Ina Garten’s Tip for Effortless Flower Arrangements

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When I was growing up, my mother kept vases of fresh flowers all over the house. There were flowers on the kitchen and dining room tables, in the entryway, and stationed in all the windows. She even kept some in the bathroom. Unfortunately, her flower skills did not rub off on me. (I’d say it skipped a generation, but my sister’s house has more flowers than a royal wedding, so I think it just skipped me.)

My flower ineptitude is not for lack of trying, either. I’ve read countless articles and Pinterest tutorials about how to make grocery store flowers look like expensive flower shop bouquets, but I’ve never managed to pull it off. I should have known that the secret to keeping flowers in the house wasn’t Pinterest — it was Ina Garten.

Ina is the embodiment of casual elegance. She does everything beautifully, but never gives the impression that she is trying too hard. That’s why her place always seems so warm, welcoming, and relaxed. And in a recent Instagram post, she demonstrated her secret to colorful, elegant bouquets that require virtually no effort and no skills beyond the ability to count to five.

“Mixed bouquets are sometimes hard to get just right,” she wrote alongside a photo of a glass vase full of light blue, dark blue, and white hydrangeas. “So instead I often choose one kind of flower but in lots of different colors.”

I’m glad to know that even Ina finds mixed bouquets difficult to pull off, and her hydrangea arrangement looks like something even I could do, but it works. And her secret is just counting out three or five blooms of each color and putting them together. You don’t even have to worry about vases, because Ina has previously encouraged people to decorate their dining room tables by putting flowers in water glasses.

“My secret is to follow the rule of odd numbers: Three or five of each color always look best. (I can’t explain it, but it really works!)” she explained.

What I like best about Ina’s simple flower arrangement is its casual, effortless vibe. Her flowers look like something she just brought in from the farmers market and put on the table because they looked pretty, rather than something elaborate and expensive that a team of professionals stressed over for hours.

Whenever I bring a flower arrangement into a room, I worry about winding up with a trying-too-hard, “decorated for company” look. It’s like my whole house screams, “These flowers are here because people are coming over! We do not normally live like this.” That’s usually true, but I would prefer it if my house would shut up and let my guests think I just have flowers around all the time.

And with an arrangement this simple, I feel like I could achieve that “I have flowers around the house all the time” look by actually having flowers around the house all the time, just like Ina does.