Designers of contemporary collections often combine flowers with fruits to make their arrangements good enough to eat, an abundance of fragrant sweet peas displayed in a vase full of strawberries give a terrific look to any summer dinner party. Slices of limes and lemons work wonderfully with white roses to give a clean crisp effect. Miniature trees, stripped of their leaves and replaced by single heads of pastel shades of asters provide an interesting focal point for a large room.
Western style arrangements typically consist of a free form assemblage of flowers in a container. In contrast, Ikebana is more of a disciplined form of art, governed by well_defined rules, principles and techniques. For example, certain precepts regulate elements like the light and the shadows. There is also what is known as the three points of balance _ shin_fuku_tai in Japanese _ which symbolize man, heaven and earth, respectively, and that have to be in harmonious equilibrium in order to give true life to an Ikebana flower arrangement. This and the fact that stems and branches are used in addition to flowers, are perhaps the most obvious differences with western_style flower arrangement.