Western flowers meet ikebana


If you've ever tried ikebana, usually simplistically defined as "the Japanese art of flower arranging," you know that it is a complex art whose results look deceptively simple. I observed a class once at Longwood Gardens. Trust me. It isn't simple. But it's a simple and joyful thing to check out the ikebana entries at the show.

This one was done by Young Oh in the tradition of the Ohara School of ikebana. It's named for Unshin Ohara, who founded the school in the late 19th century, when Western influences - note the colorful Western flowers here - began to penetrate the closed society of Japan.

According to Ikebana International, the Ohara School "emphasizes seasonal qualities, natural growth processes, and the beauty of natural environments."