Potpourri: a mixture of things or a mixture of dried petals, fruits, spices, and essential oils. Usually placed in bowls or small bags to add fragrance to a room, drawer, or closet.
I have always been fascinated with herbs since childhood. I can blame it on my parents because instead of taking my siblings and me to amusement parks, we always ended up at museums or historical areas. I was entranced with life in earlier times, especially learning how people used herbs in the 18th and 19th centuries.
As I grew older, my passion continued, and I read every book that I could on herbs, dreaming of having my own herb garden someday. In addition to the classics on herbs, I devoured every book written by Adelma Simmons of Caprilands Herb Farm in Coventry, Connecticut. My patient parents indulged me with a visit to Caprilands, where I met Adelma Simmons. I was in awe. She was everything I could imagine as a wise, green lady. She held court at Caprilands, and I happily fell under her spell. In my group of heroines, she remains close to Tasha Tudor, someone I have revered all of my life.
In my senior year of college, I had the opportunity to work with an herb lady that sold potpourri at fairs and festivals. One of my greatest pleasures was to open large shipping barrels of dried flowers. I loved to dive into the rose petals from India and just wanted to swim in them.
Fast forward to 2021. I have spent the years between growing and mostly cooking with herbs. But, last year, I was assigned to deadhead the David Austin roses at my job at Groffs Plant Farm. I was delighted and begged to keep the spent blooms. Quickly, I made a simple potpourri without a fixative for my colleagues.
I requested the same task this year, and I am happily gathering large containers of spent blooms. I have been drying them in my car, laying trays of rose petals to dry in the sun on the back seat. It’s the perfect environment. This year, I am doing it right. I’ve purchased fixative (orris root) and essential oils to enhance the dried roses and dried violas that I gathered. My back porch is filled with dried plants and large bowls of potpourri. Soon, I will be bagging it into small chiffon bags to give to my Groffs colleagues and friends.
10 c. dried rose petals
4. c. dried flowers (I am using colorful violas this year)
2 c. dried lavender blossoms
4 Tbl. Orris Root(1-2 Tb. Per 4 c. dried plant materials)
15-20 drops of essential oil of choice (I use: rose, lavender, sweet orange, and ylang ylang.)