Wednesday, 13 February 2013

Enduring Winter

Naturalistic Freestyle, vertical arrangement.
"Bamboo" Knotweed, Pine, White trumpet lily, Ilex berries, Lisianthus

Surviving winter can be a tough challenge if you are a delicate flower - no matter if you're a human being or a plant. In ikebana, plants that can endure hard times are celebrated as carriers of strength and symbolic meaning.

A much loved motive in East asian art is the Three Friends of Winter; bamboo, pine and plum.  In Japan these three plants are known as 'the three auspicious friends' and are associated with the start of the lunar New Year, bringing good wishes for the year to come. Although the Japanese New Year is nowadays celebrated on January 1st., it is still sometimes marked on the traditional day following the Chinese lunar calendar.  In 2013 the date of the Lunar New Year was February 10th, so this blog post is not that far out.

Bamboo symbolises longevity, pine prosperity, and plum steadfastness. Together they bring stamina and staying power. Plum flowers are of course also a messenger of spring and new life. In every winter arrangement there should always be a hint of spring - an assurance of new life.

In this New Years arrangement, using the traditional colours white, red and green, the bamboo is cut in a fashion typical to the kadomatsu New Years decoration. Actually it is not bamboo, but Knotweed which is easier to grow in a cold climate such as the Norwegian. As you can see there are no plum branches. But there is pine and there is a hint of spring.

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