By Jim Harrell
In my role as District Chair of Arrangement Judges for the Deep South District, I am asked to review the arrangement section of local rose shows in the district. In the schedule for the Fall Augusta Rose Show, Linda Boland submitted as the class for personal adornment a “Tussie Mussie.” In their Show the theme was the “University of Roses” and the class title was “Department of Psychology.” The description was: A Tussie-Mussie, with water source, not to exceed 16-inches in height, width or depth. Card of explanation must accompany arrangement for it to be judged. That still didn’t mean anything to me, a Tussie-Mussie was just a bouquet. Well, I was wrong, just Gary Barlow and Lew Shupe have shown us that an oriental arrangement can be accompanied by a Haiku to give it meaning, Linda explained to me that if bouquet is a Tussie-Mussie, all the flowers will assume some secret suggestive meaning interpreted through the “language of flowers.” So the assignment for participants in the class was to create a bouquet and explain to us its meaning.
Wikipedia gives the following result when you search for Tussie Mussie: The language of flowers, sometimes called floriography (from Latin flora, “goddess of plants”; and γράφειν, graphein, “writing”), was a
Victorian-era means of communication in which various flowers and floral arrangements were used to send coded messages, allowing individuals to express feelings which otherwise could not be spoken. This language was most commonly communicated through Tussie-Mussies, an art which has a following today. “Tussie-mussie” is a term from the early 1400s for small, round bouquets of herbs and flowers with symbolic meanings.
The nuances of the language are now mostly forgotten, but red roses still imply passionate, romantic love and pink roses a lesser affection; white roses suggest virtue and chastity and yellow roses still stand for friendship or devotion. Also, commonly known meanings are sunflowers, which can indicate either haughtiness or respect – they were the favorite flower of St. Julie Billiart for this reason. Gerbera (daisy) means innocence or purity. The iris, being named for the messenger of the gods in Greek mythology, still represents the sending of a message. An Anemone signifies unfading love. A pansy signifies thought, a daffodil respect and a strand of ivy fidelity and friendship.
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