Garden Bouquet DIY and Recycling Flower Arranging Hack

Happy Wednesday! It’s always a happy day for me when the peonies burst into bloom and I couldn’t resist gathering some flowers for a garden bouquet in celebration!

I have a handy tip and hack to share that makes flower arranging a breeze and a way to recycle too. . . put those plastic netting bags to work that produce comes in, usually citrus and avocados!

 The plastic netting bag is strong and flexible, making it a perfect material to support your flower stems. It also saves the step of taping off a grid pattern on your vase. Cut your bag to the size of the top of your vase and then use floral tape to secure the plastic netting along the top or rim of you vase. The netting is slippery and flexible so you’ll need to tape it securely to keep it in place.

I used a ‘vase within a vase’ method, placing a smaller vase inside a larger one, which I’ve used for a blooming branch centerpiece, tulip and jelly bean centerpiece, and woodland floral centerpiece. The plastic netting is a great alternative to using chicken wire, here, since the chicken wire can become as much of an obstacle as a support system if you’re arranging a lot of flowers in your vase.

I cut some hosta leaves to a place between the walls of the vases, to camouflage the stems and provide a little garden green color and texture. Hosta leaves are always so big and beautiful when they first unfurl in the spring before any garden critters have a chance to munch on them!

Japanese privet is in bloom here now, so I cut some stems for filler and to enjoy the pretty white blooms.

Add your peonies or your large focal flowers next within the framework of your greenery.

My Lamb’s ear is blooming with spikes of pinkish purple colored flowers and provide pretty silvery soft stalks of color and texture to a garden arrangement.

If you don’t have any commercial floral preservative to add to your water, you can make your own to help your cut flowers last longer. There are a lot of homemade solutions and theories about adding aspirin, vinegar, vodka, bleach, sugar, and pennies to your vase water to prolong the life of your flowers.

 Here’s an easy formula you can mix at home and some tips to help prolong the life of your cut flowers:

Mix one part lemon-lime soda (regular, not diet) to three parts water, along with 1/2 teaspoon of bleach. The citric acid in the soda help the water travels up the stems to the flowers more rapidly, while providing food in the form of sugar. The bleach helps fight the growth of bacteria, allowing the flowers to stay hydrated and fresh.

Other tips to help your cut flowers last:

Cut the stems of your flowers at a 45-degree angle one inch from the bottom for maximum water uptake.

Remove all leaves below the waterline to prevent bacteria in the water.

Keep your vase out of direct sunlight and change your vase water every 2 days.

The plastic mesh works for Ball jar bouquets too as a flower frog, placing the netting on the mouth of the jar and using the lid to hold the netting in place.

If you’re buying avocados for your Cinco de Mayo celebration, save your plastic netting. You can fill your ‘vase within a vase’ arrangement with lime slices for a pretty centerpiece for your fiesta!

Hope you’re enjoying some pretty spring blooms where you are!

Thank you for your visit!

Sharing with:  Metamorphosis Monday

  80 comments for “Garden Bouquet DIY and Recycling Flower Arranging Hack

  1. Jean
    May 3, 2017 at 8:22 am

    I enjoyed your post today. Looking at your beautiful flowers while knowing that here the temperature is in the thirties. Hard to be patient waiting for true spring.

  2. May 3, 2017 at 8:28 am

    Hi Mary,
    Those are some wonderful tips and pretty darn smart!! Your peonies are lovely. Can’t wait until ours bloom here in MI but with this cold spell it will be at least a couple more weeks maybe even into June. Looking forward to copying this arrangement idea too. Thanks for bringing so much beauty to our lives.

  3. mary
    May 3, 2017 at 8:32 am

    Love this idea. It’s such a great alternative to scratch, y chicken wire!

  4. May 3, 2017 at 8:32 am

    Mary, You are a genius! I love this idea! I have a bag of lemons in the fridge and this weekend I needed this fix for a bouquet of daffs and tulips (that’s what is blooming here now — peonies just peeking out of the ground). I am always cutting up those bags before discarding so they don’t end up hurting a bird somewhere, but now I have this excellent use for them! And I think the individual holes could be expanded if needed for larger stems and branches by snipping a strand or two! Your peonies are beautiful and the scent of your bouquet with the privet must be fabulous. Thanks for the idea! Linda

  5. May 3, 2017 at 8:33 am

    Thank you that extremely very helpful tip!! Definitely will put it to use. Beautiful flowers as always.

  6. May 3, 2017 at 8:48 am

    What a great idea Mary! it!…and I have a supply of those cylinders and I need to make more use of them! Gorgeous flowers!!! Happy Hump Day!

  7. May 3, 2017 at 9:01 am

    As usual you make the prettiest floral arrangements I’ve ever seen and I’m so jealous you have so many beautiful flowers to made you arrangements with. I have 3 peony blooms on my little plant but I only had one bloom last year so that’s an improvement. They look so pretty that I have to stand and stare at them every time I go outside. Maybe someday I’ll have enough blooms that I can made a pretty arrangement too!

  8. May 3, 2017 at 9:05 am

    Beautiful arrangement, I never knew Lambs ear would flower like that. I just planted some last year, so I am hoping have the same variety. I always try and pack enough flowers in my vases they don’t need a frog (which is probably the wrong way to do it. LOL), but now I know what I can do with some of the mesh that onions or potatoes come in, thanks so much for the tip!

  9. Ellen
    May 3, 2017 at 9:06 am

    Absolutely beautiful! I love your posts about flowers because you always have such gorgeous varieties, many that this New England girl doesn’t know! The Lamb’s Ear is adorable and I would just love to touch it. Eons of years ago my Gram was using your vase within a vase, as a child I thought it was so funny. She also used to keep a pitcher of roses in her refrigerator to keep them longer. I remember my Mother telling her it was silly because no one could see them. She said she did every time she opened the door! I enjoy the walks down memory lane that your posts often provide. Thank-you for this lovely post with your inspired tips and photos.

    • May 4, 2017 at 9:20 am

      From another Ellen..I enjoyed YOUR post also..and what your Gram said about seeing the roses every time she opened the frig door..that was priceless!!! ❤️🌹❤️🌹❤️

  10. May 3, 2017 at 9:10 am

    Just stunning Mary! What a brilliant tip to use the netting! Now if I only had peonies blooming in my yard…LOVE the hosta leaves too 🌸

  11. Kathy Menold
    May 3, 2017 at 9:21 am

    Love ,love, love, peonies and went out in my garden and picked a big bunch to,save from the heavy predicted t storms on Mon. Made two arrangements and fooled Mother nature!! Just wish they lasted longer.

  12. RS
    May 3, 2017 at 9:36 am

    I learn so much from your blog! Thank you.

  13. franki
    May 3, 2017 at 9:41 am

    And…I have ALL those…just waiting….who knew!!! franki

  14. Debbie
    May 3, 2017 at 10:25 am

    Fantastic idea!!! you are a genius!

  15. May 3, 2017 at 10:50 am

    No peonies here in the market, but hoping soon. This hack is very clever. I’m going to do it! I also just saw an article in Southern Living about using chicken wire. Thought I’d pick up some next time at the hardware store. ‘-)
    Beautiful flowers, Mary!

  16. mjburlingame
    May 3, 2017 at 10:57 am

    What beautiful bouquets. I have another few weeks before my peonies are open. Thank you Mary for the inspiration. You always have something wonderful to share!

  17. Cyndi Raines
    May 3, 2017 at 11:04 am

    Awesome! What a smart girl you are and we are all so thankful for you sharing these great flower arrangements and tips so we can do them as well. :) I hate throwing out those mesh bags, in the past I have used them to put suet in, but now another great idea! My peonies are just tall enough to put the circle stake around and I can’t wait for them to bloom. I love Lambs Ear, hope mine come back this year, they were pretty sparse last year. I will do this arrangement for sure. P. S. Made my garden hose wreath and it turned out so cute! Mine is a little more “rustic” looking as I used an old hose that had been shortened, and much used garden tools with a burlap bow. It is on the picket fence by my garden shed. LOVE IT!

    • May 3, 2017 at 11:49 am

      I bet it is SO cute Cyndi! ♥

  18. May 3, 2017 at 11:30 am

    This is just chock full of wonderful information, Mary….THANK YOU! I rarely notice those mesh bags but I’ll sure look for them now. I love your tip about using some hosta leaves to a place between the walls of the vases…Brilliant!
    My peonies are far from blooming & since we will only be in the 50’s this entire week, I’m sure it will be awhile.

  19. May 3, 2017 at 11:41 am

    Wow! I’ve never heard of putting bleach in with your flower water but I am excited to try your solution with the Sprite. Your flowers are gorgeous,
    love all your tips! Thank you!

  20. Chloe
    May 3, 2017 at 11:48 am

    Gorgeous, gorgeous peonies! I love them, but cannot grow them here in southern California, so I’ll just enjoy yours. Thanks for the tip of using the netting as a flower frog…great idea.

  21. Becky
    May 3, 2017 at 12:18 pm

    What a great idea to use the netting bags! I purchase something in one of those every week. The peonies are beautiful. I’m waiting for mine to bloom. They are one of my favorites as the remind me of my childhood. We had a whole row of them along our yard when I was growing up.

  22. Vanessa
    May 3, 2017 at 12:49 pm

    I love these tips and will be using them. Thanks for sharing!

  23. Cher
    May 3, 2017 at 2:05 pm

    Loved today’s post. I am looking forward to applying your ideas on my next flower bouquet..

  24. Marilyn
    May 3, 2017 at 3:46 pm

    Those Peonies are lovely.

  25. Joan
    May 3, 2017 at 3:47 pm

    What a nice and informative post.

  26. Marion
    May 3, 2017 at 3:48 pm

    Your Peonies are so pretty.

  27. Lisa Montgomery
    May 3, 2017 at 4:32 pm

    Such a clever idea and peonies are my favorite.

  28. May 3, 2017 at 4:57 pm

    Beautiful peonies. Great idea using the avocado sack for a grid. I love how you used greenery and filler from your garden.
    I wish we could grow peonies here.

  29. May 3, 2017 at 9:05 pm

    What great tips, Mary!! I have a sack of lemons in the fridge right now and I’m going to try this. Your arrangements look gorgeous. I tried growing hostas years ago and they made great rabbit food in my little yard! Maybe I could use an oak leaf hydrangea leaf as a filler in the vase? As always, thank you for sharing your ideas with us.

  30. Brenda S
    May 3, 2017 at 9:18 pm

    Love this tip, maybe it will help me be a better arranger!!

  31. May 3, 2017 at 9:49 pm

    Absolutely beautiful and breathtaking! Adding the hosta leaves to the base makes the entire arrangement pop! I saw an arrangement on Pinterest with orange slices around the base and it made a nice arrangement also. Thank you for informative information…I always have difficulty getting flowers arranged properly. 😃

  32. emily
    May 4, 2017 at 8:16 am

    Love your tips! Vase in vase and Hosta leaves….great ideas!

  33. May 4, 2017 at 9:24 am

    Loved the tips…I wrote down your recipe for the flower mixture…I also like the tip for arranging…I sometimes use scotch tape and make a grid..but I have always used a vase in a vase…it helped with the spills..we have a few weeks left before our peonies bloom…can’t wait…thanks for sharing!! ❤️🌺🌹🌻🌼🌸

  34. May 4, 2017 at 2:32 pm

    Nice hacks, and gorgeous arrangements!

  35. May 4, 2017 at 7:27 pm

    Great idea on the flower arranging… I use those bags for various things, but this is a new one for me. Thank you.

  36. May 4, 2017 at 11:13 pm

    Now this is clever! I never thought to do this, I always make the grid with florist tape. All of the flowers you used should bloom here in a week or so. I hope I can make a similiar arrangement, it is beautiful! Have a great weekend. The rain just started here and we are to get a real soaking tomorrow.

  37. May 5, 2017 at 8:58 am

    Great tips, thanks!!!

  38. May 5, 2017 at 9:09 am

    What an inspiring post! Thanks for these wonderful tips!

  39. Linda
    May 5, 2017 at 8:39 pm

    Beautiful arrangement. Thank you for the floral arranging lesson.

  40. Aprile
    May 5, 2017 at 8:43 pm

    Mary… so clever! Will put this idea to good use. Love your posts… They make my day as well. :)

  41. Margie
    May 6, 2017 at 6:14 pm

    Genius! I love, love, love your posts. Yours is my “go to” blog for all things wonderful in entertaining.

  42. May 9, 2017 at 11:48 am

    Using netting is the best idea yet, thank you!

  43. May 9, 2017 at 5:07 pm

    What a great idea! Your arrangements are so creative and beautiful…

  44. May 9, 2017 at 7:19 pm

    What beautiful arrangements Mary!

  45. Robyn
    May 11, 2017 at 6:42 am

    Thank you for the tips/hacks!! Those peonies are gorgeous!!!

  46. caitpb
    May 22, 2017 at 10:51 pm

    Absolutely genius! Now I can reuse those bags and save money!

  47. July 10, 2017 at 9:18 am

    This is a great idea! We all have many of those little mesh bags from onions, potatoes, oranges… and so many more items. Thank you for sharing this. :)

  48. July 10, 2017 at 2:12 pm

    Mary, I am thrilled that you shared this wonderful tutorial with Gardens Galore! So much easier than taping off your container!

  49. July 17, 2017 at 1:43 am


  50. July 19, 2017 at 12:41 pm

    I use the green avocado bags and coat hangar wire to make a miniature fish net to attach to sign board that says “An old fisherman lives here with the catch of his life.” If I had to option to post an image I would, but if you search my website you might find it and other hacks, re-purpose, reuse or recycles.

  51. September 5, 2017 at 10:10 am

    It’s a lovely arrangements and the tips are very helpful. But I would recommend just to disinfected the vace/jar. Washing it with some bleach and water will remove all kinds of bacteria and the flowers will last longer.

  52. Betty
    December 10, 2017 at 11:25 am

    Hi. Beautiful arrangement! What size mason jars did you use? Quart?

    • December 10, 2017 at 1:47 pm

      I used pint but you could use quart 😀

  53. Sharon
    September 8, 2018 at 3:16 pm

    How do you change the water every few days without having to completely redo the entire thing?

    • September 8, 2018 at 3:32 pm

      Hi Sharon, My arrangement has lasted well over a week with just topping off the water level. I’ve also lifted the whole arrangement out by the flower frog, set it in the sink, and replaced the water in the vase.

  54. Kimberly
    June 29, 2019 at 8:31 pm

    These are gorgeous ideas and super-helpful tips—gonna copy them asap. Thank you so much!!

  55. September 3, 2019 at 5:16 am

    Great idea! My kids will love having a go at this with me.

  56. Gloria
    February 22, 2020 at 1:14 am

    Best advice ever, thank you

  57. Kristin Dimmich
    March 6, 2023 at 10:06 am

    Add me to you blog list!

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