#8 in an ongoing series of posts celebrating the alphabet.
tussie-mussie from MYbeeboANDbijou’s photostream.
You probably know that roses symbolize love; lilies, purity; and rosemary, remembrance.
But did you know that if someone hands you a flower with his/her right hand, it means, yes, and with their left hand, no? If the flower is upright, the feelings are positive, but watch out for flowers with their heads down!
I’ve long been fascinated by the language of flowers, which was all the rage during Victorian times. Depending on which flowers were chosen, what size, how they were grouped together, and how presented, bouquets enabled givers to express thoughts and sentiments society prevented them from sharing openly.
photo by charlie3engineer.
We’ve all heard about those repressed Victorians. With their keen interest in botany and love for elaborate decoration, they took the phrase, “say it with flowers” to new heights. Tussie-Mussies, or small nosegays of herbs and flowers wrapped in doilies and tied with ribbon, contained secret coded messages that quickened the heart. This necessitated the publication of numerous floriography dictionaries — so recipients could accurately decipher the passion behind the petal.
Floral language — rich, fascinating, and varied by culture, dates back centuries to the Greeks and Aztecs, and includes references to classical mythology, religious symbolism, and ancient lore. A small pamphlet like the one pictured below was often kept close at hand for quick reference.
Language of Flowers, circa 1861,
from Piedmont Fossil’s photostream.
Today, I’m offering you this special tussie-mussie, a little bigger than was traditional, since it contains not a few, but 28 carefully selected blooms, gleaned from several different floral dictionaries. The romance between us, a friendship nurtured by a mutual love for words, may not require secrecy, but all too often the courage, patience, persistence, and ambition necessary to sustain a writing career are taken for granted, and much needed words of encouragement or appreciation go unspoken.
So, for what I may have failed to say, but want you to have, here’s your very own word nosegay. May it sustain you always, and help you court your muse!
A WRITER’S TUSSIE-MUSSIE
from homeandheart’s photostream.
A – Amaryllis, to encourage the creative muse.
photo by Vanda’s Pictures.
B – Bittersweet, for Truth.
C – Clematis, for Artifice and Ingenuity.
D – Dandelions, for Wishes Come True.
E – Edelweiss, for Courage and Daring.
F – Fir, a gift of Time.
G – Ginger, for Strength.
photo by rist2796.
H – Hepatica, for Confidence,
photo by HelenJr.
and Heather, for Solitude.
photo by Mutley27.
I – Iris, for Faith, Wisdom, and Hope.
J – Jasmine (white), for Amiability.
K – Kennedia, for Intellectual Beauty.
L – Larkspur, for an Open Heart, and Lupine, for Imagination.
photo by Jungle Durian.
M – Myrtle (wax), for Discipline and Instruction, and Magnolia for Perseverance.
photo by Rana Pipiens.
N – Nasturtium, for Conquest and Victory!
O – Oxeye Daisy, for Patience.
photo by Roger B.
P – Parsley, for Useful Knowledge.
photo by foxielicious.
Q – Queen of the Prairie, for a Farsighted Outlook.
R – Raggedy Robin, for Wit, and Rose (red and white), for Creative Force.
photo by audreyjm529.
S – Sunflower, for Good Luck, Wealth, and Ambition.
T – Tulip (pink), for Dreaminess.
photo by Allard1.
V – Valerian, for an Accommodating Disposition.
W – Wormwood : Do not be discouraged!
Y – Yarrow, to dispel melancholy and cure heartache.
photo by Tanaka Juuyoh.
Z – Zinnia (yellow), for Daily Remembrance.
*Since the business of writing and publishing is especially difficult these days, I’m adding another little treat: a solid color carnation, signifying the one word writers most long to hear: YES YES YES! For double good luck, I’m handing it over with my right hand ♥.
photo by abbietabbie.
Love’s language may be talked with these;
To work out choicest sentences
No blossoms can be meeter;
And, such being used in Eastern bowers,
Young maids may wonder if the flowers
Or meanings be the sweeter.
~ Elizabeth Barrett Browning
Certified authentic alphabetica, handmade especially for you with love and a bounty of blossoms.