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By now, The Scented Room and I are old friends. I turn to it when looking for answers: how to use my window boxes' yield of lemon balm, learn the best recipe for making a pomander or discover a good idea for making a special scented gift. This book has never let me down. Generously illustrated with beautiful photographs; the instructions are clearly written -- it's fun to use.

Because the book was written in 1986, the list of suppliers is partially out of date in older editions. We have listed the names of a few retailers who can provide supplies.

The Scented Room: Cherchez's Book of Dried Flowers, Fragrance, and Potpourri by Barbara Milo Ohrbach, Joe Standart (Photographer), Anne Marie Cloutier (Photographer) is published by Random House. Ms. Ohrbach has granted us permission to reprint text and photographs for the following projects: Herb Wreaths, and Men's Shirt Sachets.

To purchase your own copy of The Scented Room, visit Amazon.com


Materials Needed:
  • A straw form (the finished wreath will be 2 to 4 inches larger than the form, so choose the size accordingly)
  • Florist's pins, to attach the herbs to the form
  • Sprigs of four kinds of dried herbs, 5 inches long. Use opal basil, Silver King artemisia, parsley, and sage or another combination with nice color contrast such as lamb's ears, rosemary, Silver Lace artemisia, and tansy
  • A wire loop, for hanging the wreath
Three steps in making an herb wreath. Left: The straw form. Center: Sprigs of artemisia and opal basil arranged in three curved rows with floral pins. Right: Layers of parsley and sage are added to finish.

Making an Herb Wreath:
  1. Starting with Silver King artemisia (or the lightest-colored herb), arrange several sprigs, stems outward, to create a curved row on the form. Attach each sprig to the form with florist's pins.
  2. Create a second and third row with the rest of the artemisia so that the three rows are equidistant from each other. Pin in place as before. Be sure to keep all sprigs curving in the same direction and to overlap the sprigs to hide the pins.
  3. Alongside each row of the artemisia and using the same technique, make three rows each of the opal basil and the parsley or whatever herbs give the highest color contrast to the first. Then add the sage or darkest herbs. You should now have twelve rows in all on the form.
  4. Attach the wire loop to the back of the wreath for hanging.


Sachet from Men's Shirt"If the smell of stale pipe tobacco and ruining shoes has taken over your husband's closet, here's a sachet that will help make everything smell fresh and airy again. The bags for it can be made of the pinstriped cotton from one of his old shirts whose cuffs and collars have seen better days. It's a nice way to recycle fabric, and a classic menswear print is the perfect complement for the wonderful outdoorsy scent of the blend itself." -- Barbara Milo Ohrbach: The Scented Room

Materials Needed
  • 1 ounce rose petals
  • 1-1/2 ounces patchouli leaves
  • 1 ounce cedar shavings
  • 1/2 ounce powdered orrisrot
  • 2 drops patchouli oil

  • Yield: 4 ounces, or enough to fill four sachets
Making a Cloth Sachet Bag
  1. Cut a rectangle of fabric that measures 8 by 11 inches.
  2. Fold the fabric in half lengthwise, right sides together, and stitch down the long open side and one short side, using a 1/2-inch seam allowance.
  3. Fold the top of the bag about halfway down over the bag itself and iron. (This piece will stay tucked into the bag when turned right side out.)
  4. Turn the bag right side out and fill it two-thirds full with potpourri mixture.
  5. Tie it with an 18-inch length of 1/4-or 1/2-inch-wide ribbon, making a double knot and then a bow.
How to Mix Potpourri for the Sachet
  1. Mix all the ingredients in a glazed pottery bowl.
  2. Put the potpourri into a brown paper bag lined with wax paper and store in a cool, dark place to age for a period of two weeks. Occasionally stir the contents with a wooden spoon to disperse and blend the oils.
  3. When the potpourri has "cured," spoon it into the fabric bags and tie with ribbon.

Shops and Supplies:

Aphrodesia (provides dried herbs and botannicals)
264 Bleecker Street
New York, NY 10014
Phone: (212) 989-6440
Fax: (212) 989-8027

In Harmony Herbs & Spices (provides dried herbs, botannicals and essential oils)
4808 Santa Monica Avenue
San Diego, CA 92107
Phone (for orders): (800) 514-3727
web: www.inharmonyherbs.com
email: herbspirit@cox.net

Kiehl's (for essential oils)
109 Third Avenue
New York, NY 10003
Phone: 1-800-543-4571

San Francisco Herb Company (provides botannicals, dried herbs and essential oils)
250 14th Street
San Francisco, CA 94103
Phone (for orders): (800) 227-4530
web: www.sfherb.com
email: ifo@sfherb.com

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