Now that the holidays are over, you don’t have to simply toss all that lovely garland. Why not channel your prepper side and make something to help the house smell nice? Potpourri is often made from at least 3 different plant materials. It can be placed in a bowl, put inside sachets, or mixed into a simmering concoction. When using leftover garland, the best way to get a lot of fragrance out of your evergreen bits is to create a simmering potpourri.
Step 1 – Gathering Ingredients
Collect the parts of your plant, based on you want to turn into potpourri. Choose the freshest pieces possible, since these will be the ones with the greatest amount of fragrance left in them. Snip off any old, damaged, or discolored branches, needles, berries, etc.
Step 2 – Choosing Combinations
You might only have a couple of ingredients contained within your decorations, so adding in 1 or 2 more things might be necessary. For instance, in the garland I made for my front porch, the only parts I want to use are the evergreen sprigs and the juniper berries. The rest is rather dry and doesn’t have a nice smell to it. To have a pleasant aroma, and to enhance the aesthetics of my simmering potpourri, I added some cloves to it the potporri. You could also use cinnamon sticks instead.
Step 3 – Simmering the Potpourri
Be sure not to place the simmering potpourri in a location where it will be knocked over by a person or an animal, and always keep pot handles turned inward if you put it on the stove! This isn’t such a big concern when the potpourri is dry, but simmering potpourri has that heat factor to think about.
Using the stove top is an option, if you don’t have a small crock pot or a wood stove in your home. I like to put a cast iron kettle with simmering potpourri on top of my wood stove. It not only makes the room smell marvelous, but it also helps to add a little bit of moisture to the dry winter air.
Options for Dried Potpourri
If you don’t have the means or desire to make simmering potpourri, there is always the option to come up with a batch of dry potpourri too. You can still use the evergreen bits and berries for color, as well as dried orange rinds, and cinnamon sticks. Mix all your ingredients together and toss in a few drops of your favorite scented oil. To make the oil scent stay longer, mix the oil with some orris root, calamus root, or cellulose fiber before adding in the dried ingredients. You can buy a pound of any of these types of fixatives for around $3. The ratio is usually 2 T chipped root or fiber bits with 3 drops of oil.
Waste Not Want Not!
I hate throwing anything away, and pretty-smelling Christmas garlands are no exception. This year, and every year, I’m using my left-over decorations to make my house smell like the holidays for weeks after the tree comes down.
What do you do with your old garland after the holidays?