the auction too. This is our annual fundraiser, open for both members and the public.

One of the auction tables

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Arranging with wood

My house is surrounded by woods, like a small forest. I was wandering in the woods yesterday, trying to find the best segment of wood and vine possible for today's class assignment. I used three pieces of wood that I found. I bent the vine and tied it first and arranged them all to support each other. The two pieces wood ended up being the same length, so my teacher suggested putting the Hydrangea in front to cover one piece of wood, then I put Cat tails in the back to give some height. The final composition looks well stabilized and beautiful. It's in the fall theme too! (10/6/09).

This arrangement practiced what we already learned. "Basic upright style Nageire" I was purposely choosing a white vase for the white Daises. What do you think? (10/6/09)

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Ikebana International Philadelphia Chapter#71

My teacher invited us, the students, to the Ikebana International (I.I) Philadelphia Chapter's lunch meeting last Thursday (9/24/09). Mrs. Kika Shibata was the guest demonstrator. She earned the prestigious title of RIJI, the highest degree offered by the Sogetsu school. She was appointed the Sogetsu regional Director of North America from 1996 to 2002 and she was chosen by Headmaster Akane Teshigahara as coordinator of west coast in North America. She also remains an active member of I.I. and She is the most active Sogutsu teacher internationally. Mrs. Kika Shibata specializes in unique line designs that enrich living and working environment. (Biography summarized from the I.I. program)

She traveled from San Jose to Philadelphia to demonstrate. She used all different kind of materials and containers to make a big Ikebana flower arrangement. All of them are beautiful. I definitely learned something from the I.I. meeting. Below is her work.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

September's Active Start

c. Natsumi
The Bucks County Orchids Society's meeting started this month (we were off July and August). Meetings are held the third Thursday every month. I don't have any new blooming orchids to put on the show table, I only have this one bloom three days after.

Martha Washington Garden Club meetings are held the fourth Wednesday every month. I signed up to be this month's Hostess. So the chair asked me to do the center piece for the refreshment table. This one is not ikebana, just a design idea I learned from the club a long time ago. I think it suits our Fall meeting.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Free Style Horizotal arrangement

For today's assignment, I picked two Azalea branches and carefully trimmed and studied them to see how they should be arranged to suit the low horizontal design. I used only one big Dahlia flower. I think choosing the right container is important too (a flea market find, I painted it black). My teacher said it's very good. I am delighted!

Close look

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Happiness is...

Happiness is when you surprisingly discover a new spike appear in your orchids. I went to my orchids' vacation site to check them out today, and I found out they are doing well and most of Cattleyas have a sheath coming out already. I know that by November they are going to bloom. I am so happy.

This miniature Dandrobium bloomed last year for the first time. Now, it is going to bloom again. I am so ecstatic.

Miit. Xenia (Miit. Bluntii '4' xMiit. Clowesii '4')
I predicted this one would spike in September, and it did. I discovered it today. I am so thrilled.

Cattleyas ( Blc. Hawaiian Lighting " colorful")
Do you see the sheath coming out there? I don't know what color this flower is. Because this was young plant when I got it from the society's auction. It must be colorful like the name. I am so excited! All I have to do now is just wait patiently.