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Monday, June 25, 2012

Harvesting Herbal Flowers and My Salt Scrub Recipe

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It's flowering herb harvest time! My lavender and chamomile are strung  up to dry. Of course, I'll continue to use fresh culinary herbs for cooking and some flowers for arrangements through late summer. Don't panic, it's not autumn yet!  I grow some flowers and herbs for making things like soap, tea, scrubs, and lotions. I also use them for aromatherapy in my home. As a result, I grow so much lavender and chamomile that I can't possibly use all of it before it spoils, so I dry it. Flowers are best harvested before they are in full bloom. Before the heat saps them of their oils. In my garden this year, that time was about two weeks ago.

 Lavender and Chamomile, hung in my mudroom to dry. It's the first thing that I smell when I walk through the door.  I love the combination of the two fragrances. Chamomile smells so sweet and clean when it's cut and lavender, well, you know how I feel about that!

I harvest flower essence herbs after several dry days. I cut them in the morning, after the dew has gone, but before the heat of the sun takes their energy (and mine). I tie them in small bunches, (15 or so stems per bunch) being careful not to crush the flowers, and hang them in a cool, dark place with low humidity and good air circulation. In my house, this means that they are dried in the mudroom. Hence, the dark photos.

Herbal flower harvesting also provides me with a wonderful opportunity to make making fresh batches of scrub, scented water, lotion, soap, and a whole host of other things. Today, I'm sharing my basic salt scrub recipe. You can fragrance it as you like. The one that I'm making today is Chamomile and lavender.


I keep my scrub in cute little french canisters with plastic scoops. I keep one near the kitchen sink,  one near the mudroom sink, and one in the shower. The fragrances change with the seasons.

 Basic Scrub Recipe

  • 2 cups Epsom Salt
  • 1 cup Sea Salt (I use 1/2 cup coarse and 1/2 cup fine)
  • 1/2 cup baking soda
  • 1 to 1 1/4 cups carrier oil (I use almond or grape seed
  • 1/4 cup vegetable glycerin
  • 30 drops essential oil (for this recipe, I used 20 drops lavender and 10 drops chamomile)
  • 1/4 to 1/2 cup flower petals
In a large glass or stainless bowl, combine the first six ingredients until moist. Gently stir in the flower petals. Adjust the moisture by adding more carrier oil or more glycerin, as desired. the mix should stick together but not be soupy.  Spoon it into air tight glass containers. To use, moisten skin, rub with scrub and rinse. If you have particularly sensitive skin, use sugar instead of sea salt and use more glycerin.  This mixture will make 2 jars full and will keep for six months in a sealed glass container.

Other combinations:

  • Orange/Lemon: 10 Lemon and 20 drops Orange Oil (or vice versa). Add lemon and orange zest.
  • Grapefruit/Mint: 20 drops grapefruit and 10 drops spearmint or peppermint
  • Lemon/Eucalyptus: 20 drops Lemon and 5 to 10 drops Eucalyptus (this one is strong)
My other favorite combos:
  •  Lavender Rose sugar scrub. INSTEAD OF THE ABOVE USE: 1 cup white sugar, 1/4 cup coconut oil, melted, 1/4 cup almond oil, 2 Tablespoons dried rose petals, 1 teaspoon dried lavender Petals, Rose essential oil (10-20 drops), Lavender essential oil (10 drops)
  • Eucalyptus/Mint: use about 1/2 of the amount of oils. Peppermint or Spearmint. SO refreshing!
  • Lemongrass and Verbena: 20 drops Lemongrass and 10 drops verbena 
  • I'm currently experimenting with  verbena and juniper with lily and rose and just a little warm cedar and sandalwood. It smells summery and fresh. I'm not there yet, but if you're interested, let me know and I'll share the recipe when I perfect it.
Best for the winter: 

  •  Spiced Mocha: INSTEAD OF THE RECIPE ABOVE, USE: 1 to 1 1/2 cups carrier (I use almond for the winter), 1/4 to 1/2 cup glycerin,1 tblsp. ground coffee, 1 tblsp. cocoa powder, 1 tsp ground cinnamon, generous pinch ginger, generous pinch nutmeg
  • Spiced Sugar: INSTEAD OF THE RECIPE ABOVE, USE: 1 to 1 1/2 cups carrier (I use almond for the winter), 1/4 to 1/2 cup glycerin, 1 cup light or dark Brown Sugar, 1 cup granulated sugar, 2 tsp. - ground cinnamon, 2 tsp. - ground ginger, 2 tsp. - ground nutmeg. Cinnamon sticks, optional.
  • Best Brown Sugar Body Scrub: INSTEAD OF THE RECIPE ABOVE, USE: 1/2 cup ground almonds 1/2 cup ground oatmeal
    1/2 cup packed dark brown sugar
    1/4 cup almond oil
    1 tsp. vanilla extract
Let me know if you've come up with something different. I'm always looking for new combinations to try!


Essential Oils: Whole Foods
All other ingredients such as carrier oils and sea salt: Whole Foods, Trader Joe's, or any good grocer.

Linking to:
The Crafty Blog Stalker 
Home Stories A to Z 
I Should Be Mopping the Floor 
Krafty Kat 


  1. LOVELY! I adore lavender too and am drying some as well -- thanks for the scrub recipe!

  2. I have been wanting to make my own I just need to plant the right garden! Thank you for sharing your tips. xo Jami

  3. Oh, Kimberly! I so want to grow lavender! I couldn't imagine how wonderful it must smell drying inside... It's just so beautiful!

  4. I make a similar salt scrub but have never put making soda in mine ...I think we really are kindred spirits my friend!

    1. Yes, girlfriend, we are kindred. Right down to our names. I like the fact that the baking soda is really finely textured. I use it in most of the household cleaners that I make as well. It works wonderfully on my tubs and sinks and is a really mild abrasive. It's also a great deodorizer so I figured, why not!? If you're willing to share your recipe(s), I'm always looking for new ones!

  5. What a huge inspiration! I have been wanting to grow lavender for a long time in my garden. What is the best lavender to purchase for drying? Is it English Lavender? There are so many different types. Thanks Kimberly!

    1. Hi Angie, I grow Hidcote (English), Munstead and (as of this season)Graves. I'd say that Hidcote is the most hearty but I'm looking forward to Graves. Munstead is nice and compact but the stems aren't as long.

  6. I would love to grow lavender but it doesn't do well here in Georgia. I can't wait to try out the brown sugar scrub. I wonder if I could substitute pecans for almonds since we have pecan trees. That would be great during the fall!

    1. Try it in a small batch...why not!? I just make stuff up as I go along. Really? Lavender LOVES hot and dry...I'd think that it would do remarkably well. You can always order it on the internet. Kimber's (from Stilettos in the Mud)mom sells it. I'm glad that we met!

  7. Hi, just found you this morning. I also live in the suburbs of Chicago so we share the same sun, clouds, temps and recently lack of rain. So, how does your garden grow? My lavender is just still green, no flowers, my chamomile is just plain sad. I've never grown chamomile before so this summer I started out with only 2 plants. They are in the same pot and since June I've only had flowers once. My lavender is growing but no flowers.
    I live in a townhouse so all my stuff is in pots. Any and all suggestions would so be appreciated.

    I'm always thrilled when I come upon a blogger from Chicago. I don't see any pictures of your house Would you share some.

    1. Hi! Welcome! Sometimes it grows because of me, sometimes in spite of me. I've been watering to keep trees and perennials alive this summer but the lawn looks pretty sad. If your lavender doesn't have flowers yet, it may be too young or not getting enough sun. Do you know what type of lavender it is? It likes HOT HOT HOT sun for 6 hrs a day or more. Be patient, as long as it's growing, it should eventually flower. Chamomile is crazy-easy once you get it growing. It, too, likes plenty of sun and will live in very dry conditions. Is your chamomile still growing? If it is but it's looking leggy, try cutting it back by about 1/2. Let me know how it's going. I'm happy to help, I'm posting photos of my home as I can. I'm still working on getting everything loaded. I've had the new blog design for just over a month and I'm still playing "catch -up" :)


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