Sunday, December 11, 2016

Continuing the Potpourri Conversation and Getting Crazy with the Boxes!

The Work Table A Little More Cleaned Up!
Annual Mexican Sage Flowers to Add to the Potpourri!
Cuttings from This Year's Gardens!
And the Craziness That is This Time of the Year!
As I think I have mentioned, I always have a tower of paper towels on the herbal work table through the season.  I just clip and pile and sometimes I forget what I have clipped.  I try to write on the paper towel  what is drying but I don't always get very far.  So what happens then is that I just combine all of the leaves and flowers into a container and make potpourri.  I mainly let what is in the box plant wise, dictate what essential oil or fixative I use to give it fragrance.  And you should really use both fixative AND essential oil for long lasting appeal.  A fixative is orris root, sandalwood, frankincense and myrrh and others.  I had forgotten that sweet woodruff dried gives a hint of vanilla in your potpourri and is considered a fixative.

One of my Facebook, master gardener friends and landscape designer extraordinaire, Martha asked for my favorite combinations of materials and scents.  I am sort of boring or maybe traditional is a better word when it comes to potpourri.  I love all of the lemon scented herbs and calendula petals with lemon oil.  I love lavender, thyme, rosemary and rose together with either rose or lavender oil.  I just found a bunch of dried lemon eucalyptus in my herbal stash that smells like Murphy's Oil Soap and depending what else I put into that mix, I might use rosemary oil.  I love pine needles, cones and holly leaves and berries with sweet orange, cinnamon, clove OR pine essential oils.  

These next three ideas are from one of my favorite little booklets called Potpourri Recipes and Crafts by Pat Humphries and Bertha Reppert.  It may still be available from The Rosemary House in Mechanicsburg, PA.

Lemon verbena, lemon balm, lemon grass, lemon thyme, calendula petals that have lemon smells and yellow colors in the petals,  use lemon essential oil.

When you have a lot of rose petals, rose geranium leaves, use a spoonful of cinnamon or clove and rose geranium essential oil.

Lots of different mint leaves, dried red geranium flowers (or holly with berries my addition) with pine essential oil.

For Christmas several years ago, I wrote this post for Mother Earth Living called Simple Holiday Crafts with Herbs and in it described a Woody Seed Mix from Malcolm Hillier's book, Christmas.  It incorporated leaves and twigs and seed heads from plants and even gave it a Christmas feel with cedarwood, pine or cinnamon essential oils.  I am such a stickler for a recipe and having every ingredient, but it really doesn't need to be that difficult.  Use what you have.  It may not look like the photo in a book, but if it is pleasing to look at, it will work.

I also think Martha that as a landscape designer, you should look into the book, Potpourri Making by Margaret Roberts which includes lists of herbs to grow for potpourri but adds lists of climbers, trees and shrubs too.  Something some of your clients may appreciate.

These additional books are a beginning book from Storey Publishing Bulletin A-130 called Making Potpourri by Madeleine H. Siegler and a book on the history of both dry and moist potpourris from Ann Tucker Fettner called Potpourri, Incense and Other Fragrant Concoctions may be helpful to those of you just starting out or want the history.  All of the books described have very good and easy recipes for both dry and moist potpourris. 

Yesterday we had to get organized to start sending our Christmas boxes to our friends.  And getting presents like bay leaves jarred and labeled.  Picking out your jam and jellies for the winning reader's box and selecting various jams and jellies to go all over the U.S.  It is an overwhelming task for The Herbal Husband in packing everything, but I get so much joy out of giving what I make that it is worth it. 

So at this writing, we do have a dusting of snow in the 'Burgh.  I changed my banner photo to reflect the snowy landscape.  We are to have temperatures rising later today and snow will change to rain.  I guess a crazy mix later on.  We are almost at the end of my annual herbal giveaway.  If you would like to participate and you live in the U.S., you must place a comment on this link for the original post by Tuesday, December 13, 2016 at 5:00 P.M., Eastern Standard Time.  There is also a link at the upper right hand portion of my home page to find the original link.  The Herbal Husband said what do you have to blog about now, since the garden is done.  Well, I said to him I would really like to finish my 2016 Trip to England.  Only have four posts out of sixteen done, so will be doing those in the coming days.  Hope you are having a great Sunday.  I need to get upstairs and help with packing boxes!  Talk to you tomorrow! 

1 comment:

Linda Goudelock said...

Even though you garden is 'sleeping ' herbs are are part of everyday life. essential oils too! Both are used in cooking and homemade items. DIY projects get my herbs and oils. But cooking is where most often I use both

Not that you need more to do but you could do a post once or twice a month that included uses for your herbs, cooking or craft!