How to Make Your Own Potpourri
With so many artificial fragrances out in the market today it is easy to forget a time-honoured tradition of making your own natural fragrance for your home.
We can get so caught up in the convenience of using a synthetic scent whether it is in a candle, spray or ‘plug-in’ (yuck!), that we forget the craft and sense of self-satisfaction when you harvest your own plants and make your own beautiful display to add a distinct ambience to your home.
Winter is about to set in and I’ve been busy harvesting the flowers and herbs left on my plants before they vanish with the cold.
In doing so, I’ve felt drawn to make my own beautiful bowl of aromatics that not only looks visually attractive but smells great too.
Potpourri used to be around years ago but is not seen so much now. Which is a shame as it is so easy to make and better for you than having a synthetic fragrance wafting in the air that you breathe. It also brings inside a little bit of nature for us which can be missing over the cold winter months.
If you’ve not heard the word potpourri before, the English Oxford Dictionary’s description is …
“a mixture of dried petals and spices placed in a bowl to perfume a room”.
The best flowers to use in your potpourri are ones that retain their colour when dry.
Great examples are:
☘ Roses – of course! Who doesn’t love roses and dried rose petals, buds and flower heads? They are so pretty and wonderful at retaining both their colour and aroma. They also look very romantically bohemian.
☘ Lavender blossoms – beautiful to look at and smell. Lavender retains its gorgeous aroma and makes a perfect addition.
☘ Cornflowers – no aroma but visually so cute with a choice of blues, pinks and whites.
☘ Marigolds – bright and cheerful bringing a splash of yellow and orange to your mix.
☘ Herbs like rosemary, thyme and sage make wonderful additions. Also, dried leaves such as rose geranium, lemon verbena and lemon balm help bulk up the potpourri as well as adding to the overall aroma.
☘ Spices are often included, for example whole cloves, cinnamon sticks, star anise and nutmeg are wonderful additions. Other ingredients to add which make your display attractive are dried citrus peel, small pine cones or various seed pods.
If you want to enhance the aroma of your potpourri you can add a few drops of an essential oil or blend. Using essential oils also boosts the therapeutic element to the botanicals you have chosen. This can be particularly helpful if you want support on an emotional and spiritual level (not something a synthetic fragrance can offer). Selecting oils that mirror the plants and ingredients you are using is a great place to start. It’s also a good idea to include orris root powder which is a fragrance fixative derived from the rhizomes of Irises.
The recipe I’ve used is based on one that I found in the NZ Gardener magazine “Growing and Using Herbs and Superfoods for Health and Wellbeing’. I’ve made some tweaks here and there due to the plants and ingredients I had access too.
Creating your own potpourri is incredibly straightforward. All it takes is to follow these four simple steps.
How to make your own potpourri
- Choose the plants you wish to use and harvest on a morning when it hasn’t rained (see amounts in next step). Position your plants, petals, herbs etc on a drying rack or tray covered with paper towels. Place the tray somewhere safe away from direct light in a warm and airy area. You will know when the plant material is dry and ready to use as it feels crumbly and crunchy to touch.
Here’s a mixture of cornflowers, pansies, roses, lavender and lemon verbena.
- Once dry, in a large glass, ceramic or stainless-steel bowl combine 3 cups of dried flowers, petals and buds and 1 cup of dried leaves and herbs e.g. lemon verbena, rose geranium, sage and lemon balm. Then lightly crush and add your chosen spices e.g. 3 cinnamon sticks, whole cloves, tbsp allspice.
- Sprinkle over 2 tbsp orris root powder and 10 drops of your chosen essential oil/s. Mix altogether and store in a large lidded jar for 4-6 weeks to mature.
- To ensure the mixture is properly mixed, shake the jar every few days. After 4-6 weeks your potpourri will be ready for you to display. Choose any type of non-metal container to display your potpourri. You can either place all your potpourri in one big bowl or smaller bowls positioned around your home. Or use just a small amount then seal the rest to top up and refresh the bowl/s as needed.
For my potpourri I used the beautiful Happiness essential oil synergy. This blend contains the comforting and nurturing essential oils of sweet orange, geranium, patchouli, clove, cinnamon and rose which perfectly compliments the plants I’d chosen. I love it!
Here’s my display which will be greeting my clients this week 😀🌹
Other wonderful essential oil synergy suggestions are …
☘ Perfect Harmony essential oil synergy which contains soothing and harmonising bergamot, frankincense, geranium and ylang ylang essential oils.
☘ Butterfly Wings essential oil synergy with gentle and calming sweet orange, lavender, mandarin and geranium essential oils.
☘ Strength essential oil synergy a blend of emotionally strengthening essential oils of sweet orange, cedarwood virginian, cypress, frankincense, french rose and neroli.
You can’t help but feel uplifted when you walk past a beautiful aromatic potpourri display.
A jar of homemade potpourri makes a gorgeous gift! But you’ll probably want to keep it all for yourself! 😊
Happy potpourring 🌼
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Published on May 20, 2019