Mother Earth Living

Capture Garden Scents: Dry Method

Bring the delightful aromas of nature’s sweet scents indoors.
By Rand B. Lee
August/September 2001
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  • Fresh flowers, foliage, roots or fruits selected for color or scent
  • Drying rack, such as a wooden clothes rack or old window screen
  • Spices, ground or coarsely crushed
  • Fixatives, liquid, powdered or coarsely cut
  • Essential oils for bolstering fragrance
  • Pottery, plastic* or stainless steel crock large enough to hold the volume of potpourri
  • Large nonreactive mixing bowl
  • Clean newspaper
  1. As you collect flowers and leaves, spread them out to dry, away from the sun, on old window screens or window frames with muslin stretched over them. Attics, closets, cellars or laundry areas are good choices for drying rooms. If you have no space indoors and no ready shade outdoors, you can create your own shade by using shade cloth purchased from a local garden center or an old sheet strung over a clothesline. Place screens underneath.
  2. You may also bundle sprigs and hang them from collapsible wooden clothes racks. Tying paper bags around the sprigs will keep the drying flowers or leaves from falling off the stalks.
  3. When the plants are thoroughly dried—crisp, not leathery, which may take only a few days in the dry Southwest and up to several weeks in a humid climate—remove them carefully from their stalks and place them in paper bags, if you have not done so already.
  4. Place each ingredient in a separate bag. Staple or tie the bags shut and store them in a dry spot until you are ready to proceed.

*Note: Plastic containers may absorb potpourri odor, so choose one that you’ll use for potpourri and not for food.

Rand B. Lee is author of Pleasures of the Cottage Garden (Freidman/Fairfax, 1998) and President of the North American Cottage Garden Society and the North American Dianthus Society. He lives in Santa Fe with his blind husky-mix, Moon Pie.

Click here for the original article, Capture Garden Scents.








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