Called "ikebana," Japanese flower arrangement is considered an art form in Japan. It has evolved over many centuries and several different styles of ikebana are now practiced by flower arranging enthusiasts. The philosophy behind ikebana is to arrange the flowers in a way that is symbolic of earth, mankind and heaven. They often contain only a trio of floral materials and some arrangements contain a single blooming specimen set off by fruiting branches or those of deciduous or coniferous trees.
Annual and Perennial Flowers
Annual and perennial flowers are the backbone of Japanese flower arranging, based in part on their availability during all seasons of the year. Popular varieties used include chrysanthemum, peony, wintersweet and camellia .
Flowering bulbs such as daffodils, narcissus, tulips or hyacinths are often used when they are in season. They can be used the same way as cut flowers or they may be incorporated into the arrangement while still attached to the bulb. Because of their intense fragrance, these spring-flowering bulbs are often used to create a single-specimen arrangement.
Flowering Branches of Fruit Trees
Peach, orange, apricot or quince branches in full bloom are often used as the base for creating a Japanese flower arrangement. They can be cut when in full flower on the tree or forced to bloom indoors in late winter. This type of arrangement is very delicate looking, due to the fragile appearance of most fruit tree blossoms.