The Simply Luxurious Life®: Simple Strategies For Flower Arrangements  

February 8, 2011

Simple Strategies For Flower Arrangements

Flowers are a simple way to add elegance, bring nature into the home and incorporate beauty into any decor. As we all strive to create a sanctuary within our home that we relish returning to each day, I’ve gathered together some advice from Ina Garten, the Barefoot Contessa, so that we can focus on the vases and arrangements that are simple, yet create an amazing impression each and every time.
On one of her many cooking shows, the Barefoot Contessa shared with her viewers the only three vases any of us will need to ensure a pulled together arrangement that can accommodate any room or flower:

1. a tall, wide cylinder vase
                                     2. a cylindrical bud vase
                                                                                                3. a square vase
In her cookbook Back to Basics, on page 52, she shares ten tips on how to arrange flowers like a pro:

1. When you arrive home, with your flowers, cut the stems at an angle and put them immediately into water.

2. Fill the vase 3/4 full with water. Tulips only require a small amount of water.

3. Use warm water for everything except hydrangeas, which need hot tap water.

4. Put a splash of bleach in the vase.  It will reduce bacteria, which can prevent the stems from drinking water.

5. For woody-stem flowers such as hydrangeas or lilacs, split the stems several inches up from the bottom.  You want to expose the white inner part of the stem to water.

6. For flowers from bulbs and tubers, such as tulips an iris, score the bottoms of the stems as you might with scallions, the ends will curl up and they’ll drink more water.

7. Choose a vase that allows the flowers to “breathe” rather than packing them in tightly.

8. Build your arrangement in your hand, holding the stems and looking at the top of the flowers. When you’re happy with the arrangement, cut all the stems to the same length. Tying the stems with twine or using a rubber band before putting them in the vase holds them in place.

9. Don’t leave flowers in a warm sunny window. It will stress them.

10. For all flowers except tulips, recut the stems, clean the vase, and change the water every 2 or 3 days. Tulips can be temperamental; once they have opened, don’t change the water.

An easy rule of thumb that I like to follow, which was suggested by Ina as well, is to create monochromatic arrangements. It tends to create a grander presentation and command control of the room it is inhabiting.

However, no matter how you choose to incorporate flowers into your home, the results will be positive. For not a lot of money, beauty and a fresh touch are waiting for you at your local grocery store, farmer’s market or flower market.

Images: (1) Source (2) Crate & Barrel (3) Source (4) Source (5) Source (6) Source (7) Source (8) Source (9) Source (10) Source (11) Source (12) Source (13)Source (14)   Source

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At February 8, 2011 at 2:44 AM , Blogger Shopgirl said...

This is such a fantastic post - have learnt loads! will have to bookmark it for future reference, as I know I will have forgotten everything by the time I buy fresh flowers next!! Or maybe I just need to go buy some now and put your advice into practice immediately! :)

Thank you, xx

At February 8, 2011 at 2:58 AM , Blogger MyFavouriteThings said...

I love fresh flowers, so this is a great post! Although a bit expensive in Norway, I buy fresh flowers every weekend.

At February 8, 2011 at 4:40 AM , Blogger The enchanted home said...

Beautiful post. Great advice. I love flowers, who doesnt' love walking into their home to be greeted by a beautiful colorful bouquet of flowers....even if you are picking them up at your local little market, a tiny bunch can add something to a room. Nice post.Please visit me, doing my first ever giveaway, a gorgeous french

At February 8, 2011 at 6:45 AM , Blogger Cara said...

fabulous tips and lovely photos! I think I will go out and buy fresh flowers today :)

At February 8, 2011 at 7:13 AM , Blogger hostess of the humble bungalow said...

I love fresh flowers...and have many vases...Ina Garten is a very savvy gal...wouldn't it be fun to have a dedicated flower arranging area with a sink?

At February 8, 2011 at 7:43 AM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

I love fresh flowers more than anything in the world. I often feel like many do not share my feelings. I love to send them, and I love to receive them. Thank you for this lovely and very helpful post. I love Ina too! Valorie

At February 8, 2011 at 8:42 AM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

I love flowers they pick me up on the darkest of days.

At February 9, 2011 at 8:51 AM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thanks for the tips. Just bought some pretty apricot roses this morning - if all goes well, they'll all be given out. Love reading your ideas.

At April 10, 2011 at 1:25 AM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

I am trying to find Ina's suggestion for the best flower market in Paris.

At April 10, 2011 at 7:57 AM , Blogger The Simply Luxurious Life said...

Anonymous - Ina's favorite Flower Market is Marianne Robic (39 rue de Babylone), "a great flower shop" - as Ina puts it. I hope this helps. :)


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