Tussie- mussies are little talking bouquets that either send a message if given as a gift or convey a persons mood if carried by the person who crafted it. They were always carried by Victorian ladies whenever they were out in public in case they came upon one of the unpleasant smells of the time -at which time they would lift the tiny bouquet ( also called a nosegay) to their nose. To be caught in such a position ( smelling a bad smell) without a tussie-mussie would be very embarrassing.
In Victorian times any verbal communication between a proper young lady and the opposite sex was closely chaperoned— sending a little bouquet was considered an acceptable way of letting ones feelings be known without compromising anyone’s reputation .
A proper tussie-mussie contains a central flower ( the most important part of the message) surrounded by other flowers and herbs that add to the sentiment. All are tied together with a pretty ribbon to make it easy to carry.
Lists of Flowers , Herbs , and Leaves to gather for your tussie-mussie and their meanings.
Words of love and encouragement
Alyssum–worth beyond beauty
Arbor Vitae-unchanging, friendship, live for me
Aster-I will think of it, I partake your sentiments
Camellias-Red –real excellence , White-perfected loveliness
Carnation-Pink –a woman’s love-
Carnation-Red- Alas! For my poor heart
Chrysanthemums-Red—I love you—White-truth
Geranium- Lemon scented-unexpected meeting
Geranium-Nutmeg scented-expected meeting
Honeysuckle- Common-generous and devoted affection
Honeysuckle- Coral- the color of my fate
Jasmine- White-attachment, amiability ,Yellow-grace and elegance
Ivy-fidelity, marriage, I want to please you
Marjoram- Oregano-I blush
Mint- Peppermint-warmth of feeling
Mint- Spearmint-warmth of sentiment
Oak-bravery, independence ,Live Oak-liberty
Ox eye daisy- patience
Poppy- Scarlet-fantastic, extravagance
Poppy-White- sleep, my antidote
Rose- Red- strong love , Pink-beauty, White- I am worthy of you ***Red and White mixed -unity
Rose bud-Red-pure and lovely, White- girlhood, chaste
*Note—anytime the bouquet contained more then two buds—it meant secrecy was most important.
Sage-domestic virtue ,esteem
Sorrel-(wood sorrel)- joy, maternal tenderness
Spiderwort-esteem ( not love)
Sweet Basil- good wishes
Sweet pea- delicate pleasures
Zinna-thoughts of absent friends
Of course there are those days when other things are on your mind-
Barberry-sourness of temper
Butterfly Weed-let me go!
Chrysanthemum-Yellow- slighted love
Dead Leaves-any kind-sadness
Marigold –grief, jealousy
Mistletoe—I surmount difficulties
Pennyroyal-run away, escape
Saint Johns Wort-animosity
Tansy-I declare war against you
Source of definitions-
Kate Greenaway’s Language of Flowers