Tuesday, July 11, 2006

Making Homemade Potpourri, from Your Very Own Back Yard, with Your Kids

Part One of a Two-Part Article

If you’re like me I’m always anxious in the spring to get colorful annuals planted in pots and clear off my perennial and herb beds for the spring and summer season. And, now that it’s mid-summer and many flowers and herbs are at the peak of their blooming period, it’s a perfect time for gathering blossoms for making homemade potpourri.


With a bowl of homegrown flowers and herbs and a few ingredients, found at most craft stores, you’ll find creating a pretty, fragrant potpourri is both easy and fun to make with your kids. Here’s how to go about making homemade potpourri from five basic ingredients – flowers, herbs, spices, fixatives and essential oils:

-Select Flowers

Just about any flower you grow can be used in potpourri. However, some of the best flowers to include, because they dry well, maintain their shapes, and ones most likely grown in your gardens are: marigolds, roses, zinnias, pansies, daisies, dianthus and sunflowers. These flowers retain their color longer and hold up with time.

-Choose Herbs

Of course lavender is an obvious choice; still other wonderful herbs to include in your mixture are sage, mint, and basil leaves, as well as, thyme and rosemary. And, since many herbs bloom, especially mints, it’s a nice touch to include their flowers.

- Dry Blossoms

Gather flowers and herbs when they are dry, preferably mid-morning. In an airy place spread flowers out on sheets of newspaper. Hang bunches of herbs upside down (from their stems) to dry. Within a week most of them should be dry. If not completing dry they will mold.

-Include Spices

Adding spices to potpourri gives it a warm, sweet smell. Spices most commonly used are star anise, cloves, cinnamon and vanilla. They can be added in whole pieces or crushed.

Log on tomorrow for part two of this article. I’ll explain how to assemble your mixture and give you resources for learning more about potpourri and buying ingredients.

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