Sunday, April 15, 2012

The Tussie Mussie and the Language of Flowers

Mother Nature brought out her watering can last night.  Now the grass is greener than green and the tulips along a neighbor's house are seemingly standing straighter.

Our Creator knew right off the bat that we humans were going to require parts of nature to be colorful and fragrant, so he designed the mighty flower kingdom.  I'm pretty sure He knew we would have to have a few visible hints to truly believe there is a place called Heaven.

During Queen Victoria's reign in England (1837-1901), society was ever so prim and proper in dress, manners, and all sorts of etiquette.  Flowers were used to decorate clothing, hair, dining table centerpieces, and were hand-painted on their fragile china tableware.  Flowers were even used to send messages, and this became known as Floriography.  Each flower, or herb, was given a significant meaning.....a way to convey an emotion to someone without saying a word.  Of course, rules of etiquette governed this, as well.  For instance, a flower offered with the right hand meant "yes," and offering a flower with the left hand meant "no."  

The Tussie-Mussie, or hand-held bouquets, were popular during the Victorian era.  These were flowers wrapped in a cone-shaped lace doily or some other material and tied with a bow of satin.  This custom, like all human interactions, required careful thought in the selection of the right flower on the giver's part. There were dozens of floral dictionaries in circulation at the time, and one can only speculate the number of times a flower message was misinterpreted.

Our society today still uses Floriography.  The red rose is the universal way of expressing love, asking forgiveness, or offering sympathy in time of sorrow.  The humble pansy is the epitome of friendship, and the herb Basil means, "I wish you the very best!"