Beautiful, scented herbs in your home

Cut the lavender flowers on a dry, sunny day before they are fully open. Tie them in bunches and hang them upside down to dry in a cool, well-ventilated room. When they are dry, strip the flowers from the stalks and put them in small decorative cheesecloth or calico bags. Secure the tops. Use the bags to scent clothes, bed linen, pillows and cushions.

Many herbs have been used as insect repellents for centuries, and a selection of scented herbs can be used to make moth balls to protect clothing.

A moth repellent can be made from dried tansy leaves, dried lavender flowers and dried southernwood. Use 2 cups of lavender and southernwood and one cup of tansy leaves. Add two crushed sticks of cinnamon and half a teaspoon of orris root. Put the mixture in bags or sachets and store them with your clothes.

Herbs can be used to make decorative wreaths to welcome guests to the home on special occasions. You can vary the herbs used according to those available in your garden but an attractive wreath can be made from a mixture of gray and green foliage plants.

Some may include: Lavender, Holly, Bay leaves, Spearmint, Parsley and roses.

Select a suitable wire ring and then secure damp sphagnum moss to it to make a base. Attach the green herbs in small bunches, spacing them out evenly. Then add small bunches of the gray-leaved plants. Finally wire in the flowers, spacing them out evenly around the ring.

A special fragrant Christmas wreath can be made from holly, dried sage, dried lavender, oregano, conifers and slices of orange.

Potpourris have been made for centuries to scent rooms, cupboards or linen. They should include a variety of flowers and scented leaves. Good flowers for a potpourri include scented roses, carnations, lavender, orange, rosemary, violets, and honeysuckle. Scented leaves could include marjoram, sweet balm, lemon bee brush, rosemary and pennyroyal.

Pick the flowers and leaves in a dry period when there has been no rain for 24 hours and the morning dew has vanished. Dry them, preferably on a wire rack in an airy room. Make sure that all ingredients are thoroughly dry, or the potpourri will go mouldy.

For a simple modern potpourri you will need:
4 good handfuls of dried leaves and flowers
6 cinnamon sticks
4 nutmegs
1 tsp mint essential oil
1 tbsp sweet orange essential oil
1 tbsp orris root
China or glass bowl

Mix all the ingredients together except the orris root. When the oils have been absorbed, tip the mixture into a plastic bag, add the orris root, seal and leave to mature for a week or two. Shake the bag from time to time. Tip the mixture into a china or glass bowl.