I have noticed that western style gardens _ such as those seen in big castles, for example _ characterize themselves by man_made forms that generally follow symmetric patterns. In contrast, Japanese gardens, while also man_made, always try to recreate lifelike landscapes, by using not only botanical elements but also water, gravel, rocks and other natural components. In a similar manner, when compared to western floral arrangements, Ikebana compositions also have a stronger emphasis in reproducing natural settings.
MEANINGS & USES _ The exact origin of the name Aster is debated. Some say the name for these beautiful flowers is direct from Greek mythology: Asters were said to have grown from the tears of the Goddess Asterea. Others say they were named for their abundant growing patterns (like the night sky) and their star_like shape. Asters have long been given to symbolize love, daintiness and afterthought. Gentlemen and ladies in the past used to present them to people they hoped to draw affection from. Placed on the graves of French soldiers, Asters were used as a symbol of a better life to come. They can also be used to symbolize a 20th Wedding Anniversary and are a wonderful gift in a bouquet for any occasion. The petals of the Aster used to be smoked to ward off evil serpents, but could also be used to help with headaches, colds, back pain and muscle spasms.