Back to our Garden Club by popular demand, our program presenter, Ben Pitre, was introduced. Ben received many years of formal training from an old and famous Japanese school in the ancient and honorable art of Ichibana flower arranging. Ben gave us a fascinating history of floral compositions as it intertwined with Japanese history up to modern times when non-traditional arrangements, as opposed to the rigidly orchestrated arrangements that were largely for religious purposes, have gained in favor.
Ben demonstrated the construction of three non-traditional arrangements. His first display, which many in our group most admired, was deceptively simple, with two gracefully opposing palm fronds, two birds of paradise, and an agapanthus bloom cut very short. This arrangement made it easy for us to visualize the ¨7-5-3¨formula, in which the tall flowers, the medium-height flowers, and the short flowers emulate those perfect proportions. The most important feeling to be imparted by the arrangement, Ben said, was that butterflies could fly through it. We all liked that concept.
Ben completed two more delicious floral concoctions using leaves and flowers, and both traditional oval and non-traditional low vases.
The height of the finished arrangement, he said, should be 3.5 to 4 times the diameter of the vase. At the conclusion, Chris conveyed to Ben our enthusiastic thanks, along with wine in a lovely basket. Ben Pitre´s artistic, sensitive handling and placement of the various plant materials was fascinating to watch, but is difficult to summarize in words.