Flowers are my passion and when I was asked to set a table for a benefits banquet using a floral centerpiece and eight place settings I found the Victorian Era theme fit my love of flowers. This era was named for Queen Victoria who ruled England from 1837 to 1901, whose enthusiasm for flower designs was a time of elegance for all things flower. They decorated not only with flower arrangements in a vase but also with flowers on plates, tea pots and in pictures for the walls, and their use of flowers was displayed in all their treasures. The Victorian women would often wear flowers in their hair, on their arm or around their neck. Their love of flowers was a way of expressing affection, and was given to friends and lovers according to the message they wanted to express, for the Victorians knew the meaning of flowers. Their floral arrangements were, formal, proper, opulent, lavish and showy. Aristocratic members of society would exhibit wealth by creating large, excessive, luxurious and often overdone flower arrangements.
When I learned Ikebana as an adult, I was really fortunate to have had an old_fashioned sensei (instructor) who not only taught me the theory and techniques, but also immersed me in the respectable manners and ways of the good old days. It is through my sensei that I learned that Ikebana goes beyond the typical art form, and that it is more of a way of life; in fact, Ikebana is also known as kado, which literally means "the way of the flower."