What leaves and petals can be used for making potpourri?
Any leaves or petals that have a pleasing fragrance may be used. Some of the best are rose, lavender, lemon-verbena, jasmine, marigold, stock, mignonette, heliotrope, violet, geranium, rosemary, lemon-balm, mint, southernwood, santolina, pink, wallflower, and thyme.
I want to make a potpourri of rose petals from my garden. How can I do this?
Pick the rose petals (red holds its color best) when the flowers are in full bud but not completely brown. Spread them carefully on sheets of paper or strips of cheesecloth in a dry, airy room, away from the sun. Turn daily. Let them dry completely. This will take from a few days to a week. To each quart of petals add 1 oz. of orrisroot. Spices such as cloves, cinnamon, coriander, and mace may be added, if desired, 1/2 teaspoon of each. Keep in an airtight earthen jar.
What is “wet potpourri” and how is it made?
Potpourri made by the wet method contains rose petals and the petals of any other fragrant flowers that are available. These are spread on cloths or papers to dry out partially. They are then packed in an earthenware jar with layers of table salt or coarse salt between. Add a layer of petals, then a sprinkling of salt, until the jar is filled. One oz. of orrisroot or violet powder is added, and, if desired, some cloves, allspice, and cinnamon. Put a weight on the petals and let them stand in the jar, covered, for several weeks before mixing. In addition to the rose petals, lavender, lemon-verbena leaves, and geranium leaves are the most commonly used ingredients.
What is a “fixative,” and for what is it used in potpourris?
A fixative is used to retain the natural scent of leaves or petals and aids in preserving them. Orrisroot, violet powder, ambergris, and gum storax are common fixatives.
In making a sweet jar of flower petals, what can be used to keep the natural color of such flowers as delphinium, pansy, aconitum, and other colorful blooms?
If the flowers are carefully dried, out of direct sunlight, they partially retain their color naturally. Orrisroot also seems to have a color-fixing effect.