With just a few warmish days between snow storms, I'm hopelessly yearning and aching for Spring. I want...No, I need...flowers! Their aroma, allure, and gentle seduction! Unless I buy them at the market, I have no flowers to enjoy from my still-dormant gardens.
But wait! In the pantry are stored boxes and bags of dried flowers and herbs gathered last Spring, Summer, and Fall. Pulling them out onto the counter I find dried blossoms of lilac, valerian, daffodils, narcissus, calendula, yellow roses and their buds, and hops!
Mixing them all together I make a pleasing, pastel melange of yellows, soft green, white and pale lavender. To me pastel colors are so evocative of Springtime. The more robust reds, oranges, and purples reflect, for me, the sultry heat and drama of Summer.
Now, for scent. The yellow roses that grow in my back garden are an old, heirloom variety called, Austrian Brier (or possibly Harrison's Yellow) whose tall, arching canes are festooned in June with butter-yellow blooms having a soft, faintly lemony scent. The thorny canes, however, exude a cedar/saffron aroma that permeates the garden for a couple of weeks with an exotic incense.
I select from my "still" cabinet (where I store essential oils) cedarwood and saffron which evoke the scent of the wood of the yellow roses. I also choose lemon essential oil to "brighten" the mixture and frankincense to "sweeten" it.
As a fixative, to hold the scent against fading, I'll use sliced, dried orris root gathered from the orris iris that grow in several of the Cottage's gardens.
1/4 cup lilac blossoms
1/8 cup valerian flowers (unlike their fetid smelling roots, the flowers have a lovely scent similar to lilac)
3/4 cup yellow daffodils
1/2 cup calendula
1/2 cup hops
10 yellow roses
1/4 cup yellow rose buds
1 cup white narcissus
Mix the dried blossoms together in a glass or stainless steel mixing bowl.
1/4 cup orris root (or 1 TBS orris powder)
10 drops sandalwood essential oil
3 drops frankincense essential oil
7 drops cedarwood essential oil
3 drops lemon essential oil
Next, add the sliced (or powdered) orris root to a small, lidded glass jar. An 8-ounce canning jar works well. Add the essential oils to the orris root. Screw the lid onto the jar and shake to mix the contents. Allow the orris and oils to steep in the closed jar for an hour.
Add the contents of the jar to the flower mixture and stir in to mix. I like to take a cotton ball and swab up any remaining essential oils off the sides and bottom of the jar. Reserve the cotton ball.
Place the cotton ball into a decorative container - an apothecary jar, a dish, or bowl - where its scent will be absorbed by the blossoms and orris (it can be discarded in several days, if desired), then pour the finished potpourri on top of the cotton ball. Set out your potpourri and enjoy its sight and scent as a lovely, old-fashioned, and gracious prelude to Springtime!