Making Herbal Tussie-Mussies

Long before the days of the telephone, computers, fax machines and text messages, miniature herbal bouquets were a special means of communication.

Tussie-mussies are composed of herbs and flowers with different meanings that varied from century to century. Since they were often held up to the nose to mask offensive odors, they were called nosegays. And, with good reason. The sights and smells of the medieval era with its primitve sanitation was indeed an assault on the delicate noses of the people who appeared in public.

Tussie- mussies not only made the odors less obvious, they spoke of love and friendship as well. Carefully choose herbs and flowers that express personal thoughts and feelings. Begin with an herb that represents the most important sentiment and surround it with small branches of herbs. Begin to add bright and dainty flowers, and a little fresh ivy until you have formed a bouquet. Secure the stems of the bouquet with satin ribon, twine, or use soft floral tape in a dark green color. You can purchase the floral tape in craft stores.

Place the arrangement in a damp paper towel, and cover the stems with foil. If you’re not going to give the bouquet away in the next few hours, keep it chilled in the refrigerator.

For a lovely Victorian look, remove the paper towel and foil, placing the tussie-mussie in a cone shaped paper holder for presentation.

The Language of Herbs…

The following herbs had meanings that may have originated from traditional medicinal and magical powers.

Basil- love or hate
Bee balm-virtue
Dill-good cheer
Geranium, scented, happiness
Parsley-merry heart
Sage-long life
Tarragon-lasting relationships
Thyme- bold moves

The Language of Flowers…

When making a tussie-mussie or a bouquet, use the following flowers to make them mean something extra special.

Forget me not-true love
Golden rod-encouragement
Iris-pure heart and faith
Marigold-joy and remembrance
Rose-love and success
Zinnia-fond memories of far away friends.

~ Meadow Walker

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