Homemade potpourri

Your garden is blooming, but your hard work doesn’t seem to last very long.  Why not use the ”bloomed” flowers for potpourri and extend the enjoyment of your garden?

The fragrant year : seasonal inspirations for a scent-filled home
by Clare Louise Hunt and the editors of Country living gardener.
New York : Hearst Books, c2000.
From the warm smell of freshly-baked gingerbread to the sweet scent of sachets, fill every room with enticing fragrance. Follow the seasonal suggestions for scents heady or delicate--including candles, flowers, foods, and more. And, the exquisite photos are as pleasing to your eyes as the fragrances are to your nose!
Making candles & potpourri : illuminate & infuse your home
by Catherine Bardey ; photographs by Zeva Oelbaum.
New York : Black Dog & Leventhal Publishers : Distributed by Workman Pub. Co., c1999.
Catherine Bardey, fashion editor and stylist, reveals the secrets of using candles and potpourri to set the perfect mood in any room. She explains how to make and use beautiful potpourri arrangements of dried fruits and flowers to infuse each room with the scents of the seasons or holidays. Whether you're making exquisite gifts or adding that special detail to a room, you'll delight in the joys of these simple and creative projects. Book jacket.
Scented treasures : aromatic gifts from kitchen & garden
Stephanie Donaldson ; photography by Shona Wood.
Pownal, Vt. : Storey Communications, 1996.
In the modern age of plug-in room fragrancers and spray polishes, Scented Treasures will show you how to scent your rooms with traditional gilded oranges, scented candles and polishes to make a Home Sweet Home, in every sense of these words. For food-lovers, there are aromatic recipes for preserved lemons, herbal vinegars, garlic confit, fiery chili oil, delicious spice biscuits, honey cake and orange wine, among other delights, while for health and beauty, you can concoct a refreshing skin tonic, an herbal hair rinse and soothing lotions and creams. Gardeners will find this beautifully illustrated book packed with useful information about how to create a scented garden, as well as ideas for making up a variety of seasonal posies, garlands and pot pourris using fresh and dried flowers and herbs.
The scented Christmas : fragrant decorations, gifts, and cards for the festive season
Gail Duff ; illustrated by Antonia Enthoven.
Emmaus, Pa. : Rodale Press ; [New York] : St. Martin's Press [distributor], c1991.

The basic ingredient of potpourri is dried flower petals. To this you can add buds, seeds, herbs, peelings, and spices or oils. Colors and textures make for an attractive arrangement. A fixative insures that the blend will last longer.

The fragrant mixture can be used in the home in clothes drawers, closets, or in almost any room. Placing the mixture in a glass container where it can be seen adds a colorful decoration to a room. The mixtures can be placed in muslin or cheesecloth. Silk can be used to make a small pillow or sachet.

One can choose a theme for the potpourri that will suggest certain ingredients – flowers, leaves, spices, etc. – and thus achieve a desired scent.  A theme might be a classic blend of rose petals, a woodland mixture, or a lavender bundle. There are many possibilities to make a potpourri personal.

Gathering flowers

It is suggested that the flowers be picked in the morning after the dew has dried and before they are fully opened.  They can be dried on a wire rack or by using salt. 

In addition to roses, preferable flowers include carnations, cornflowers, foxglove, hyacinth, jasmine, poppy, and zinnias. Herbs might be bay leaves, rosemary, sage, tarragon, and thyme. Spices are anise, cinnamon sticks, cloves, and nutmeg. Dried orange and lemon peelings, as well as colorful wood shavings can be included.

There is pleasure in making potpourri with ingredients gathered from you own garden. With a little effort and hardly any cost it can be as good as any you might in the store.

Article by: St. Louis Public Library staff