There’s no place like home but if your house is full of smokers or is closed up all day while you work there may be a lingering stale, musky smell of household odours or mould greeting you at the front door.
To get things smelling sweet and fresh again, you need look no further than your backyard for an organic solution.
For centuries people have used herbs and fragrant flowers as natural air fresheners. One old-time classic is the tussy-mussy.
This is a small posy or floral arrangement made of fragrant flowers and herbs which was often hand-held in Medieval times to ward off the smells of an otherwise rather unhygienic lifestyle.
In today’s modern world the tussy-mussy is still a valuable organic way to freshen up the bathroom, closet, toilet, laundry or other small enclosed room with the sweet scent of fragrant garden blooms.
The classic tussy-mussy would include:
a fragrant rose and/or other blooms like jasmine, gardenia, honeysuckle, daphne, citrus etc surrounded by the leaves.
Plus blooms of sweet smelling herbs like:
lavender, rosemary, mints, lemon verbena, and scented geraniums.
These were bound together snugly in the old days with a twine of jasmine or honeysuckle but, today, an elastic band will do. The posy was often hand held or placed in a vase where fragrance was needed. The idea here is that the tussy-mussy should be lightly crushed or handled to bring out the scent and then replaced everyday or so with a new one.
Potpourri is a natural extension of the tussy-mussy. Potpourri is a collection of fragrant herbs and colourful petals that are dried, mixed and stored for use as a natural air freshener. They are best kept in a box or glass bowl with a tight fitting lid to seal in the fragrance.
This is kept in a darkish place to maintain the colour and freshness of the potpourri. The lid is removed whenever the room needs a fragrant lift. Here’s a classic potpourri mixture.
peppermint, sweet-cicely, sage, basil, rosemary, angelica, lemon thyme, lemon balm, red bergamot, lovage, tarragon, marjoram, rose geranium and lemon verbena leaves.
Add to this the dried petals of:
lavender, elder, chamomile, nasturtium, cornflower, citrus, marigold and rose.
The following spices may be used for scent:
Whole cloves, broken cinnamon sticks, nutmeg, coriander, cardamom and aniseed all freshly ground and the dried and crushed peel of citrus like orange, grapefruit or lemon.
But potpourri can be made from almost anything out of the garden which can be scented with oils once fully dried. These oils can be purchased from many garden centres and florists in a wide assortment of scents.
Potpourri mixtures can also be used in sachets or herbal cushions which can be placed anywhere fragrance is needed. Or make a wet potpourri by flash boiling fragrant herbs like lavender or lemon verbena in a 3-4 centimetres of boiling water for a few minutes.
Let the steam mixed with fragrant herbal oil fill the room or house and then close the room for a short time to let the steam and oil settle. The entire area will smell as lovely as the garden for several days!
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