Now we all love our homes to smell wonderful 24 hours a day, but how conscious are we being of the environmental impact of our habits, every time we plug in an air freshener or replace a tealight or spritz the air with an aerosol?
Pot pourri is no longer just for elderly ladies’ bathrooms and dank B&B stairwells. They can be a really fun and easy activity to make your home/ room/ cupboard under the stairs smell nice again.
Now the great thing about making your own pot pourri is that you can make it smell however you like! I personally love winter/ Christmas scents like cloves and oranges and cinnamon, but I also love vanilla and just generally making my flat smell like a giant ice-cream.
Now, as any pot pourri enthusiasts out there will know, dried flowers are the staple piece to any pot pourri. It’s a good idea to gather more than you need as, remember, your flowers will be drying out and thus, will shrink. Now that you have a bunch (or two), just tie them together (I used some ribbon left over from Christmas) and hang them in your airing cupboard (or any dry, dark place) for 1-2 weeks until dry. Luckily for me, I like to press flowers on the rare occasion I am treated with a bunch! So I always have a few extra pretty flower heads to add to my pot pourri.
After plucking the flower heads and placing them in your storage pot, it’s time to move on to the fixatives and fragrances. For any pot pourri a fixative is needed. A fixative is any product that prevents the rapid evaporation of the essential oils you use to fragrance your pot pourri. Whilst orris root, ground gum benzoine and cellulose are the general favourites for preserving your scent, I understand that we don’t all live next door to a herbal shop, or indeed have the time (or money) to splash on hunting down these ingredients. Luckily, many fragrances we already use in our pot pourri can be used as fixatives. A selection below gives you a wide range of possible fixatives that can also happily sit alongside your fragrance of choice:
- Gum benzoin, myrrh and frankincense
- Cinnamon powder and sticks
- Cloves and nutmeg
- Cumin, coriander and angelica seeds
- Vanilla pods
- Chamomile flowers
- Geranium roots
- Leaves of cistus and lemon verbena
- Oils of sandalwood, cedarwood, patchouli and ylang ylang
Now that we have our fixative and flowers sorted out, we can move on to our fragrances. Now, as somewhat of an experimental person, I like to vary and mix up my essential oils until I find a fragrance that is just right. My mix for this particular pot included 6 drops of rosa damascena (rose) essential oil, 2 drops of Jasminum officinale (Jasmine) essential oil, 4 drops of Lavandula angustifolia (Lavender) essential oil and 2 drops of Citrus sinensis (Orange) essential oil. I also added a star of anise, a stick of cinnamon and some dried orange and apple which I sliced and left in the top shelf of the oven for an hour.
After adding a couple of pine cones and a shell for decoration, I added everything to my recycled ice-cream box, sealing it tightly shut, I shook it up, and took it to the airing cupboard where it gets stored for two to three weeks.
Make sure to shake up the box every day so that the fragrances fully reach all the pot pourri. Every few days open up the package to add a few more drops of your essential oils.
The finished product is a beautifully scented pot pourri that (if you already had the ingredients) cost nothing or next to nothing! I personally choose to store mine in an open, recycled jar, but if you have any pretty, unused bowls lying around, they would make a great display area for your pot pourri.