Herbs are grown for many reasons besides culinary purposes. If one has ever had a desire to make their own potpourri, a small herb garden can be designed and filled with fragrance and the necessary flowers and foliage.
Roses are an essential part of this garden because their petals form the base of most mixtures. Climbing roses trained to a trellis will take less space. Strongly scented species are best while white rose petals are not recommended because of how they will look in the mixture. Lavender is an integral part of the mix as it retains its scent when dried, just like rose petals. Mixed planting of annuals and perennials are included and colors can range from purples to pinks or even reds to yellows.
There are many herbs that are grown for their scents and their flowers. Tuscan Blue Rosemary has vivid blue flowers and interesting stalks. Other choices could be curry, fennel (the bronze leaf will grow to five feet), scented geraniums, and patchouli. There are a number of thymes and mints one can choose from. Beware that mints and Sweet Annie, an annual Artemisia, can grow very vigorously without control.
Gather the leaves and flowers early in the morning, mix in a large bowl and let dry slowly inside your home. Add a fixative like orris root powder which helps stabilize the potpourri scent as well as spices and essential oils when the petal mixture is dry. Enjoy the fragrance of your garden inside your home year round.
Inez Denson, Smith County Master Gardener
Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service