Found in Fairview January 2023

If you follow the Fairview Community Facebook page (, you may have seen a post about an Ikebana workshop offered in December by Rika Saruwatari.I saw the photo in the post and I knew that I had to make one of those beautiful flower arrangements myself. In true procrastinator fashion, I signed up for the last session at the last minute!

Let me back up and give a brief history of Ikebana. Ikebana is the general term applied to the art of Japanese flower arrangement. It dates back about 500 years to the 15th century.

I showed up at Rika’s studio, which is in her garage. It was nice and toasty warm and laid out with a couple of workstations and a photography backdrop for pictures of the final product. We started with a shallow rectangular vase (similar to a cake pan) with the kenzan (a hockey-puck sized object with pins poking out that holds the flowers) in about an inch of water. There are a couple of different styles of Ikebana – upright, slanting, or a combination of both – but we stuck with the easy upright style as I am a beginner. With Rika’s instructions and the very handy visual reference she provided, it was easy to follow along and create my Ikebana. There are three main stems – Shin, Uke, and Nejime – arranged in a scalene triangle shape. We used carnations, verbena, and japanese boxwood in my arrangement. At least that’s what I think they were after asking some gardener pals!

In the 2.5 hours I was there I actually completed two versions of the Ikebana, one in the Shu-i position, and the other in the Kyaku-i position. These are kind of mirror images of each other. Rika’s husband showed up to take some very professional photos. This was a really fun experience! It was creative but with structure.

Rika usually runs classes in spring and fall, and does plan to hold classes this coming spring. If you are interested in trying Ikebana, and I truly recommend you should, you can send Rika an email at

Our reactivated Fairview 60+ Collective will also be trying Ikebana together. Email by February 28 to grab a spot!

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