Sunday, 21 July 2013



Shirley Smallcross, from Camellias Victoria, gave an illustrated talk about this beautiful flower. Not all ‘shatter’ readily according to Shirley - this tendency varies a great deal. 

Members shared tips on pinning the blooms to help prevent them from falling, some favouring attaching the base of the flower to an adjacent leaf and others inserting a pin through the stamens into the base of the stalk. 

Some new developments included purple and yellow blooms. Many camellias have been bred in Australia and although there is a limited selection available from nurseries these days, they are easily propagated from cuttings.


This arrangement was a tribute for Julie Alston, a member for 40 years who died recently.

Furuidono                                                      without a sound the white camellia fell
Kurakini otsuro                                                      to sound the darkness of the deep stone well
Yosano Buson  1769

For other arrangements on the day - please go through to the Melbourne Ikebana Photos page.

Diary Dates

There are some interesting ikebana events on the horizon.

Firstly our next general meeting on Tuesday 13th August will feature hellebores or winter roses. These delicate flowers can be challenging to arrange, so this will be a golden opportunity to collect some ideas and skills. Peter Leigh, from Post Office Farm Nursery in the Macedon Ranges, will give a short talk about hellebores, including several new species. He will also bring plants for sale.

We will be participating in the Australian Plants Expo at St Sava’s Hall, 212 Diamond Creek Road, Greensborough, on the 7th and *8th September with a display and demonstration using Australian native material.

On September 10th our general meeting will be an excursion to the National Rhododendron Garden, Olinda, including a bus tour of the gardens.

From Tuesday 17th until Sunday 22nd September the annual Chapter Exhibition will be held at GASWORKS ARTS PARK, 21 Graham Street, Albert Park, 10am – 4pm.

On Tuesday October 8th  at our general meeting a workshop led by Thea Sartori will explore the art of Chabana, the style of flower arranging that was created for use in the tea ceremony.

(Please note that all photos are copyright ©2013 Christopher James).

Tuesday, 2 July 2013

JAPANESE DAY - JUNE 11th, 2013

Japanese Day on June 11th was a lively occasion. Funds were raised for the victims of the Fukushima earthquake and further donations would still be welcome if you did not have an opportunity to contribute.   Lunch was freshly-cooked tempura, sushi and other Japanese delicacies, prepared and served by an energetic group of Japanese members and friends.

Photo - copyright © 2013 Sally Wilkinson

We were invited to join in the tradition of Tanabata , a festival in which paper strips bearing wishes, some in the form of poetry, are hung on bamboo arrangements. It is now usually held on the seventh day of the seventh month, that is, July 7th ( by the Gregorian calendar) and relates to ancient folklore about star-lovers who are forbidden to meet except on this day. And if it rains they must wait for another year!

Photo - copyright © 2013 Sally Wilkinson

Photo - copyright © 2013 Sally Wilkinson


Do you have any tips for keeping bamboo leaves looking fresh? 

Some ideas include:
... place the stems in boiled salted water for ten minutes
.... make an incision a few centimetres above the node and fill the stem with water. 

In Theory of Japanese Flower Arrangements by Condor it is recommended that you first cut the material at 4 a.m, remove the node at the bottom and fill the lowest section with boiling water, in which cloves have been steeped. Then seal the end and wait for the water to cool. This advice from the late nineteenth century does not seem to have survived into current practice! Or has it? 

Introductory Offer
Many teachers in the Melbourne Chapter, from a variety of schools, offer a set of three lesson as an introduction to ikebana. From July 1st 2013 the price will be $45. Still a bargain and a marvellous way to start the journey of creativity with flowers. Contact Chieko Yazaki


Camellias or tsubaki

Centuries ago the tendency of camellia flowers to drop led to an association with premature death. For example, an arrangement with camellias in the presence of a samurai was a bad omen indeed.  However, they are now regarded as an auspicious flower and their beauty when matched with pine, willow or bamboo expresses a sense of happiness, good fortune and longevity.

On Tuesday July 9th the general meeting will feature camellias. Our speaker will be Shirley Shellcross from Camellias Victoria, followed by demonstrations using camellias by members from our different schools.   Please also bring an arrangement of your own if you wish. 


Congratulations to Emily Karanikolopoulos who recently won a Scholarship to study at the Sogetsu school headquarters in Tokyo for three months. The scholarship is an endowment by the Norman and Mary Sparnon Trust and is awarded every three years to a practising Sogetsu teacher in Australia. Norman was a fully accredited master in both Sogetsu and Ikenobu styles.   His book The Magic of Camellias (written with Prof. E. G.Waterhouse, a camellia expert), is available for borrowing from the library (at the monthly meetings.)