Japanese Spring

Susan Detjens

Susan Detjens

“Happy Birthday Blue & White” (see Archives, February) has put me in a nostalgic frame of mind for Spring in Japan. It begins with the cascades of cherry blossoms that rain down on the groups of picnickers sitting on blue plastic mats, shoes carefully planted on the edge.

Forsythia and lanternsOne visit while staying with Mrs. Olana, we were invited to a celebration of Spring in a charming old town north of Tokyo. These images are scans from the old photos– this was the pre-digital age! We found the town graced with exquisite flower arrangements and beautifully hand-painted paper lanterns.

Cherry branches with lanternsAt dusk the lanterns were lit, casting beautiful shadows on the traditional architecture.

Cinnabar lacquer container with cherry blossomsA handsome lacquer container in a stunning cinnabar color adds a dashing note to the cherry blossoms in this sheltered doorway. I love the exuberance of all three of these welcoming arrangements.

A charming basketEven the downspouts aren’t neglected. Though one wonders what will happen if it rains a lot. These designs show the mastery of asymmetrical placement that is part of the ikebana tradition.  It almost looks like dogwood but I don’t remember much dogwood in Japan.  A magnolia?

Hanging basket of KerriaInside a traditional building, a hanging basket of Kerria japonica brightens the handsome geometry of wood and plaster, swaying ever so gently.

Hanging Bamboo basketThis hanging basket has a rigid handle and was probably used as some kind of scoop. In the truly creative-adaptation style of most flower arrangers, a container of either bamboo (light-weight) or ceramic is used to hold the sinuous cherry blossom branches. I don’t recognize the white flowers. They sit very distinctly on the branch, don’t they?

Spirea on the Shoji ledgeThe ledges by the windows were not forgotten. The gravity of this Spirea branch defies explanation. How it seems to dance!! It would seem that it is sitting in a tiny kenzan (pin holder cup) just behind the few leaves. The kenzan would have to be filled up frequently with water.

A Charming clusterAt the other end of the ledge, this cluster of Narcissus (?) sits in a matching container. Notice the grooves for the sliding shoji screens. Thanks for indulging this nostalgic, if blurry, visit to Japan.  For more about the charms of Japan, visit the blog of the wonderful Blue & White Shop.   http://blueandwhitetokyo.com/author/blueandwhitetokyo/

Wood and paper lantern with calligraphyKampei!

About Susan

Susan Detjens is a former landscape painter, she lectures, demonstrates and runs workshops on floral design for museums, horticultural organizations and garden clubs across the US.
This entry was posted in Azabu Juban, Blue & White Shop, floral design ideas, floral designs, flower arrangements, Japanese flower arrangements, Uncategorized and tagged , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

One Response to Japanese Spring

  1. Alexandra says:

    Beautiful! I love the hanging baskets. Happy late Spring!

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