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."
Putting it all together _ Once you have selected your flowers and vase, its time to start putting things together. If possible, first cut each flower stem diagonally about one inch from the bottom while holding the end of the stem under warm water. Use your kitchen sink or a large basin. This helps ensure each stem will absorb moisture and nutrients easily. As you cut each flower, transfer it to a temporary "work" vase, which should be halfway full of water.