‘Potpourri’ is a curious term. A bit eclectic as well, since not many laypersons (people who are not would be familiar with ideas of interior decoration) would be familiar with it. The term basically indicates a type of preparation which is a mixture of fragrant petals and dried spices. This serves to freshen the atmosphere of the room and activates the dopamine hormones of anybody who enters into the room. From this description, it might sound like just another routine activity, like lighting a mosquito-repellent coil or simply spraying some air freshener in the air. However, it is far from that. Creating a potpourri is an art which requires finesse and craftsmanship, along with a keen eye for pleasing visuals. Below are a few tips to get the ingredients right for creating the most mesmerizing and mind-boggling bulk potpourri designs.
- First, cast a glance at the main ingredients that would be required: Scented petals (from a variety of flowers—rose, jasmine, marigold, petunia, violet, daffodils); fragrant barks, roots and timber pieces; refreshing herbs and spices of every kind. While collecting dried petals, it is important to remember that one should gather only the bright and fresh-looking petals; and discard the faded or damaged looking ones.
- Once you’ve known the primary ingredients that would create the base of the concoction, you’re ready to go on to the next step. Now, let’s see what the finer, ornamental details are. The few fixatives are: roots of vetiver and orris; gum resins, frankincense, vanilla beans, citrus fruit peels (peels of fruits such as orange and sweet lemon), and various essential oils such as mint extracts, clove oil, lemon grass oil, sandalwood oil, rosemary oil, chamomile etc.
- Once the primary and secondary stuff has been taken care of, the next step is to blend them all together and set to create the potpourri. There’s one thing that needs to be kept in mind though: non-scented things can be as useful as the scented ones; such as cones of pine, coir of coconuts or colourful fruit seeds.
- The display container is where one starts. Normally it is a bowl where all the ingredients are kept and arranged, but other shapes are also welcome. Glass (or porcelain) jars, baskets, shells, sachets, boxes and tall glasses are also quite suitable for storing up fragrant paraphernalia.
- As you already know, potpourri can only be made with the help of dried plant material; i.e. material which has been dried to the point where they are crisp to the touch. The way to do this is by spreading them out to dry on sheets (of paper or cloth) and wire screens. Besides being exposed to the air and sunlight, they need to be regularly tossed into the air in order to ensure that all the components are getting an even amount of air to pass over them. In case you’re using peels of citrus fruits, make sure that the moist pulps are completely stripped away. If there are a few strands (of pulp) sticking to the peel, then those can attract bacteria and yeast, and cause rotting if left out in the open for long.