bamboo, orchids and lots of moss

A Japanese garden of bamboo, orchids and moss

It had never occurred to me that I should ever be involved in an Olympic Games. Of course, Ikebana hasn’t become an Olympic sport, so no medals, but what a fantastic thing to have done.

Tokyo is bidding for the 2020 Olympics and The Japan Olympic Committee invited me to create a floral flavour of Japan at its hospitality venue at Hyde Park Corner.

The biggest challenge was to choose materials that would remain fresh for the for the duration of the games.  I finally chose to recreate a feeling of mountain moss and bamboo gardens which are found all over in Japan.  This turned out to be a major undertaking.  I couldn’t get the bamboo in UK, so enlisted the help of one of my greate Ikenobo professor friends who decided to come and help…and bring several hundred kilos of fresh bamboo with her!

bamboo, moss and orchids for the Japan-olympic-committee staircase

bamboo, moss and orchids for the Japan Olympic Committee staircase

To help me deliver this unusual and exciting commission, I was joined by four of my most senior students and my good friend and a fellow professor of Ikenobo, Sachiyo Katanishi, the bamboo courier extraordinaire. It took five of us a whole day to create the 15 arrangements, spread over 4 floors of “Japan House”.


setting up was hard to do



To round off my involvement in Tokyo’s 2020 bid, I ran two workshops for VIPs during the course of the games.