Birds of paradise in ikebana
Birds of paradise or strelitzia reginae is one of the most spectacular flowers. Its vivid orange and violet flowers draw our attention and remind us of its namesake – beautiful birds. Birds of paradise grow naturally in South Africa while here, in Addis Abeba, I have seen them only in gardens. And luckily, my neighbour has several bushes that are blooming profusely. And she is willing to share them with me. Bird of paradise is a low maintenance flower that requires minimum water and that can grow almost in any type of earth.
The flower got its Latin name after Charlotte of Mecklenburg-Strelitz, the queen consort of King George III of England, while it is known as crane flower in South America.
Birds of paradise are used in ikebana in different ways. Their almost geometric shape invites us to arrange them in modern arrangements. However it is possible to arrange them in many different ways. We can choose to focus on the line of their hight or cut them low and focus on their flowers. Flowers can last up to two weeks in arrangements, so they are a good choice for exhibitions.
Strelitzia symbolises freedom, beauty and magnificence.