Take Home a Car-pourri

Learn to take your favorite scents and smells anywhere you go...

| December/January 2002

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A simple fragrance, just a passing whiff, can evoke memories. For example, the briefest scent of mint can take one on an instantaneous trip in the mind to mint juleps on a Padre Island beach experienced twenty years ago.

I’ve been intrigued by the connection of fragrance to memory for decades. That interest prompted me to study centuries-old dream pillow formulas based on herbs and flowers, and then concoct new ones to evoke new and interesting dreaming. I’ve spent considerable time researching the responses that the fragrances of freshly dried herbs and flowers have on people of other cultures. My dream pillows and dream pillow blends have traveled around the world to many cultures, all with remarkably similar results in the dreams they evoke.

I know that our minds record fragrances based on where we found that fragrance, and years ago I started a habit when I travel. I began gathering herbs and flowers from the friends I visit, drying the plants in my pickup truck as I drive. I return home with a potpourri of memories.

Since I’m a bit of a purist when it comes to fragrances, I insist that flowers and herbs are the only things used. I never use oils of any kind, primarily because they overpower the real plant fragrances. The subtle fragrance of the plants themselves interest me more.

About a dozen years ago I decided to share my enthusiasm for authentic potpourri with others who come to tour my gardens in the summer. I wanted to give them a way to continue to enjoy their tour. I collected small paper bags and wrote instructions which I glued to the side; each visitor is given a bag at the beginning of the tour.

Then, as I give a tour of some of the 400 or so herbs I grow, I hand each person a sprig or leaf, insisting that they first smell it, then taste it, and then finally put it into their potpourri bag. Since this mix is to be dried in the bag on the dash of the car, I named it car-pourri. Visitors love it.

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