My love for nature, and particularly flowers, manifested itself from an early age. When I was in elementary school, I remember frequently picking up flowers from our garden in the morning, wrapping them in a newspaper and taking them to school, where I would use them to decorate our classroom. This was something that I did spontaneously, and it gave me so much joy!
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.