February 11th, 2007

18th Century Flower Potpourri

Posted by Lifecruiser in Swedish, Nature
Lifecruisers yellow flower
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Already in the end of the 18th century there were poptpourri’s of flowers in Swedish houses, which an article from 1780 can tell. The oldest potpourri pot is dated 1663 from Germany though. The word Potpourri is French and means pot and pourri, which actually means rotten.

Potpourri is flowers that get salted or put in pots and makes the air in a room nice smelling and refreshing. Maybe they needed it more back then, than we do nowadays, to cover up their bad odor *yuk* since they didn’t wash themselves as often as we do.

Very commonly used were Thorn roses, Lavendel and Carnations, which were cleaned from their calyxes and stalks and put in layers with fine salt in suitable and nice looking vases. A more rich mix they used were: Orange blooms, Thorn Roses, Carnations, Lavendel, Rosemary, Southernwood, Myrtle, Hyssop, Salvia, Pansy, Lime tree flowers.

Later on I’ve heard that all kind of spices can be used. I think my favorite would be cinnamon around xmas time - maybe oranges too - and vanilla the rest of the year. In the beginning it should be stirred daily, then once a week, then when you want good smelling air. Otherwise it should be covered.

I think that most of the scented flower petals (or herbs!) will be suitable for a potpourri. I’ll do as I always does: trust my nose on this… *lol*. Just make sure that they are completely dry before adding the spices, fragrance or essential oils and fixatives or they might get mold.

If you have an old potpurri that has stopped smelling, I’ve heard that orris root will hold the scent and can be used to refresh it with. Just take several tablespoons chunks of it, or a teaspoon if it’s in powder form and add some drops of your favorite fragrance oils until it smells like you want - maybe a little more since it will disappear some of the smell later. Don’t forget to stir it again for a period.

I’ve also heard that some use other fixatives like dried citrus rinds, cloves, coriander seeds - oh Im sure there are even more.

I don’t see that kind of Potpourri’s nowadays. People always seems to be in a hurry and don’t have the time to prepare these kind of dried flowers.

How about just bringing in some foliages and flowers and just put it on a plate or bowl on the dinner table?

Something so simple makes such a big difference!!!

Lifecruisers Potpourri flowers in a bowl
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Cruise list: That frolicsome kid, Sisah, TorAa, Claudie, Debbie, Ruth, Maribeth, Hootin' Anni, Carol, and Gattina.

10 Responses to ' 18th Century Flower Potpourri '

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  1. Gattina said:

    My mother in law used to put vanilla sticks and different parfumed soaps in her laundry. It always smelled very good. Of course I do nothing. I had to ponder about love today for the blogging chicks, but I had no inspiration so I put international love proverbs on my blog. Now it’s time to write for the 192 countries. It’s anyway raining cats and dogs here !

    Lifecruiser: yes, vanilla sticks and parfumed soaps are an excellent idea too . which I don’t do either :-) Ah, that blogging chichs…. I always forget about that. It Seems impossible for me to keep up with it. *sigh* Though the 192 countries is already done, hurray for me ;-) Raining you say? I wish it were over here, we still have snow and ice. Brrr.

    February 11th, 2007 at 4:20 pm

  2. Carol said:

    I’ve got hyacinth blooming indoors, so I don’t think I can take too much more scent right now! :-)

    Lifecruiser: Yes, I read about them, lovely looking they are too!!!!

    February 11th, 2007 at 4:50 pm

  3. Hootin' Anni said:

    ……….and this post is probably to coincide with the pooper problem below, right? I did give you the solution below too. It was just so simple a cat could figure it out.

    Lifecruiser: Uhum. Somehow I think I prefer the smell of flowers…. I don’t know exactly why…. *lol*

    February 11th, 2007 at 5:46 pm

  4. Maribeth said:

    I love flowers and I try to have them around as often as I can. Sadly, flowers are not as easily available here in the country as they are in the larger cities. I’d have to spend a fortune to get a very simple bouquet. Anyway, In the summer I have them in my garden and then I really enjoy them a lot.

    Lifecruiser: I suppose the ones in an own garden always is the best ones huh? *s*

    February 11th, 2007 at 6:17 pm

  5. ruth said:

    What a beautiful photo and really interesting information.

    Lifecruiser: Thanks Ruth :-)

    February 11th, 2007 at 7:09 pm

  6. Debbie said:

    My mother many years ago had all the dried stuff all the oils and more and would make her own. I loved getting baskets through out the year and would return the older ones for new scenting! There is an art an eye and a nose to make good potpourri and not every one can do so! Have you smelled some of those in the stores! Phew!

    I love vanilla candles for scents and because the cats like to root into things and make messes!! LOL So I burn lots of candles!

    Lifecruiser: Yes, there really are an art form! Vanilla candles sounds like something for me too :-)

    February 11th, 2007 at 9:48 pm

  7. claudie said:

    I didn’n know that the word used was the french one. Why ? Don’t know. I think you’re right “Something so simple makes such a big difference”. It’s often the detail wich makes the difference! So a parfum on a skin can make a big difference!

    Lifecruiser: interesting huh? *lol* I agree with you, it’s small details that does things perfect :-)

    February 11th, 2007 at 10:46 pm

  8. TorAa said:

    A lovly potpourri presented with all the hints I can imagine. Afraid the Cats would love it too, and have a great potpourri with it:))


    Lifecruiser: Oh, they’d love to smell :-) *giggles*

    February 12th, 2007 at 12:52 am

  9. Sisah said:

    Scents seem to be fashionable again, as long as they are natural I am all for it. But meanwhile there is plenty of technology at work, supplying scents for purposes as diverse as military training, museum exhibits and super-markets and so on. You can even buy dried flowers perfumed with artificial scent.
    My favorite potpourri which is also a natural repellent is from Galium odoratum, Lavendula,Rosmarinus , Tanacetum and Mentha.

    Lifecruiser: Nice choice! I agree to that: they have to be natural, please :-)

    February 12th, 2007 at 8:17 am

  10. that frolicsome kid said:

    OH! So that’s a potpourri! Our English teacher gave us that word for a spelling test last time. :lol: I didn’t know it’s a flower and that it has many other uses as well besides spice! :eek:

    And hey, the potpourri decoration looks neat! It’s definitely a great addition to the dinner table! *nods head*

    Lifecruiser: Not really “a flower”, but a potpourri of flowers. Translate it like “a mix”.

    February 12th, 2007 at 1:33 pm

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