Celebrating the Seasons

Tussie Mussies Say It with Flowers

Gather flowers, arranging them so the central bloom, which sends the message, is surrounded by dainty filler flowers.

Back in the day, when someone wanted to gently flirt with another person he sent sweet little bouquets of gathered flowers. The flowers and herbs said it all, as each plant represented a special feeling, mood, or symbolic meaning. It was an opportunity for a person to express feelings that otherwise couldn’t be spoken. So the giver carefully selected each flower, herb, and vine based on the message it would convey. These bundles were called Tussie Mussies, and their history dates back hundreds of years. But it was during the Victorian era that passing of bouquets from one person to another became an art. Although many of those messages have been lost through the years, some have stuck.

What Flowers Mean

Roses imply passion; but the color says more. Red means true romantic love and passion. Pink roses imply a lesser affection while yellow means friendship or devotion. White roses stand for virtue and chastity.

Ivy in bouquets suggests fidelity as mint means suspicion. Aloe is for grief as campanula speaks gratitude. Coriander says lust as lavender conveys mistrust. And the list goes on.

Yellow roses symbolize friendship or devotion.

If you want to “say it with flowers” making a tussie mussie is rather easy. Think of them as tiny, delicate hand-tied bouquets. Traditionally they are wrapped in a lace doily and tied together with ribbon.

Gather flowers, herbs, and vines you want to incorporate. Clean them up by trimming stems to six inches or less and removing excess foliage. Place the most important flower — the flower that carries the message, such as a red rose — in the middle. Surround it with smaller buds or herbs to act as filler flowers. Tuck in draping vines if you wish. Hold everything in place by wrapping with florist tape, then wrap the stems in a decorative paper doily and tie with ribbon.

School Garden Grants, Fun Activities, Lessons and more at - www.kidsgardening.org

NGA offers the largest and most respected array of gardening content for consumers and educators. Learn more about NGA »