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How to whip up an aromatic shower bouquet — for gifting or for yourself

Florist Katie Flohr shares how to assemble different foliage for a luxurious spa experience at home.

Florist Katie Flohr shares how to assemble different foliage for a luxurious spa experience at home

two illustrations on a white background. left: a bouquet of eucalyptus, juniper branches and other fragrant greenery in brown paper wrapping. right: a claw-foot tub with bubbles in it. water is flowing from a shower head. a bundle of greenery is wrapped around the top of the shower head.
(Illustration: Katie Flohr)

Over the course of one of my lengthy Instagram scrolls, I spotted a pic of a dreamy shower with a beautiful aromatic bouquet hanging from the showerhead. Like many others who spot things online they're convinced they can make themselves, I tried my hand at arranging one. The results were… fine. My bundle was way too bulky, my scent pairings weren't quite right and, sadly, it all withered away a little too soon. 

I knew I could do better, so I turned to a pro for guidance. Katie Flohr is a landscape horticulturist, visual artist, florist and owner of The Moody Blooms in Toronto. She often sells aromatic shower bundles in her shop and she shared her advice for making them, including which scents to blend, how to style the bouquet and tips for making it last as long as possible. Thanks to her direction, you can set out to make — and gift! — these delightfully fragranced bundles any time of year.  

Which fragrances to combine

Flohr's strategy, whenever possible, is to source "seasonal, locally grown ingredients because they are freshest and least expensive when bought in-season." In winter, she likes to work with a base of fresh-cut, fragrant evergreens like cedar and juniper, accented with Baby Blue eucalyptus, which she says is "one of the most intense-smelling eucalyptus varieties." You can also use essential oils (more on that later). In warmer months, she uses a base of Baby Blue eucalyptus, accented with fresh herbs like rosemary and sage and cooling herbs like lemon verbena and mint.  

(Illustration: Katie Flohr)

Since all this foliage can generally be found in flower shops and grocery stores year-round, Flohr suggests playing around with scent combinations to discover what you like best. Her personal favourite is cedar and juniper mixed with Baby Blue eucalyptus and mint oil — a wintry combination she finds to have a soothing effect. If you're seeking a more intense aroma, she recommends a mix of Baby Blue eucalyptus, juniper and rosemary. 

As your bouquet's fragrance fades over time, or if you simply want to boost the power of its scent, Flohr recommends adding a drop or two of bottled essential oils onto the leaves every few days. Some examples of essential oils she likes are lemon oil, which she says can be very invigorating, and lavender oil, which can be calming. For a wakeful blend, she likes a mix of juniper greens and fresh lemon verbena accented with lemon oil. However, Flohr suggests you skip the essential oils, if you or your giftee are sensitive to strong scents. 

How to assemble the bouquet

"Styling a shower bunch is easy!" Flohr reassures. She says you'll need five to 15 pieces of aromatic greenery with base stems of 30 cm or longer; 60 cm of wire, twine or ribbon; a sharp pair of pruners; and, if you'd like, some essential oils of your choosing. Flohr recommends you start by removing all leaves from the bottom quarter of your base stems. Then, she suggests you position some of your accent sprigs toward the front of the bundle and "gather everything up into your hand and tie tightly, leaving a generous loop to hang off your shower head." If you're gifting your bouquet, she suggests wrapping it in "biodegradable kraft paper or gift[ing] in a jar of water."

Scent release 

Flohr calls these DIY bouquets "a natural and inexpensive way to create a relaxing spa experience at home." She suggests positioning your bundle right behind or near the showerhead, so that the steam will activate the natural essential oils in the leaves. To release more scent, she says, "Try lightly crushing the leaves of your bouquet with your hands or hitting the bouquet lightly against the side of the shower [to] naturally release the essential oils [found within the plants] into the steam, then simply breathe in and enjoy!" 

Making your bouquets last longer

Flohr says an aromatic bouquet will generally keep for about one to two weeks. You can extend its life by "recutting the [bottom of the] stems and storing [them] in cold water when not in use" or using individual water tubes that you can refill as needed. "Most florists will supply a few water tubes with the purchase of a bouquet or item in their shop," she says. Make sure to hold onto them for the next arrangement you make. 

Your greenery will eventually lose its scent and dry out, at which point, Flohr says, you can toss your DIY in the compost and recycle the wire — or instead, pop your dried bouquet into an empty vase. And since nobody wants mouldy aromatics lingering about, Flohr suggests you "avoid leaving dried stems in the shower for weeks, especially if they will keep getting wet."

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