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.
Traditional red will dominate the Christmas season again this year, but watch for a greater variety of fresh evergreens, berries, roes and accents. Other popular color schemes include darker reds and crimson shades, as well as non_traditional palettes such as purple and turquoise. Textures will continue to play an important role, with flower arrangements featuring everything from pinecones and cedar to intricate handmade ornaments. Expect to see more glass bowls, cubes and vases of every size, especially in colors. With an emphasis on home and hearth, decorator cachepots and family heirloom containers will also play a part.