Chabana is often difficult and for me, it is rather intimidating because there really are not a lot of rules, guidelines and procedures. You just have to do it and look at the results, over and and over again. How the flowers are arranged tells a lot about the host. By his choice of flowers, vase and arrangement, we see into his heart.
Often, we have few choices for flowers in the winter, but now, there is an abundance of flowers to choose. You only need a few. Sometimes you get lucky and the arrangement comes together. For example, I was quite pleased with the arrangement this month for the Portland Japanese Garden tea demonstration.
I went out in the early morning in my neighborhood to look for flowers for the chakai. One of my neighbors has a very large azalea plant and I asked if I could clip a few. After gaining permission, I saw this cascade of a branch and brought it into the tea room to arrange.
I don't know if you can see in this photo, but the blossoms have a slightly pink tinge to the edges of the petals. The branch cascaded down below the level of the opening and the stem was rather short and the bamboo vase was perfect for it. I carefully put it in the vase to look at it. Not a single thing was done after that. No fussing, no rearranging, no clipping. The flowers and leaves were still wet from the morning rain, and the arrangement, though a little wild, had a rather innocent look to it.
The lesson here for me is to start arranging chabana before you even cut the flowers. Look and look for the flowers, and imagine what kind of vase they will sit in. Choose the flowers first and then choose the vase.