And the Tussie Mussie
Compiled by Linda Boland
1440 – “a tyte tust or tusemose of flowyrs or othyr herbys” – the root “tus” suggests a relationship to tussock, a clump of grass; while “mussie” is a rhyme on tussie and refers to the damp moss pressed around the stems to keep them fresh.
Flowers were used throughout the ages by both sexes:
• To Aztec warriors they were as indispensable as their weapons; Aztec noblemen carried tussie-mussies to symbolize high rank; a magnolia of exceeding beauty and fragrance was almost as necessary as two swords were to the samurai.
• In Medieval Europe they were carried as protection against the plague. Flowers were used in all ceremonies and rituals of daily life, festivals of harvest, childbirth, marriage and death; in medicine, in church, and in courts of law.
• From the 16th Century on they served as essential accessories and were carried, worn in the hair, pinned to gowns, or suspended from chains; emblematic use of flowers in heraldry had a significant influence
• 1700’s The Turkish Selam or language of objects contributed to the sending of coded messages via symbolic objects such as flowers.
• In France, both Marie Antoinette and Josephine were infatuated with flowers and influenced the way the symbolic language evolved.
• Victorians turned flower giving into an art and practiced “floral language” with a vengeance; dozens of dictionaries were published to help decipher their messages. Following the directive of 1836: “Mothers should teach their daughters religion and the art of making a well-made hand bouquet.”
• By 1880 the fashion was waning but it appears to be making a comeback.
• Rose – love, beauty, congratulations, reward of virtue, grace, joy, you are gentle, friendship, silence, unity, may you be pleased and your sorrows mine
• Cabbage Rose – ambassador of love
• Champagne colored rose – effervescence, vitality, devotion
• Cherry-red rose – merriment, sweetness of character derived from good works
• China Rose – beauty always new
• Coral Rose – I admire your accomplishments, good fortune, longevity, beauty
• Cream Rose – Richness, perfection, best qualities
• Damask Rose – brilliant complexion beauty always new
• Eglantine Rose – poetry
• Gold Rose – absolute achievement
• Lavender Rose – rarity, dignity
• Moss Rose – love, voluptuousness
• Musk Rose – capricious beauty
• Peach Rose – your qualities like your charms are unequalled
• Pink Rose – grace, beauty; pink rosebud, grace, beauty, gentleness
• Red Rose – love, passion, desire, beauty, victory, harmony, joy, charm, luck; red rosebud – innocent hope, young and beautiful
• Red and White Rose – creative force, joy, unity
• Rose colored Rose – shyness, beauty, pride, love
• Shell-Pink Rose – youth, good health, femininity
• White Rose – unity, love, respect, beauty
• Yellow Rose – friendship, highest mark of distinction, forgive and forget
• Rosebud – beauty and youth
MEANINGS OF OTHER PLANT MATERIALS LOCALLY AVAILABLE:
• Artemisia, Silver King – dignity, sentimental recollections, remembrance
• Aster – beauty in retirement
• Baby’s Breath – pure heart, festivity, gaiety
• Basil – best wishes
• Blueberry – prayer and protection
• Caladium – great joy and delight
• Carnation – bonds of pure love
• Chrysanthemum – cheerfulness, optimism, long life, joy, joviality, mirth
• Daisy – friendship, cheerfulness (many meanings depending on type)
• Fern – sincerity
• Geranium, Red – comfort, health, protection
• Gladiolus – generosity, strength of character
• Honeysuckle – bonds of love, generous and devoted affection
• Hydrangea and Rosemary– remembrance
• Ivy – friendship, trustfulness, tenacity
• Juniper – welcome to a new home, protection, asylum
• Lavender – luck, success, and happiness
• Mint – warmth of feeling Oak – hospitality, strength, longevity
• Red Salvia – energy; Blue Salvia – wisdom, I think of you
Laufer, Geraldine Adamich. Tussie-Mussies, The Victorian Art of Expressing Yourself in the Language of Flowers. Workman Publishing, New York, 1993. ISBN: 1-56305-106-0
Linda S. Boland (Mrs. John Kenneth) 100 New Delaughter Drive, North Augusta, SC 29860; Cell: 706-394-9075; E-mail: email@example.com; Master Rosarian, American Rose Society Horticultural and Arrangements Judge
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