Make potpourri with dried flowers, buds, and leaves. Use only crispy-dry plant material; moisture leads to mold. Store the materials separately in covered airtight containers so they retain their scents until you use them. Place the finished potpourri in decorative jars or bowls with or without lids. If you keep the potpourri covered when not in use, the fragrance will last longer.
As uncovered potpourri ages, it loses some of its scent. Refresh it by adding a few drops of one or more of the essential oils you originally used to make the potpourri.
Use essential oils sparingly. These pure, concentrated essences of herbs, flowers, spices, and resins are available at food co-ops and herb stores.
1. Combine orrisroot and essential oils in a glass or ceramic bowl (plastic and wood absorb scents).
2. Add the dried flowers and herbs, gum benzoin, and spices. Orris root and gum benzoin preserve the scents.
3. Pour the mixture into an airtight glass jar; cover and set aside to cure for two weeks; shake the jar every few days.
Vary the scent of your potpourri by blending different oils and dried materials. Make a summery potpourri, for example, by combining citrus oils, such as lemon, lime, mandarin, or tangerine, with the dried rind of oranges and lemons. Add the dried leaves of lemon-scented herbs, such as lemon verbena, lemon balm, lemon thyme, and scented geranium. Stir in handfuls of rose petals for bulk.