The Victorian art of creating a bouquet of flowers with a message has an age-old appeal. Receiving flowers from an admirer is always fun but how much greater the pleasure when the flowers have a meaning! The round bouquets from Victorian times were known as tussie-mussies, or nosegays, were exchanged between lovers to convey a message. After receiving a tussie musie, a young lady would uses a special dictionary to determine the meaning of each flower or leafy sprig in the bouquet. Geraldine Adamich Laufer’s book Tussie-Mussies: The Language of Flowers, introduces the reader to the subject and gives all the information needed to create personalized tussi-mussies.
The first three chapters are devoted to historical aspects of the subject. They include information on how flowers acquired their meanings, the development of plant identification, the difficulties of interpreting the meaning of a bouquet, posey holders, and the reasons why tussie-mussies were first used. Insets in the margins highlights little gems of information such as wearing a tussie-mussie in the hair told the would-be suitor to be cautious.
Two thirds of the book is devoted to the nits and grits of actually making a tussie-mussie. First, a step by guide takes the reader through the process of assembling the flowers and the mechanics of binding them together. Next, sixty different themed tussie mussies are presented each with with a full page color photograph, a labeled diagram of the bouquet, and a list of the plants material chosen with the meaning of each. For example, the Sadie Hawkins Day tussie-mussie contains borage (bluntness), cockscomb (humor), snapdragon (dazzling yet dangerous), pinks (boldness), lavender cotton (pursuit), perilla (role reversal), and chrysanthemum leaf (mirth). In case none of the themed tussie-mussies is just right for your need, a glossary of flowers with their meaning is presented, and a index of sentiments with the flowers that express them is included. Readers have everything they need to make or interpret a tussie-mussie.
This book is just plain fun! I have spent hours reading and rereading selections just because the information is so romantic and intriguing. Although I have never actually made a tussie-mussie, I used the information to make favors for a wedding rehearsal dinner when my oldest son got married. Every guest received a small potted plant with a message about its meaning. Creating these favors was one of the best parts of my participation in the wedding plans and this book deserves a lot of the credit for that. If you have any interest in the language of flowers and /or tussie-mussies, this is a must have book!