Peony flowers has long been a favorite in Asian arts like paintings, poems, and even tattoos. It represents honor, wealth, romance, and beauty in all forms. There are special exhibitions for peony here in Japan between mid-April to mid-May. During this time, locals and foreign visitors can enjoy its beauty and subtle fragrance.

 

This year, I was fortunate to see one of these exhibitions at Tsuruoka Hachimangu Shrine in Kamakura. At the exhibition, the each plant is covered with a Japanese umbrella to protect the flowers from rain and wind. At the same time, these umbrellas add aesthetics giving a more traditional ambiance to the garden.

 

Peony: Alone and With Other Materials

Since the first week of June, we have peonies included in our flower sets at our regular Ikebana lessons. First we had flowers buds combined with alliums and carnations. And last week, we have huge flower heads in purplish-pink color. In order to explore the variety of arrangements I can create using this flower, I tried to mix and match it with different materials.

 

First, I made an arrangement using peonies as my only material. I was fortunate to have them in different forms. This allowed me to still have some variations although I only have one type of material.

 

Peony Ikebana Arrangements
Ikebana Using One Type of Material

 

Then I combined it with stems of luscious green leaves and tiny yellow flowers. The arrangement highlights the use of and creating balance between complementing colors. My apologies but I cannot remember its name. I would be very thankful though if someone could help me identify it. Please feel free to use the comment box below.

 

Complementing Colors

 

And for my third arrangement, I placed two white carnations in addition to the first two materials. The leaf stems create an elongated line structure that makes the whole arrangement longer than its vase. The peonies enhance this line from the base or container. The white carnations on the other hand give a good contrast against the greens and dark pink hues.

 

Extended Arrangement

 

Hope you like the arrangements in progression this week. Happy weekend everyone!