Saturday, June 9, 2012

Stop and Smell the Roses, For the Gardeningaholic

       I'm so focused on getting gardens planted and keeping up with the weeds that I often fail to take the time to enjoy what I've done, and the bounty growing around me. This year I noted almost in passing when the heirloom roses put on a spectacular show. The other roses soon followed suit. I looked, but very literally, did not smell. Now that the roses are fading, I'm regretting not having paid them closer attention, and I've come up with what may be a way of rectifying this in the future.
       Yesterday, I started to collect flowers and herbs for potpourri. If I get enough to make it worthwhile, I may offer this at a farmers market. In the meantime, I have an incentive to get up close and personal with some of the beautiful and aromatic plants in my yard.
       So far I've collected only a few rose petals and buds, but the experience could become addictive. Imagine separating the delicate petals, each so lovely, so delightful to smell, so velvety to the touch. I look forward to gathering other treasures; violets, calendula, lemon balm, lavender, wild strawberry leaves, and many more as the season progresses.
       There's more to making potpourri that throwing a few nice smelling dried leaves into a bowl. Usually, a potpourri has a theme like woodland, which might include wild strawberry leaves, pine needles, cedar chips, rosewood and sweet violet root as a fixative. A citrus blend could include lemon balm, basil, thymes, mints and bergamot leaves. I expect there's an art to mixing, but experimenting should be fun. I was surprised to learn that after combining everything, the mixture is sealed in a container to "cure" for six weeks in a dark place. Six weeks? A little patience will be called for here, in gathering as well as waiting to smell and enjoy the final product. Of course, I could just enjoy the aromas of individual favorites like lemon balm and basil while I savor the wait.
       Are you tempted to try this too? It could open you eyes to some of Nature's wonders while helping you to stop and smell...a lot more than the roses!

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