Rose potpourri is a multi-sensory means of preserving your roses and bringing them into your home year round. The scent is always a rich reminder of sweet summer and the composition can be varied to match the colors and decorations in you home.
There are three components to any potpourri: botanical, fixative, and scented oil.
Prepare Your Roses
For a rose potpourri the primary botanical ingredient is dried rose petals. Alternately or in addition, small rose buds can be dried and added to provide a different visual texture.
Pick your roses in the early morning, shortly after the dew evaporates. The scent will be richest then. Spread the petals out over a drying rack. Turn them every day until they have dried out. They should take on a leathery texture when they are ready.
When choosing petals and buds for your potpourri, pay attention to how the colors will change as they dry. White, pink, and yellow petals will turn brown and fade. Red petals will turn a dark burgundy. Also, remember that dry rose petals will be 1/3 the original volume of the fresh rose petals. Always pick 3 times more than you think you need.
Choose Your Other Botanical Elements
Choose other botanical components to complement the rose scents and looks. Small pine cones and ceder shavings add texture and provide a nice look for the winter. Lavender flowers dry well and add color and scent that complement rose petals. Dried citrus peels compliment roses that have a citrus scent. For a spicy mix, consider adding spices such as cloves, vanilla beans, or cinnamon sticks. Pick items to fit the look and scent you want for your home.
Pick a Fixative
A fixative is something added to the potpourri to absorb the oils and retain the scent of the mixture. Materials such as powdered orris root, oak moss, cellulose, fiberfix, bark, and wood shavings can all be used as fixatives.
Add a Scented Oil
Add a few drops of scented oil when mixing your potpourri. This will strengthen the scent and add extra flavors depending on which oil you choose. No matter how richly scented your dry botanical elements are, the scented oil will tie all the scents together. The oil will be absorbed by the fixative.
Mixing Your Potpourri
Measure out your dry ingredients and place them in a paper bag or a large jar. Add 2 tablespoons of fixative for each 4 cups of dry botanical. Add a few drops of scented oil to the mix and seal the container. Shake well. Leave the potpourri to combine for several weeks, shaking every day or so to keep the scents combining.
Presenting Your Potpourri
Never use metal containers with potpourri and keep the ingredients away from direct light. Present your potpourri in a glass or plastic bowl, or in a small basket. Choose the container to match your decorations in the room and compliment the colors and textures of the botanical elements.
When the scent fades, add a little more scented oil, or add some fresh potpourri from storage. A good mix can provide its scent to your home for years.
Storing Extra Potpourri
Store unused potpourri in an airtight container. Add a packet if silica gel for each pound of potpourri stored to absorb moisture and prevent mildew from damaging your mix.