Thursday 14 July 2016

Demo in Oslo Botanical Garden

Demonstrating naturally curved lines of Flowering onions, Allium.

Oslo botanical garden is one of the most beautiful parks of Oslo. I know the park quite well from guiding groups as a volunteer a few times every summer. The huge collection og plants collected from different parts of the world makes it an interesting place for a stroll. Changing with the seasons it is different every time I visit.

Some weeks ago I gave an ikebana demonstration in the park as part of the annual plant market day. The old maner house, which is probably the oldest still standing timber building of Oslo, gave the event a dignified historic setting.

Handkerchief tree (Davidia involucrata), paper fortune tellers, bamboo stick
Freestyle Nageire with ornamental flowers

One of the attractions of the garden this time of the year is the ornamental Handkerchief or Dove tree. This interesting tree with large white "flowers" hanging like handkerchiefs in the wind, was discovered in China by plant hunters in the late 1800s and brought to European parks as a fashionable novelty. I asked permission to cut a small branch at the back of the tree and decided to try it out in an abstract style nageire freestyle with paper fortune tellers as a complementing material. I've never seen Handkerchief tree in an ikebana arrangement, so it might be a first!

The theme of the demonstration was blooming tree branches and the joy of lavish spring flowers. In addition to fruit trees like Crab apple and Japanese quince, I also used other flowers with springtime connotations. Wisteria flowers always reminds me of the hair ornaments of the Maiko dancing the Miyako Odori spring dance, that I once saw in Kyoto. Wisteria is not very commonly grown in Norway, but they are to be seen in the Botanical garden. Peonies are often used to signalize spring in ikebana. They are also symbolizing spring season in Chinese and Japanese poetry and paintings. Peonies can be difficult to arrange since the flowers are usually big and heavy. Luckily I found a style of European peony with unusually small flowers that where a good size for a traditional slanting moribana arrangement.

European peony (Paeonia officinalis)

Wisteria sinensis

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