Winter romance + Ikebana, the art of communion, slowing down

January 20th, 2011 Posted in Uncategorized, garden design


Oxalis raindrops

That’s how I felt last Saturday once the errands were done and I was free at last to fully absorb the rainy romantic day. And jot the magic numbers from the rain gauge into my garden diary.

Purple heart, Setcreasea pallida raindrop

I get really drippy about drippy days, since they are so rare. I felt elevated to cook and clean, to read and write, to plan a billion projects. Mainly, I wanted to wander a squishy garden to revel in my winter romance of colors that turn greenery into scenery.

Spiraea orange winter leaves

Plumbago scandens winter purple leaves

Rusty blackhaw viburnum winter leaves
In my wanders, I thought about this week’s CTG, which features Ikebana, the art of Japanese flower arranging. Far more than collecting cuttings for an explosive vase of color, it’s about a sensitive, spiritual communion with each stalk, leaf, and flower.

Purple mustard leaf

lantana purple winter leaf

wild aster

I learned a lot when we taped this week’s video feature with  some of the gardeners from the San Antonio chapter of Ikebana International. I was honored to meet the women who were born in Japan and learned the art as children before WWII. I love their stories, just as I love the ones from the Americans who went overseas and brought the art back to the U.S. Through them, they opened new garden eyes for me to the significance and contemplation that sometimes eludes me in my rush to “get things done.”

conoclinium greggii, eupatorium greggi purple winter leaves

salvia blepharophylla purple winter leaves

In-studio, Tom meets with Jay Marie Buttross from San Antonio Ikebana International to explain more about the spiritual connection of Ikebana design. She also demonstrates a few of her techniques with plants from her garden, like umbrella plant.

Jay Marie Buttross and Tom Spencer on CTG set

Meet them all on Feb. 5 at the Asian Festival: Year of the Rabbit, at the Institute of Texan Cultures in San Antonio from 10 a.m. – 5 p.m. They’ll be demonstrating Ikebana arrangements and techniques. By the way, I had nothing to do with this being Year of the Rabbit!

Since it’s a great time to prune trees, Daphne answers this question from JoLea Arcidiacono: “How soon can we use chipped tree prunings as mulch?” They’re too hot to use right away, plus as the microbes digest them, they’ll tie up soil nitrogen that your plants also want. Let them sit for a few weeks to a month. You can also add nitrogen to your garden when you apply fresh mulch. Find out more.

Arborist Guy LeBlanc answers our questions about ball moss and those pesky oak tree sprouts.

Until next week, Linda

  1. 6 Responses to “Winter romance + Ikebana, the art of communion, slowing down”

  2. By Cat on Jan 20, 2011

    Linda it is always a pleasure to visit your blog…it is full of inspiration and useful information. Thank you!


    Linda reply on January 20th, 2011 8:58 pm:

    I’m totally inspired by yours. Geez, you have great pictures and ideas and information. You’re a kindred spirit but a better photographer!


  3. By Jenny on Jan 20, 2011

    You have so many colorful leaves in your winter garden and it won’t be long before that oxalis is in flower! I’m glad you enjoyed your rainy days. I think I may have had too many of those days in my youth. Now, I just look on them as days I can’t be out in the garden, although I was happy for the rain because the garden needed it. I look forward to hearing all about those pesky oak sprouts.


    Linda reply on January 20th, 2011 8:59 pm:

    Yes, I understand that for you, rainy cloudy days are not as much fun for me. I want to go to England to experience it more!


  4. By Bob Harper on Jan 21, 2011

    Linda, you always have such great pictures in the preview each week. And, I want to know – do you take all those pictures? Some of them are really super. I especially think your close-ups this week were just wonderful. I hope this doesn’t sound like a dumb question. Fondly, Bob


    Linda reply on January 21st, 2011 4:25 pm:

    Hi, Bob,

    Thank you!! Yes, I take all the pictures. Except for the ones not in focus (har dee har!).


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