Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Scented Potpourri using a Dehydrator

Our journey along the fascinating world of fragrant potpourri started with some classical recipes but as always we've let our imagination run free. I am always exploring new combinations as I love to have at my fingertips a jar (or an unusual container such as an ... oyster shell ) with fragrant mixture of dried scented pelargonium leaves, flowers and materials gathered from the garden.
Potpourri with rosebuds, mint flowers and scented pelargonium leaves and flowers
Potpourri with rosebuds, mint flowers and scented pelargonium leaves and flowers

The recipe for "Cheerful Roses" potpourri: 

Last year I've detailed how to make "The smell of Autumn" potpourri using dried leaves of pelargoniums x fragrans, Citrosum, Quercifolium and Tomentosum.  At that moment we've dried naturally the materials, on an wooden rack placed in a warm and well ventilated spot. It is the oldest way to dry herbs and spices, letting the time to work for you, but sometime the shape and the color are modified during the drying out process.

As we try to keep out of any chemicals (drying flowers using Silica Gel) we've started to think about to improve our way of preserving leaves using a Dehydrator. So, this year we've made a new step and decided to purchase one.

rose scented pelargonium leaves dried in nesco dehydrator

We were following the time and temperature estimates provided by manufacturer, but of course we have dried similar batches with different results, varying due to the type, quantity and quality of plant materials and harvesting conditions.

Potpourri with rosebuds and scented pelargonium leaves and flowers
Potpourri with rosebuds and scented pelargonium leaves and flowers

I'm convinced that using a Dehydrator to dry herbs saves time and space ... but I still fancy the old way ... slow and steady. The leaves & flowers are better preserved and maintain better their color and shape, very important attributes in any potpourri, but somehow the smell was a bit diminished.

Monday, August 20, 2012

Pelargonium " PJ Miranda"

Pelargonium "PJ Miranda"  is a magnificent hybrid of regal pelargonium (pelargonium x domesticum), which have been hybridized few years ago by Jean and Phil Hausermann, members of our "Canadian Geranium & Pelargonium Society" .

Regal Pelargonium PJ Miranda bonsai
Pelargonium "PJ Miranda" in bloom

Regal Pelargonium PJ Miranda small plant
They gave us a young plant at one of the monthly meetings (photo - right side),  which make it even more valuable for us.

Regal Pelargonium PJ Miranda flower

As per their suggestion, we have cut the blooms, letting the plant to grow without flowers for 3 more months.
The plant seems to love direct sunlight and was growing quite quickly,  investing in multiple branches and now is making a nice flowering centerpiece.

Pelargonium "PJ Miranda" has serrated leaves and huge ruffled satiny flowers (almost 5 cm each), similar with "Elsie Hickman" pelargonium.  Its eye-catching blooms have light pink base and scarlet red overlay on the top petals with darker veining markings and blotchings.

Regal Pelargonium PJ Miranda satiny florets opening into full flowers
Pelargonium "PJ Miranda" flowers

Aren't you impressed, too, by its florets which are opening into full flowers and are almost covering the fuzzy velvety foliage?


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