The accent is all about story telling. In most cases the story is “season”. The accent represents Earth in the Triad. The bonsai represents Man and the scroll represents Heaven. Man keeps a harmonious balance between Heaven and Earth.
The accent, or “companion plant” is part of the display where while there may be rules, it is a time to be creative. Planting can be made in small rustic pots, handmade with rough textures and special glazes, smaller pieces of driftwood or roof tiles, broken pottery, old rusty cans and flat pieces of wood.
In spring, flowers should be held to one or two blooms and the rest in buds. Toko Kazari is about subtlety. The size of the stand under the accent. Is a flowering plant used, should it be a stone or a carving? In the end this last item is really very important. In fact it may so important that the best course of action is to leave it out. In Keido display, formally introduced by Takeyama and then taught to Kobayashi, Kimura and Sudo, the accent is left out and only a tree and scroll are displayed. Why? Sometimes that is all that is needed to encapsulate the perfect feeling. Don’t schlock it up.
More often than not a Kusa in a Keido display will contain only one species of plant within the pot. This is just keeping the display on the simple side. Mixed species Kusa become distracting as the eye is constantly being drawn to the wonderful array of species growing in the pot. Save the mixed species for Ikebana. If usuing mixed plants keep in mind that the plants should all come from similer environments. Desert areas or water areas, high mountain flowers and sedges. When using flowering plants for display, keep in mind the time of the season. Is it early spring, late Spring, early summer, late summer, etc.,etc. In early spring keep flowers to one blossom maybe two at the most. The species can also have a couple blossoms as to kindle the emergence of more flowers but no just yet. That is story telling. A late summer display may contain more flowers and no buds, but maybe an empty calyx depicting it is getting ready for summer and no flowers. L ight colored pots in the pastel range of blues , yellows and green will work for spring and summer. Pots of the Kusa can be more ornamental than the main object. This is where you get to show that small piece of creativity in about 6 square inches.
Fall can be shown with dried grasses turning brown or tall flat leaved stems with burnt ends and edges from the summer just passed. Small leaved succulents with reddish leaves are also good here and can depict most any season since they look much the same all year long unless blooming. Dark color pots are appropriate here, dark blues and rusty colored pots as well as unglazed pots look good in fall and winter. Here is a sample of some of the more common plants used in making companion plants.
Accent plants from the many exhibits I have attended.