Making potpourri is easier than you may think, and it's a craft that produces something you can really use. You can even give away your potpourri as gifts for the holidays. If you're thinking of making your own potpourri, you'll need just a few basic ingredients. The most important of these are the dried flowers and plants that will form the bulk of your mix. To those dried plants you'll add a fixative as well as scented oils or spices to enhance the fragrance. A great way to get into potpourri making is to start in the garden, growing your own potpourri plants. Here are 5 of the best choices for those just starting out: 1. Marigolds. These bright, cheerful flowers are a great choice for potpourri because they provide beautiful color. You'll add the scent you want, but marigold blooms, when dried, add pops of rich gold, orange, and red. 2. Roses. These are the classic potpourri flowers because they contribute both color and scent. You can use just the petals from your roses to make a potpourri mix, or you can snip off and dry entire blooms. Using the flowers before they open adds great visual interest to a blend. 3. Lavender. Most herbs work well in potpourri, but lavender is a star. You can use the purple flowers to add color, but use the leaves as well to add the delicious floral aroma to your potpourri mix. 4. Basil. There are so many varieties of basil that give off interesting scents and that add wonderful notes to homemade potpourri. Grow several basils for your culinary garden and to use in homemade potpourri: chocolate basil, lemon basil, cinnamon basil, and others have unique scents. 5. Chamomile. This flowering herb, so popular in tea form, is an excellent choice for potpourri. It has a delicate, relaxing, apple-like scent. It also produces pretty flowers with small white petals and large yellow centers. When dried, chamomile looks nice in a potpourri mix. You can even use the leftover flowers to make your own tea. Making your own potpourri does not require that you grow the plants that go into the mix, but it's so much more rewarding to use the fruits of your labor. Many of the plants that work well in potpourri are great to have in the garden anyway. Choose flowers and herbs with scents you like, as well as flowers that just look pretty, and you'll have a good garden mix for making fragrant, beautiful potpourri.
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Mary Ellen Ellis has been gardening for over 20 years. With degrees in Chemistry and Biology, Mary Ellen's specialties are flowers, native plants, and herbs.
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