Monday, September 4, 2017

Farm-made Pot-Pourri

A favorite little book this time of year is Forest's Robe, Penhaligon's Scented Treasury of Autumn Verse and Prose. Penhaligon's makes many scented books; they are a perfumers in England, established in 1870. I have no idea where this book came from; I probably swiped it from my mother. It still smells vaguely of a woody, autumnal aroma. Editor Sheila Pickles filled the tiny book with poems and excerpts relating to fall. One page is titled "Pot-Pourri." A few lines:

"There fir cones, pine cones, nuts and seed pods may all be gathered up and dried .... I collect anything with a pretty colour and shape, even skeleton leaves .... Bark from trees absorbs scent well .... Hedge clippings from box or privet may be made into a bunch .... In the autumn, when the hydrangeas change colour, they should be cut before they are full out .... When all the components have been dried they may be mixed together into a large bowl. Pot-pourri will have an autumnal scent of its own but a few drops of essential oil may be added, according to taste."

Well! This morning I went gathering around my house garden beds, although my items may differ from Sheila Pickles's in England. (She also authored The Language of Flowers.) Here's what I found:
Starting at the upper left corner and going in clockwise order: rosemary, lavender, lemongrass, camellia bud, cedar, rose hips, eucalyptus, and two echinacea flower heads in the center.

Later I'll go in the pasture and garden and see what else I find. We have many pine trees, but their cones are too large. I'll let you know what I find out there. I'm coming down with a cold today, so not feeling the best. I've been spraying saline up my nose and gargling with salt water too. Resting inside and drinking lemon juice and honey in hot water.

Update: My stroll around the farm lot produced more pot-pourri hopefuls:
 An assortment of evergreen needles, cones, nuts, and grapevine. I also added artemesia and yarrow. Later I'll collect rose pedals, of which we have plenty.
While in the garden I tugged a massive basil plant from the ground with both hands. It's drying on the front porch to provide us with winter herbs.
 I also snipped some tiny fall flowers for pressing. I use my Very Large Book, the Oxford English Dictionary, for such purposes.

The page fell open to "plantain," which I thought was nice. Here are some I started yesterday:
 This mushroom grows atop an old watermelon mound in the garden. The morning sun covered it with diamonds.


  1. Hubby recently brought me back some peppermint and seaweed foot/hand scrub from a visit to a remote island off the west coast of Ireland. The peppermint smell is lovely and I mainly use it after gardening to get the soil smell off my hands. The seaweed is a bit yucky though and I now take out any bits I can.

  2. Oh, I love pot pourri! Your collection is beautiful as well as aromatic. How nice! Love those dried herbs for winter. They are so much stronger than the old store-bought varieties.


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