You might have a few candles or diffusers in your house. Maybe even some cut flowers from the supermarket or a florist. But are these fragrant home additions really providing you with your ‘signature scent’? There’s something else that might make your home even more personalised – it’s a bit of a throwback hobby, but it’s making a comeback. But first…
What is a signature scent?
A signature scent is a fragrance that a person or place is known for. For example, if you always wear your favourite perfume, you’ll then become known for that fragrance – people may even catch a whiff of the scent elsewhere and be reminded of you! The same applies to your home. We always notice the scent of someone’s home when we walk in, whether we like to admit it or not! If your house has a lovely smell, people will subconsciously enjoy the experience a little more, as it appeals to their senses.
Shops such as Hollister and Abercrombie & Fitch have been known to use scents to appeal to the senses of shoppers in the hopes of increasing sales; meanwhile, the age old trick to selling a house is to bake biscuits right before a viewing to engage the sense of smell!
However, if you’re not trying to sell your home, then a signature scent can be used purely for enjoyment by you and your visitors.
The throwback hobby that’s making a splash in 2021
While we now have all sorts of ways of making our houses smell nice, back in the day it was all thanks to potpourri. Now, you might be recalling those abrasively perfumed batches of dried up flower petals that your grandma used to buy from the shops and place on her dressing table. However, potpourri used to be so much more artisanal than that!
In the early 17th century in France, people would gather up herbs and flowers from spring through to the end of summer, then leave them for a day or so before they would become limp. After this, they would layer the herbs and flowers with coarse sea salt and stir occasionally as layers continued to be added. The mixture would sometimes ferment or become mouldy as the summer progressed. In autumn, spices were added until the scent became pleasant – at this point, preservatives were added and the finished potpourri was placed into pots with perforated lids, perfuming the rooms in which they were situated.
In modern times, potpourri is often created with any dried flowers, and synthetic scents and dyes are added, often with no relation to the flowers in the mixture. How soulless! This is why the more artisanal methods are making a comeback – to show that making your own signature scent with handpicked flowers and herbs can be so much more effective, satisfying, and pleasing to the nose.
How to make your own potpourri using scents from your garden
When it comes to making your own potpourri, there are a few rules, but it’s best to experiment when it comes to choosing your ingredients! Your mixture can come in the form of any naturally scented item; however, make sure to avoid any toxic plants!
A selection of popular natural ingredients for potpourri include:
- lemon and orange peel
- cinnamon bark
- fennel seed
- jasmine flowers and oil
- jujube flowers and blooms
- lavender leaves and flowers
- lemon balm leaves and flowers
- marjoram leaves and flowers
- mignonette leaves and flowers
- mint leaves and flowers
- geranium leaves from the scented varieties
- rose flowers, hips, or oil
- rosemary leaves and flowers
Images c/o Pixabay
How to make it:
- Collect your ingredients and arrange them on a tray in a single layer, then leave them to dry for two weeks. To dry them faster, place them in a sunny position indoors – you don’t want your potpourri flying away in the wind!
- Place your ingredients into a jar or tub with a lid (carefully! Dry flowers can break easily), then add a couple of drops of essential oils. Place the lid on the jar and leave your mixture in a cool, dry place for around six weeks.
- After the six weeks is over, pour your mixture into a more decorative container. You can even gift it to a friend!
Which flowers are in your signature home scent? Let me know in the comments section below!
Michael has been involved with gardening and plants since he was just five years old. He is a self-professed Plant Geek, and was listed in the Sunday Times top 20 most influential people in the gardening world, thanks to his plant hunter role at Thompson & Morgan.
Michael was responsible for new plant introductions such as the Egg and Chips plant and the FuchsiaBerry and keeps busy travelling the world in search of new plants as well as lecturing worldwide, including stints in Japan. He is very active on social media – so why not give him a follow at @mr_plantgeek or Facebook. You can also listen to The Plant Based Podcast with Michael and co-host Ellen-Mary on iTunes, Spotify and Google.