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When Flowers Alone May Be Used And When Leaves Only

( Originally Published 1913 )

THE best form in flower arrangement is to have both flowers and leaves; but there are flowers which may be arranged alone. These are the flowers on which the leaves come first and go before the flower blooms. In Japan these are principally natsu suisen, or summer narcissus, and a red wild flower called shiba. Such flowers may be arranged without leaves.

In the case of the trees and shrubs which come into blossom before they leaf, as our cherry, the prominent parts of the arrangement, Heaven and Man, should be blossoms, and the Ieaves put in only for Earth. If it is an arrangement where attributes are used, make them of the Ieaves and have the three main principles of Heaven, Man, and Earth of the blossoms.

When a plant or tree Ieafs out before blossoming, then the leaves must predominate in an arrangement which should have only a few blossoms, and these placed in the unimportant places.

For arrangements of Ieaves only, baran - or aspidistra as we call it - is much used. It can be had at all seasons and makes one of the most perfect arrangements, as the Iines can be made so distinct with its long, slender Ieaves. They are also easily bent with the hand.

You will see that in nearly all arrangements of aspidistra one leaf is curled up. This is supposed to contain an insect. One Ieaf that is wormeaten or torn is considered desirable and thought to make the arrangement more natural, as there is seldom in nature a plant without one imperfect leaf.

Working with aspidistra is excellent practise for a beginner. Its leaves, being easily bent, do not require such patience to bring into the correct curves, and the stems are readily brought together at the base. In its arrangement also, faults are quickly recognized and easily corrected. Therefore I give many different examples of arrangements of aspidistra.

It is arranged on the same principles as all other plants, but with it you will find that Heaven usuaIIy folds around its attribute. These two should be tied together, as shown in the cut below, and left tied over night.

The curled leaf is made by putting the extreme point of the leaf around a small stem and roIIing it up in the palms of your hands for a few minutes.

Then let go of it; this will make a loose roll. Should you wish it very tight and small, roll as tight as possible, then puII the stick out and put a pin or two through to hold the curl in place. The pins may be left in over night and will in no way injure the leaf.

Aspidistra is one of the few plants arranged not entirely according to its natural growth, but the nature of its growth is improved upon - art here aiding nature.

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