Along the Grapevine


A Forager’s Potpourri


As 2014 draws to a close, I would like to wish all my readers a very happy New Year. On this occasion I am sharing¬†something seasonal to mark the occasion, and something a little different from the usual recipe post. The idea came from one of my favourite DIY blogs I read the other day on how to make your house smell amazing, a sort of stewed potpourri made of winter greens, fruit and spices. I decided to make my own version using mostly fragrant ingredients from my own garden. It seemed sumac, among other things, would be a good addition, as I’ve noticed whenever I dry sumac berries the house smells wonderful.

This is what I used:

a few sprigs of spruce, juniper and cedar

3 or 4 clusters of sumac berries

2 sticks of cinnamon

4 cloves

a few fresh lemon slices

Place all these ingredients in a pot, cover with water, heat and allow to simmer for a few hours.


The aroma is not overwhelming, even from very close, but is a subtle woodsy outdoor smell which really does make the house smell amazing. I intend to repeat this and vary the ingredients a little each time, perhaps with some surviving herbs and berries, but in the meantime, wanted to share this easy, inexpensive potpourri with you all.




Happy New Year

Wishing a Happy New Year to all my readers, and all the best for 2014.

And, as in any post, there must be a photo. So here is my updated centrepiece, except for the candles entirely made of foraged materials from within a few feet of our house. As it is all natural, it needs to be refreshed every few days, and changed according to the colour of the candles.  This one consists of pine, spruce, cedar, sedum and hydrangeas. The base was made from a branch of our sugar maple in the front garden, and the candle holder is a piece of birch tree next to our house that sadly had to come down.