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Capture Garden Scents: Moist Method

Bring the delightful aromas of nature’s sweet scents indoors.

| August/September 2001

  • Fragrant fresh flowers, foliage, roots or fruits
  • Rock or kosher salt (do not use iodized)
  • Vodka or brandy (not isopropyl or rubbing alcohol)
  • Spices, ground or coarsely crushed
  • Fixatives, liquid, powdered or coarsely cut
  • Essential oils for bolstering fragrance
  • Large pottery, plastic* or stainless steel crock
  • Heavy plate that fits inside the crock, with as little room around the edges as possible
  • A clean brick that also fits inside the crock

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

  1. Wait for a dry day before gathering leaves and flowers. If they’re still damp from dew or rain or bruised in some way, mold may develop. If you can only collect a few at a time, sprinkle a little salt and alcohol over them until you accumulate enough flowers and leaves for a full batch. Add more alcohol and salt as you gather more material. If any mold develops, throw the whole mixture away and start over. (Don’t throw the mixture into your compost pile; salt is not friendly to the micro-organisms there.)
  2. When you run out of botanicals to add to the crock, take a heavy plate big enough to fit inside the crock opening without leaving much room around the edge. Place the plate on top of the salted mass and press down firmly, compacting the layers. Then weight the plate with a clean brick.
  3. Place the crock, plate, and brick in a cool, shaded spot. Every week or so, check the crock and pour off any liquid that has accumulated at the bottom. Don’t throw this liquid away: store it in a tightly stoppered glass container in the fridge and add 1 or 2 cups of it to the water every time you take a bath. It will refresh and perfume your skin delightfully.

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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