Several years ago, we asked Marianne Bo of Friggjasetr Farm in Sandy Hook, Connecticut, where she creates handmade fiber products and handcrafted potpourri, to share some tricks of the trade for budding potpourri artists. She shared the fundamental elements of potpourri and shows how to make potpourri with a wonderful pine fragrance for autumn. And while the farm is no longer around, Marianne’s formula and potpourri recipe remains a reader favorite.
Basic Components of Potpourri
MAIN SCENT: This is the overall scent you want to create. You can use aromatic leaves, flowers, or fragrant stems.
FLOWERS/HERBS/SPICES FOR COLOR: Choose flowers that dry well and retain their color, like calendula, poppy, sage, tansy, or borage, just to mention a few.
FIXATIVE: This is what holds and preserves the scent. There are several options available, and it really depends on your preference. It could be oak moss, cedar, sandalwood, orris root, or cellulose fiber, among many others.
OILS: Be sure to use only high-quality oils, meant to complement the main scent. I prefer essential oils to fragrance oils.
BULK: This fills out the mix and adds color. It can include cedar chips, pine cones, dried fruit slices, cinnamon sticks, whole nuts, dried berries, or dried flower pods.
A NOTE ON OILS: If using fragrance oils, I suggest about ¼ – ½ fluid ounces of oil per 16 cups of potpourri, depending on the strength of the oil. If using essential oils, I suggest 1⁄16 – ¼ fluid ounces per 16 cups of potpourri. Essential oils are very concentrated, so use them sparingly. It’s better to add more later than to begin with too much, since the oils cannot be extracted once added to the mix.
“Bring Fall Inside” Potpourri Recipe
- 6 cups of dried pine needles (not brown)
- 2 cups of white pine bark, broken into small pieces
- 2 cups of dried orange peels
- 1 cup of dried rose hips
- 1 cup of dried rose petals
- 1 cup of cinnamon sticks, broken
- 4 tablespoons of orris root grains (fixative)
- 15–20 drops of oil of pine (more or less as desired)
Place the orris root in a small glass container, and add the oil. Gently mix and set aside. In a large bowl or paper grocery bag, very gently mix the remaining ingredients together. Then add the orris root/oil mixture, and transfer to some wide-mouth jars with tight-fitting lids. Store it covered for six weeks, and stir it weekly by laying the jar on its side and gently rolling it back and forth. Do not open until the six weeks are up, when the fragrant potpourri is ready to be placed throughout your home. Enjoy!
“Fall is by far my favorite time of year, so I want the whole house to smell like the outdoors. This potpourri recipe features the refreshing scent of pine.” —Marianne Bo