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“What the **** is a “Tussie Mussie”

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” in height, width, or depth. Card of explanation must accompany arrangement for it to be judged. That still didn’t mean anything to me, 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.


Pink Roses for your youthful

beauty and glowing health,

Hydrangea and Ivy Geranium

for memories of the day you were born,

Asparagus fern for your grace and charm


We bring you White Roses to

celebrate this union and the love you

have for each other.

The Hosta reminds us of your

continued devotion; while Garlic

signifies the strength of character

you have shown as you go through

life together with all of its joys and


Blue Salvia represents the wisdom

in your selection of a life partner,

and says to you our friends that we

are thinking of you!


No Aztec warrior of highest rank would

venture out to visit other important men

without his Tussie Mussie.

And so on this special day

we present one to you:

These Red Roses are for the love

we have for you our son.

Hydrangea and Rosemary for remembrance of

all we have shared together.

Lavender for luck, success, and happiness in this life;

All wrapped up with a little Honeysuckle that

binds us together with love and affection.

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