Friday, November 14, 2014

Messages in a Bouquet: Make Your Own Tussie Mussie

Example of a tussie mussie
Used with permission

By Kaitlin Henderson

Bring the beauty of nature indoors to warm up your winter. Duke Gardens is offering two plant craft classes that will introduce you to fun new ways to decorate your home for the season.  Coming up first is a workshop on Nov. 19 titled Tussie Mussie: The Victorian Language of Flowers.

Can you resist something as fun sounding as a tussie mussie?

It becomes even better when you find out what they are: bouquets used to impart a symbolic message. Tussie mussies began in the Victorian era and were used to communicate a wide range of messages:  friendship, romance, or even disdain. Think of them as prettier and better smelling Victorian emoticons!

In the 2-hour workshop, taught by Virginia Zoo landscape coordinator Marie Butler, you'll learn a little of the tussie mussie's history before putting together your own bouquet.

As with any bouquet, they make beautiful accents in your home, but they're even more fun for having a secret meaning. One fun tussie mussie Marie has put together was a wedding arrangement that included sedum, which she explains "meant 'tranquility' at the church but 'welcome home, husband, however drunk ye be' at the reception."

Butler says she likes all kinds of flower arrangements, but she especially loves how the symbolism in tussie mussies can provide a great starting point for original bouquets. In this workshop, Marie will show participants "the beauty of the plant world from a new, old-fashioned perspective." This is a new workshop at Duke Gardens, so be sure to check it out!

Information/registration: Tussie Mussie: The Victorian Language of Flowers will be held Wednesday, Nov. 19, 2014, from 10 a.m. to 12 p.m. More information here.

Want to create more holiday decorations for your home? In our Holiday Greenery class on Dec. 6  we'll help you make your own hanging evergreen displays. You can find more information here, and keep an eye out for a blog preview.

Call 919-668-1707 or email to register for a class at the Duke Gardens. You can find all of our upcoming classes, including Tussie Mussie and Holiday Greenery, on our calendar of events. 

Kaitlin Henderson is a graduate student in Duke's Master of Arts in Liberal Studies program.

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