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Tussie-Mussies and Talking Bouquets

tussie mussie collage

Hello there, flower friends!

You’re probably here thanks to our common admiration for flowers. They’re naturally beautiful, they often smell better than even the best perfumes, and they have the uncanny ability to brighten up a dull day… but did you know what they can talk? Yes, indeed, folks. Flowers carry a flurry of hidden messages, a secret language all their own. They can whisper messages of love, offer their condolences, and even help to forge new friendships. The rich history of the language of flowers traces back over 200 years ago, to the Victorian times when discerning floral meanings became something of a cultural movement.

Courtesy of our discretely creative ancestors, the most commonly found plants and flowers were assigned a variety of specific sentiments. When used in small arrangements called tussie-mussies, the recipient of the flowers could infer a secret message hidden within the pretty petals. Take the sweet little snowdrop, for example. Its delicate white flowers were used to convey consolation or hope.

Masked meanings weren’t limited to just flowers. Herbs, greenery, and foliage also played an active role in the language of flowers. For instance, ivy imparted a message of fidelity, while ferns spoke of sincerity… but not maidenhair ferns. No. A maidenhair fern swears its recipient to ¬†secrecy, a promise of utmost discretion.

Can you imagine the mixed messages and confusion that must have run amok among the poor people left to interpret the meaning of their bouquet?

“Hmmm… was it just a daisy (innocence)? or was it a michaelmas daisy (farewell)?”. “Does the dahlia he gave me mean dignity or instability?”. Oh, the rumors that must have flown around.

In honor of Valentine’s Day, when countless flowers are gifted and love letters exchanged, I thought that it would be fun to combine the two… to bundle up a bouquet and a love letter in one. Foraging in the garden resulted in a limited selection of flirty flowers, but the freshly picked wintery white bouquet was just enough to give you guys some flowers with feeling.

“I hope (snowdrop) that you’ll keep this between the two of us (maidenhair fern),

but I sincerely (fern) appreciate your fidelity (ivy) and greatly enjoy your amiability (white jasmine).

I hope (snowdrop) that our friendship (oak-leafed geranium) will be be long-lasting (sage).”

But surely the flowers already spoke for themselves. You probably would have inferred my kind words just by looking at the pretty posy, right? ;)

I’m taking a trip to the flower market tomorrow, so hopefully I can come up with some more “colorful” romantic sweet nothings to share with you all. This is so much fun, coming up with small arrangements bursting with unspoken emotions!

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