Potpourri – Introduction
Potpourri is a popular form of decorating and livening up a room in your home. You probably first encountered potpourri as a child while visiting your grandmother, and happened upon a pot or vase that smelled nice and was filled with bits of wood and other items.
Potpourri is actually a mixture of more than just bits of wood. It’s made up of a wide assortment of natural plant materials, most often pieces of bark, dried flowers and leaves. The goal is to create a mild fragrance that slowly and gradually spreads about a room without being invasive. This makes it a popular alternative to chemical-based air fresheners, even today, since the scent won’t dissipate after a few hours.
Potpourri also has a visual appeal, since the vase used to contain it is most often quite decorative. There is a certain art form to creating the vase, including a loose lid perforated with small holes that allow the scent to escape at just the right rate. Placing one on an end table or in the middle of a coffee table in you living room or den ads a touch of class and elegance to he surroundings that guests and family alike will appreciate.
Potpourri – Common Varieties
There are a number of different types of potpourri. We’ve listed some information about common varieties here to help you decide what might be best for your home:
· Cedar shavings – Cedar has a distinct woody aroma that most people find extremely pleasant. As such, cedar is a common building material for decks and sauna rooms, especially in the Western portions of Canada and the United States. Cedar shavings attempt to capture this aroma so as to spread it about your home. Definitely a good choice for nature lovers.
· Cypress shavings – Another popular tree-based potpourri, cypress elicits memories of an old clothing trunk or antique dresser.
· Lavender flowers – One of the most popular flower-based varieties of potpourri. It succeeds in capturing the scent of a calm spring day and distributing it about your home.
· Mignonette – An historical favorite of the Victorian era, mignonette produces a delicious, almost ambrosial scent that works very well in a kitchen or living room. Interesting fact: During the Victorian era. The plant was commonly grown in window sills so that the wind would carry the scent about the city, masking fouler odors of civilization.
· Rose – The rose has perhaps the most widely-recognized scent in the world. Potpourri consisting of rose hips, rose oil and dried petals succeeds in replicating the aroma of a beautiful rose garden in your home.
· Cinnamon bark – Cinnamon has a distinctive scent and flavor that makes it a favorite in baking. Why not recreate the smell of a fresh apple pie in your kitchen or living room? This spicy aroma will never fail to satisfy, so long as nobody has an overly-sensitive nose.
· Marjoram – Potpourri made out of this popular plant will generate an aroma that reminds you of an herb garden on a late summer’s night. You will love this in your kitchen.
Potpourri – Additional Information
Now that you have some background information about the various available varieties, you may wish to consider going out to a store where you can sample some. One good place to shop is at a candle store, or one catering to new age tastes. These types of store almost always carry scented products like this, and often the vessels to store them in as well. Your local florist may also carry some varieties.
Today, many modern varieties actually consist of unscented plant parts mixed with a perfume. You can acquire either variety, but if you have a specific favorite scent, such as vanilla, you may wish to go with one of the perfumed types instead.
It is possible to spray scents into potpourri, but you generally require a fixative to allow the scent to linger. Orris root is generally used for this. You may be able to acquire some at a similar type of store to the one mentioned above.
An interesting historical fact about potpourri is the origin of the name. The word comes from the French word “pot-pourri,” which was their name for a Spanish stew with a large variety of assorted ingredients called “olla podrida”. Today, the word is often used as a colloquialism to describe a mixture of random assorted objects.
Potpourri – Conclusion
Potpourri also makes a great gift. You may wish to consider it for someone who enjoys such decorative items, or who has a tendency to buy them for their own use. You can find many stores online from which to order, if you have no luck searching around in local shops. The many available varieties will be sure to delight noses of friends and family alike.
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