Japan’s has a deeply rooted relationship with its four seasons of flowers, allowing its unique practice of Ikebana to explore differing plant life throughout this period.
Ikebana stands for the art of flower arrangement – a process carried out to highlight the natural beauty for flowers to be presented rather than a decorative beauty.
While a flower could be made into a heart-shaped bouquet, Ikebana seeks to discover natural ways to get that effect by incorporating natural elements of branches and design to cater to a similar meaning. The creator of the arrangement looks to display the intrinsic qualities hidden within the various flowers and branches. In order to achieve this, it is made through a seasonal selection of flowers to convey its message across to the recipient.
Japan’s four distinct seasons stand out marker of a reputation as a place where its four distinct seasons have cultivated a rich diversity of flower life. Grown since ancient times, there is an extensive variety which has been incorporated into the seasonal arrangements of Ikebana.
From spring, Japan’s cherry blossoms bloom from March to May that signal the end of the winter months. Most remarkable about the cherry blossom itself is that it can regrow from just a branch into a new tree which is customarily used in Ikebana sets in this period. What is more interesting about it is that all of the cherry blossoms come from most the same bloodline of trees, so cherry blossoms that have been brought to America will also bloom in the corresponding period.
From June to August when Summer begins, hydrangeas - whose colors can change from blue, white, and pink depending on the soil composition will begin to bloom. For locals, visiting temples and gardens to behold these flowers is a local pastime and a treat to receive through the rain that is abundant in these months.
From September to November, autumn leaves and chrysanthemums — the national symbol of Japan — will bloom. Autumn leaves eventually turn into a fiery red that spreads across the scenic views of Japan
From December to February, as the winter month nestles in, plums and camellias bloom. Many people cannot distinguish plums from cherry blossoms, but most of them are plums when they are blooming in the cold season. Also, the petals are rounder than cherry blossoms with branches that are also far more rugged. The camellia is a beautiful flower that shares a timing where the petals all fall in sync with one another, making the falling camellia paths a gorgeous sight to behold.
Recognizing the types of flower life within Japan’s helps one know the importance of choice by the person who created flower arrangements. Each flower contains a unique history and value among the people of Japan. This is why traditional clothing and labors of culture often bear a flowery design.
From left to right:
Plum Blossoms (Ume)
Typically mid February through March (Tokyo)
Cherry Blossoms (Sakura)
Typically late March to mid April (Tokyo)
Typically late April to early May (Tonami, Toyama)
Pink Moss (Shibazakura)
Typically mid April to mid May (Fujigoko)
Typically late April to early May (Tokyo)
Typically the month of May (Tokyo)
From left to right:
Typically mid June to mid July (Kamakura, Hakone)
Typically the month of June (Tokyo)
Typically early July to early August (Hokkaido)
Typically mid July to early August (Hokkaido)
Autumn Colors (Koyo)
Typically mid September to early December (Nationwide)