Do you know that potpourri comes from a french word meaning “rotten pot”?
I had never given much thought to making my own potpourri until I bought my first home. When I got settled in my first home, I resolved to have a rose garden. I didn’t have much space but there was room for about 6 rose bushes.
I always enjoyed my Dad’s flowers growing up and I wanted his green thumb to rub off on me since no one else in the family seemed interested in growing anything. I was so excited about the prospect of having fresh cut flowers in the home. I had already bought 4 or 5 bud vases for that day yet to come.
I had pretty good success with those roses and enjoyed cutting them and displaying them throughout my small home. My neighbor had a eucalyptus tree in her front yard and had told me to help myself with cuttings to embellish my cut roses. The rose blooms and eucalyptus cuttings were a perfect match.
When I would visit my neighbor, her home always had such inviting and aromatic fragrances. She told me she made her own supply of potpourri that she used throughout her home. I was sold! I wanted to make my own potpourri. I had rose petals. I had eucalyptus. That was where I started.
If you would like to make potpourri for your own home…I will help you get started. The sky is the limit. It’s fun to make and very rewarding.
Your potpourri materials are everywhere
Everywhere I have lived since those days, I have continued to add to my potpourri supply with dried flowers and nature’s bounty. I can sift through my potpourri and still recognize some of the additions and remember where they came from. It’s another way of remembering places where I have lived.
Potpourri is not an exact science and you will be easily able to create your own blend of fragrances and materials. I don’t have a flower garden where I live now; but the community has many hedges of tea roses and other flowers, including magnolia blooms and gardenias. I don’t have to go far to add to my potpourri collection.
I don’t live in an area that is known for growing lavender, but if you do then you are fortunate; because lavender is a great addition to your potpourri mix. If you don’t have any flowers for your supply, try asking a local florist if they would give you some of their flowers that are no longer fresh and sell-able.
You might have a neighbor or friend who can help you with flowers and other items. The best part is you can start with what you have and through the years you can add to the supply each year. It will be good for many years.
Let’s start making some potpourri
Here is what you will need to get started. Flower blossoms and leaves, some spices to add to the mixture, some essential oils of your taste. You will need a fixative for the essential oils which can be anything to absorb and maintain the oils in the mixture.
The most common one is the orris root powder. I prefer to use oakmoss…it is everywhere in my locale and it works great and is free. for spices, I like to use cinnamon sticks, cloves and ginger pieces.
You can also dry some apple slices and orange peels to add to the mixture. And lastly, you will want to select your favorite essential oils. They can be found in craft stores and department stores.
Start gathering your flowers, leaves, twigs, and things and set them out to dry. I put mine in newspapers in an airy place. You want all the moisture to be out of the flowers before you can do anything with them. You may want to start in the summertime when the flowers are more prevalent and dry them so you have a plentiful supply.
You will also need some airtight jars or tins to store your potpourri in. Each year I order a fruitcake for Christmas which comes in a nice round tin. It’s a perfect container. Whenever I get something in a tin, it gets recycled for potpourri. All sizes can be used. Small ones are wonderful for use in a bathroom or a small area. Here are some that I am using.
Keep an eye out for some nice containers to store your potpourri
After you have dried your flowers and leaves, you want to prepare your fixative with your essential oils. Put it in a glass jar and add several drops of your essential oils. Close and shake to infuse the oils into your fixative. Let sit several days and continue to shake the jar.
After a week or so you are ready to do your potpourri assembly. In a large container add your dried flowers and leaves and other items. Include the spices and finish by mixing in the fixative. Mix it together and store it in a closed container. If you are happy with the aroma, you are done. If not…just change essential oils to modify until you have the perfect scent from your potpourri.
I like to keep some of my potpourris in small open baskets around in several rooms. The remainder is kept in the tins. If you have some large glass jars with lids, that is also a great place to store your potpourri. From time to time, change out the potpourri in the baskets or open containers with what is stored to refresh the fragrances.
You are on your way to keeping your home filled with aromatic fragrances. Remember next summer to keep your eyes open for new blooms and leaves, etc. to add to your potpourri bounty.