Preserving Flowers from a Potpourri Garden
Fresh cut flowers all spring and summer are one of the bonuses of
having a flower garden. Wouldnt you love to extend that bonus
throughout the year? By choosing the right flowers and learning
methods of drying and preserving flowers, you can fill your house
with the beauty and fragrance of potpourri all year long.
Growing a Potpourri Garden
Potpourri is a fragrant mix of dried flower petals, leaves, whole
flowers and spices. It can be sewn into sachets, simmered in a
potpourri burner, or displayed in an open bowl. By choosing herbs and
flowers that dry well and maintain their fragrance when dried,
youll be well on your way to scenting your home with the
natural fragrance of last summers garden.
Your potpourri mix should include both flowers and herbs from your
garden, and be chosen with an eye toward color and a nose for scent.
A potpourri garden might include several (or all!) of the following:
Fragrant Herbs and Flowers for a Potpourri Garden
Lilac this flower is both beautiful and fragrant. To
use in potpourri, dry the flowerets separately on a drying screen.
For use in dried flower arrangements, use silica gel to dry whole flowers.
Lavender another fragrant purple flower, lavender dries
well. Hang in bunches upside down in a dark, dry room. Both leaves
and flowers carry the fragrance of lavender and can be used in potpourri.
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Roses Roses are a beautiful addition to any potpourri.
For fragrance, separate the petals and dry on a drying screen. If you
want to include whole rosebuds from your potpourri garden,
theyre best dried in silica or another desiccant, but small,
delicate rosebuds can be dried on screens as well.
Mint Theres an amazing variety of mints
available, and nearly any will add a hint of fresh spice to a
potpourri. If you choose to grow mint in a potpourri garden, be sure
to cage the roots so that it doesnt take over the
entire plot. To dry, either air dry tied bunches, or dry separated
leaves on a drying screen.
Lemon Balm This perennial herb has a light lemony-mint
scent that enhances the fragrance of roses and lilacs. The leaves
should be picked before the plant flowers and dried quickly
its one of the few herbs that benefits from drying in a low
oven on a screen.
Violets Sweetly scented and brightly colored, violets
preserve their color well through drying. To dry, nip the flower off
just at the base of the head, and lay on drying screens in the sun.
Flowers and Herbs for Color in a Potpourri Garden
Many of the herbs and flowers listed above are brightly colored as
well as fragrant. There are some flowers, however, that will add
little to the fragrance of potpourri but dry so prettily that
its a shame not to include them.
Calendula Bright yellow or blue petals make calendula a
pretty addition to a bowl of potpourri. To use, you can either dry
the entire flower head, or separate the petals to dry on a flower screen.
Pansies A relative of violets, pansies retain their
bright color when dried in silica gel. Theyre a wonderful
addition to a potpourri garden besides their appearance,
theyre edible and wonderful in salads or as candied decorations
on a cake. In potpourri, the dried petals or whole-dried flowers make
a beautiful accent.