Tussie Mussie : The Victorian Art of Expressing Yourself


PicMonkey Collage


Tussie Mussie, a nosegay or posie are small flower bouquets that were popularized in Victorian times.The term tussie-mussie comes from the reign of Queen Victoria (1837–1901), when the small bouquets became a popular fashion accessory. Typically, tussie-mussies include floral symbolism from the language of flowers, and therefore may be used to send a message to the recipient. (From Wikipedia)

A tussie mussie on pinterest

A tussie mussie on pinterest

First of all – the name! I love to say it and it sounds like something Beatrix Potter would have come up with.


Nosegay (Photo credit: outdoorPDK)

I first encountered Tussie Mussies at a Renaissance Faire many years ago and have created my own for years for gifts, and to decorate the house.  They are small and portable and are usually gathered into a posie holder which can be as ornate as silver or simple as a doily.

Tussie Mussie in a silver holder

Tussie Mussie in a silver holder

I love making them since you don’t need many flowers and each flower is a star of the arrangement as it is so small. I put mine in water in a special holder for small bouquets so it will last longer than one day. I like to make the small nosegay a little more free form than the traditional kind as that is the way that I arrange. I can’t seem to do tight and controlled!

A perfect container for a tussie mussie in water

A perfect container for a tussie mussie in water

These would make great hostess gifts instead of the obligatory wine bottle.  For weddings, tussie mussies are popular also, and can be given as bridesmaid gifts, or the bride could carry one for a simple elegant touch. A simple tussie mussie can also be set at each place setting at a dinner party.  Anyone can create one with a little practice. Follow the tutorial to make your own.

For my tussie mussie, I used ‘Centennial Spirit’ Hydrangea, Wheeler’s Red Honeysuckle, ‘Mellow YellowButterfly Weed, gold-tipped Juniper, Heliotrope, and Kent Beauty Oregano, an ornamental Oregano that I am in love with.


Choose your materials carefully, contrasting the colors and textures to create a beautiful combination. For larger flowers, such as hydrangeas, you can pare the flower down to a smaller more usable size. The hydrangea flower represents devotion which makes it a very appropriate flower for weddings.

Deconstruct larger flowers like this 'Centennial Spirit' Hydrangea

Deconstruct larger flowers like this ‘Centennial Spirit’ Hydrangea

For lots of picture of tussie mussies, go to http://pinterest.com/drue58/tussie-mussies-cones/. Here are two useful books to use when making tussie mussies.

Tussie-Mussies: The Victorian Art of Expressing Yourself in the Language of Flowers

Tussie-Mussies: The Language of Flowers

About thegardendiaries

Claire Jones is a landscape and floral designer and owner of Claire Jones Landscapes, LLC. She designs and helps people to create their own personal outdoor oasis and loves to write about her gardening failures and successes.
This entry was posted in Floral Arranging and tagged , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

6 Responses to Tussie Mussie : The Victorian Art of Expressing Yourself

  1. I love them too. I have several of those flower holders like the one pictured. Mine is green glass. Victorian is such a romantic style and I love it. Thanks for showing how to arrange them. .


  2. Linda T says:

    Love this one Claire. Thanks for bringing this to my attention.
    I look forward to creating my own Tussie Mussie!


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