We present classes and workshops in a variety of longstanding Japanese popular arts. These include Zen calligraphy, ink brush painting, gift wrapping with furoshiki  (colorful squares of printed cotton cloth), origami (folding paper to create three-dimensional figures without the use of glue or scissors), and Ikebana, or traditional Japanese flower arranging.

Taught by Japanese instructors, or by Western teachers who have lived and studied in Japan for years, these courses not only help you acquire new skills, they give you insight into the sources of artistic creativity in Japan, and the values of discernment, refinement, harmony, and subtlety that have shaped Japanese society for millennia.

Pre-registration is necessary for all classes and workshops. Please email us at to sign up for a class, to inquire about class times, fees, and locations, or for other information regarding our current and future offerings.

Learn Ikebana!

If you have marveled at the floral arrangements in our Ikebana exhibitions and wished that you could make such striking displays for your home or as gifts for family and friends, consider enrolling in our Winter/Spring 2019 flower arranging classes. Educational and entertaining, they will acquaint you with a quintessential and cherished element of Japanese culture.

Born 550 years ago in the custom of decorating altars in Buddhist temples with flowers, Ikebana is far more than a simple expression of creativity like the Western custom of putting pretty blooms in a vase. For the Japanese it is “The Way of the Flower,” a disciplined art with deep-rooted rules and a form of meditation; its ideals embody for them the essence of taste, beauty, and oneness with nature.

As a living tradition, Ikebana has evolved into a number of major schools over the centuries. We offer two-hour classes by certified instructors trained in Japan in the techniques of the Ikenobo and Sogetsu schools. Ikenobo is the oldest school and emerged in the 1550s. It specializes in a time-honored classical manner of arrangement. Sogetsu developed in 1926 and makes use of a wider range of plant and other materials to achieve a style that is more fluid and free-form.

You can learn the most basic of flower arranging methods in a single class. But the Japanese do not pursue Ikebana to gain expertise. They practice it to attain a serene sensitivity to the subtle undercurrents of nature and life.

With this in mind, we suggest that you take more than one class, because multiple lessons not only reinforce your skills, they also intensify your experience of the spirit of Ikebana. This enables you to better cultivate the discipline’s benefits, including inner stillness and harmony.

All classes require prior registration. Email for information or to register. Fees are payable in class, in cash or by check in the name of the teacher, and do not include admission to the Gardens.

Our first Ikenobo classes begin the week of January 13. Most classes are offered twice a week – on Sundays, and again on Tuesdays. The instruction and plant materials fee per class is $25.

January 13 – 10:00 am; repeats January 15 – 6:00 pm
January 20 – 10:00 am; repeats January 22 – 6:00 pm
February 3 – 10:00 am; repeats February 5 – 5:00 pm
February 10 – 10:00 am; repeats February 12 – 5:00 pm
March 3 – 12:00 pm; repeats March 5 – 5:00 pm
March 10 – 10:00 am
March 31 – 10:00 am; repeats April 2 – 5:00 pm
April 7 – 10:00 am; repeats April 9 – 5:00 pm 
May 5 – 10:00 am

Sogetsu classes are held once each month on Sundays, for a fee of $35. Class dates are: 

January 27  10:00 am
February 24  10:00 am
March 17  10:00 am
April 28  10:00 am
May 19  10:00 am  (This class will be held although the Gardens will be closed for the summer.)