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Autumn Activities

I had a break of sorts from flowers this past couple of months. I still did a bunch of gardening, but not too much ikebana or wedding work. (I made a few centrepieces for a small wedding).

This past weekend started my flower arranging season with a bang!  The Mum Show at VanDusen wanted ikebana displayed there, using their magnificent blooms. I and three others from Sangetsu set up an arrangement each, as well as members from two other schools.

I also had a medium sized wedding to provide flowers for. A new challenge for me was to decorate two chandeliers in the reception tent.  The people at the venue promised that the light fixtures could be lowered to ease decoration. Unfortunately they found that they couldn’t.  Luckily for me, the proprietor of the venue volunteered to climb up a tall ladder to attach the ivy garlands and flowers.


Hi Joan,

I just wanted to say a big thank you to the wonderful job you did arranging the flowers [for our wedding]. They were so lovely and beautiful!

The feedback, suggestions and updates throughout the whole process was very much appreciated. It made the wedding planning process much easier!



Hi Joan,

Thank you again for the stellar ikebana arrangements [at our Subaru Grand Opening]. You did an outstanding job for us, and guests were actually photographing your arrangements during the event.

Will (event planner)


Dear Joan,

I am grateful to you for the elegant and beautiful floral arrangements you created for mom’s memorial service and reception. I can feel the love and care you put into them and they were perfect. Thank you for your artistry.



An Honored Invitation

Mr and Mrs Seiji Okada, the current Consul General of Japan and his wife, invited me to a special “Thank-you” luncheon at their mansion in Shaughnessy. They hosted the five ikebana teachers who made large ikebana arrangements to help celebrate the Emperor’s birthday in November. We had met them on several previous occasions since they have been in Vancouver almost three years. Here is the sumptuous menu created by their personal chef. It was an honor to be invited to such an event!

Lessons on Sympathy

Sympathy arrangement lessons

This month I have been giving private lessons to one of my Ikebana students who asked me to teach her how to make “Sympathy” designs. We are having five sessions, and this week we made a colourful wreath
with spring flowers.

Christmas Wreaths

Today I decorated two wreaths, one to go to the cemetery, and one to give as a gift to my hairdresser.


I had been making fresh wreaths for the cemetery in previous years, but decided to use an artificial one last year. It was in good condition at the end of the season, so I saved it and just put on a fresh bow and added a few new berries for this year.


I made a wreath for my hairdresser since I noticed that she could use a new one on her front door, and I have been giving her hand made ornaments and other Christmassy things in the past. She is still using an angel I made her many years ago.

In Loving Memory

Grandpa's sympathy wreath

Sadly, Friday the 13th was the day of my father-in-law’s memorial service in Kelowna. He had passed peacefully in his sleep the week before at the ripe old age of 93. I had planned to make a sympathy wreath from our family, as well as an arrangement to put either around a picture or by the urn. My husband, Clive, and I were going to drive up from Burnaby the day before.

As it turned out, Mother Nature had other plans and caused a huge snow storm in the Coquilhalla Highway area on the day we were to drive up. We were warned of extreme weather!  Relatives were calling from Kelowna, not to drive, so we (as well as our kids and their significant others) all decided to fly up. But what was I going to do with the flowers? Fortunately a family friend was still planning on making the road trip in his 4-wheel drive, so he kindly took the wreath and arrangement with him in time for everyone to arrive safely for the service.

It turned out to be a beautiful, crisp, autumn day; a bittersweet reunion with the family.