Potpourri adds a refreshing scent to any room. You can make a spicy scent, woodsy, sweet scent, or anything in between. Just experiment with the essential oils or leaves and flowers you use. You can even use it to make sachets.
You could make potpourri from flowers from your wedding or flowers from a loved one.
Or you could gather the ingredients from your yard.
It's best to pick your flowers on a nice warm day as soon as the dew has dried. Any petals will work, but the flowers that are just opening will have more scent.
You can use many kinds of plant material. I especially like peppermint and lady's mantle leaves. Peppermint retains its nice scent and lady's mantle has such an interesting shape. But pick what you like. Some ideas are cones, citrus peels, bay leaves, birch bark, lavender leaves, geranium leaves, thyme, rosemary, sage, chamomile, marjoram, whole cloves, cinnamon sticks, any flowers, and lambs ears (the plant, not the animal). You can even pick according to what color you want your potpourri to be.
Flowers and leaves must be dried well before you make the potpourri.
To Dry Flowers
Remove petals from the flower. Some smaller and more delicate flowers I just leave the flower whole. Violets, forget-me-nots, bachelor buttons, and love in a mist are some that will dry whole nicely. Thick flowers like peony need to have the petals removed.
You can spread the items to dry thinly on a newspaper or screen and put them in a dry, warm, well ventilated place that is out of the sun.
You can dry items in the microwave oven. Spread your stuff to dry on a paper towel or paper plate. Lay another paper towel on top. Microwave on low, and check them every minute. Turn them after 2 minutes if they aren't completely dry. Cool and then store in a container. Recheck them in a few days or a week to make sure they are dry. You don't want them to have any moisture or they will mold.
If you picked the plants with stems, like you normally do lavender, you can bundle them and hang them in a dry place out of sunlight to dry.
You can also dry whole flowers in a shallow box by putting a 1/2 inch layer of fine sand, silica gel or borax, lay the flowers on this and cover with another layer of the drying agent. Leave them in the box until completely dry. Time depends on the size of your flowers. Flowers keep their color and shape better dried this way.
I think the easiest way to dry things is to use a dehydrator. That's what I normally do. I just check them and pull off the things that are dried and leave the rest to dry longer.
One year I had a shallow basket next to my door where I came into the house. I would drop a few pretty petals or blossoms in it daily. If there was a flower that was thicker, I would make sure that was on the top. I wasn't trying to dry them, It just made me happy seeing all the beautiful petals. It turned out that they dried beautifully. This would probably horrify a serious drying person, but it worked. It really isn't that hard!
I use orris root which is the most common fixative. Orris root is the root of the Florentine iris plant. If you're really ambitious you could dig up part of the root, clean it, peel it, chop it, and dry it. Or you can just buy it in a health food store or craft store. It can be used in powder or ground form or chopped. The problem with powder is it coats the flowers sometimes or makes the glass look dusty. The good thing about the powder is the ease of mixing the essential oil in it. Orris root is probably the easiest fixative to use. I used about 1 tablespoon per quart of plant material.
Cinnamon sticks, lemon or orange peel, vanilla beans, nutmeg, and whole cloves are also fixatives. They add a nice spicy scent to a winter potpourri.
Other fixatives are coriander seeds, bay leaves, dried rosemary, gum benzoin and vetiver.
If you don't have any fixative, don't let that stop you from making potpourri. You can make it without a fixative. Just add a few drops of essential oil to refresh or make your flowers more fragrant. If you don't have any essential oil, make it anyway. Just have fun with it, this is what crafts are about.
Here are some recipes.
Potpourri # 1 This is a light sweet fresh scent.
Mix and set aside
2 cups lavender leaves
Mix all ingredients or layer as desired in a dish or glass bowl. Sprinkle a few rose buds on top if desired. Cover and let oils infiltrate the flowers for about 2 to 4 weeks.
Potpourri # 2 This is nice and spicy, it reminds me of Christmas.
1 cup lavender leaves
Add all ingredients and store in a closed container for a couple of weeks to absorb the scent.
Potpourri # 3 This is a simple lavender recipe.
2 1/2 cups of lavender buds
Potpourri isn't a science. Put in what ever kinds of plant material you have on hand. Be it orange peels, cedar chips, pine cones, and spices. Play with it and add any spices you like or any combination of oils that are pleasing to you. Just have fun! :)