I kept noticing a dog poop stink in the vicinity of my studio where I do flower arranging. At first I kept checking to see if one of my Chihuahuas had made a deposit, but then I realized what I was smelling. It was the lingering scent of the flower I had been arranging in one of my nicest china bowls. I had decided to try to create an arrangement with a Stapelia flower. I think they're gorgeous, but they stink. They intend to. They attract dozens of eager flies, instead of hummingbirds or bees, to my porch where the plants are in bloom. They do look a bit like rotting meat, I suppose, with reddish-purple veins and hairy edges. But even more they resemble large starfish. That was what attracted me to them at first, and the friend at whose home I saw them was kind enough to give me two plants, which have multiplied. The arrangement I did with the Stapelia is what is called free-style ikebana, i.e. it doesn't follow any of the rules. More about that and what it has to do with sake and beer in the next blog. Meanwhile, I should say that I was wasn't pleased with the arrangement that resulted, but it was definitely unusual.