How to Make Potpourri

Potpourri is the traditional way to capture the wonderful fragrance of a summer garden all year round. The aromatics of a potpourri can be used to gently perfume a room, cupboards, drawers and wardrobes, or stuffed into pillows to promote a blissful night’s sleep.

A potpourri, French for ‘rotten-pot’, is the mixing of dried flower petals, fragrant plants and herbs with certain fragrant ingredients and spices. Of course, you can use a store-bought potpourri, yet there is nothing quite as satisfying and pleasing as capturing those beautiful fragrances from your own garden to
enjoy throughout the year. The host of combinations that you can concoct is limited only by your imagination, creativeness, and the flowers and herbs available.

How to Make Potpourri

In a large ceramic bowl, mix together all the dry ingredients, using your hands to ensure a thorough mix. Next, add the appropriate essential oils, one drop at a time, mixing in well after each addition and testing for scent. Make sure you note down your favourite combinations for future reference. Put the potpourri mix in a well-sealed plastic bag and leave to cure in a dry, dark spot for six weeks. Be sure to give the mix a good shake every second day.

Option Two

Using the the previous instructions, use: six cups dried rose petals, one teaspoon each of dried mint leaves, ground cloves, ground cinnamon, and ground allspice, three tablespoons of orrisroot powder and six drops of rose essential oil. Or you can try this blend, which is favourite in my house: mix together four tablespoons of dried lavender flowers, half a teaspoon of orrisroot powder and three drops of lavender oil.

Your fragrant combinations can be placed into herb bags to combat cooking smells, freshen up a broom closet, and eliminate mustiness from a duster and odds- and-ends drawer. You can make small sachets from scraps of leftover coarse material, such as hessian or linen, gathered across the top and tie with a ribbon.

Where to Use Your Potpourri

Hang them around the room, over the backs of chairs, and in cupboards, squeezing them whenever you walk past to release their scent. These small bags can also be hung from coat hangers beneath coats and jackets, scattered in drawers or placed amongst folded clothes and linen.

For those of you who would like to try something a little different, sew pockets into the side of a tea cosy and fill them with potpourri or other fragrant herbs. Whenever you brew a pot of tea, the warmth of the teapot will activate the herbal perfume, making your cuppa an aromatic delight. If you still use oven gloves, sew a pocket onto the palm of each glove and fill them with a fragrant herbal or floral mix. Their scent will be released when handling warm utensils.

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Whether you need advice on how to remove a stain, how to keep your home naturally cool on hot summer days, or if you are looking for a natural first aid solution, Alan Hayes has the answer.

Alan Hayes, who was awarded the Order of Australia medal for his service to the community and to the environment as an author, has pursued his interest in herbal lore and natural alternatives for many years. He has created a self-sufficient and sustainable lifestyle with his wife on a small farm in a beautiful rural valley behind the Central Coast of NSW, Australia. He grows his own vegetables and fruit, recycles all sorts of material, and makes his own household products, too, from natural materials that are as effective as the harsher chemicals in commercial products. His home is carbon-neutral and is heated or cooled by the sun passing across the sky. All his energy needs are produced on-site and he lives the lifestyle that he encourages other people to do.