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Literary Calligraphy by Susan Loy
Book Cover Tussie-mussies: Meaningful Gifts
Using the Language of Flowers

Use the tradition of associating flowers with meanings, the Language of Flowers, to personalize your gifts. You can select gifts that incorporate your chosen flower or create your own gifts, thoughtfully choosing the flowers and meanings most appropriate for the individual. Tussie-mussies, potpourris, and sachets, using the Language of Flowers are unique and thoughtful gifts. Include a card, explaining the significance of each flower.

A tussie-mussie is a small, tight bouquet of aromatic herbs, leaves, and flowers, often arranged in a doily, and tied with a ribbon; each plant is thoughtfully selected because of it's meaning in the Language of Flowers. These little bouquets make meaningful gifts for brides, departing friends, new friends, bridal and baby showers, and for holidays like Mother's Day, Valentine's Day, birthdays and anniversaries.

First you'll need a good Language of Flowers dictionary. Susan Loy's Flowers, the Angelsí Alphabet: the Language and Poetry of Flowers provides the most comprehensive flower dictionary available with a list of 1,400 flowers and their meaning in the Victorian Language of Flowers.

This 224-page, hard-cover book with dust jacket includes 28 color illustrations by Susan Loy. Autographed copies are available for the same retail price of $31.95, at, or by calling 1-800-263-6125 (M-F, 8 am to 5 pm EST). The book is available at and at book stores nationwide.

Flowers, the Angels' Alphabet: the Language and Poetry of Flowerswas recently chosen as one of the "top ten books of the year" by Independent Publishers and as winner of Benjamin Franklin awards in two categories - gardening and reference. To order a copy of Flowers, the Angels' Alphabet: the Language and Poetry of Flowers, click here.

Use the dictionary to choose which flowers to feature in the tussie-mussie. There are more than 1,400 flowers in Susan Loy's dictionary as well as a corresponding dictionary of 1,500 meanings and their associated flowers. Some of the most popular flowers, appropriate for tussie-mussies, and their meanings are:

angelica: inspiration, magic
artemisia: happiness
aster: cheerfulness in old age
bridal rose (Rubus rosafolius): happy love
camellia: unpretending excellence
carnation: lively and pure affection, pride and beauty, or pure love
chrysanthemum: cheerfulness under adversity
chamomile: energy under adversity
cinquefoil: maternal or parental love
clover: provident
clover, white: lightheartedness, think of me
coreopsis: always cheerful
coriander: hidden worth
corn flower: delicacy, single blessedness
daffodil: regard
daisy: innocence, innocence and beauty
eternal flower: eternity
everlasting: always remembered
fennel: strength, worthy of praise
fern: magic, sincerity
fir or pine: philosophy, time
geranium, ivy-leaved: bridal favor
geranium, lemon-scented: serenity, tranquility
geranium, oak-leaved: true friendship
geranium, scarlet: comfort, consolation
gladiolus: strength of character
globe amaranth: immortality
golden rod: encouragement
honeysuckle: bonds of love, generous and devoted affection, fidelity
ivy: fidelity, friendship, marriage, wedded love
jasmine: amiability
juniper, juniper berries: protection
laurel, bay: honor, reward of merit
lavender: acknowledgement
lilac: first emotions of love
lily: majesty, purity, purity and sweetness
lily of the valley: return of happiness
magnolia: love of nature
marjoram: blushes
mint: virtue
mistletoe: I surmount all obstacles
mock orange: fraternal affection, memory
monarda: I value your sympathy
myrtle: love
nasturtium: heroism, patriotism
oak leaf: bravery
orange flowers: bridal festivity
orchid: a belle
pansy: thoughts
peppermint: cordiality, warmth of feeling
poppy: consolation, evanescent pleasure
rose: beauty, love
rosebud: pure and lovely
rosemary: remembrance
sage: domestic virtue, esteem
salvia: wisdom
snowdrop: hope
spearmint: warmth of sentiment
spruce: hope in adversity
sunflower: lofty thoughts
sweet sultan: happiness
tulip: declaration of love
thyme: activity, courage
tulip, red: declaration of love
verbena, pink: family union
veronica: fidelity
violet: faith
wheat: prosperity
white carnation: talent
woodbine: fraternal love
yarrow: cure, health
zinnia: thoughts of absent friends

Tussie-mussies stay fresh for several days if placed in a vase, or they can be made with flowers and herbs suitable for drying.

To make a tussie-mussie, put your chosen flower sprigs in water, wash and trim them. Begin with the center flower or main sentiment, often a rose for love, or two roses for a wedding or anniversary, surrounded by fragrant foliage like mint for virtue. Next add a contrasting ring such as yarrow for health, followed by little bunches of plants, like blue salvia for wisdom, juniper for protection, lavender for acknowledgement, rosemary for remembrance, and thyme for courage, placed around the bouquet and surrounded by one or more rings of foliage such as ivy for friendship or marriage.

Some writers recommend stripping the lower leaves and wrapping with florist's tape, other crush them together while wrapping the stems, providing more fragrance. If the bouquet will be carried, put a wad of moist cotton or paper towel in the center of a piece of plastic wrap, then fold it around the stems before wrapping with florist's tape. If the tussie-mussie is to be dried do not return it to water. Tie the bouquet firmly with one or more colorful ribbons, which you may have soaked in lavender or rose water and dried. Tussie-mussies are often set in paper doilies. Cut an X in the middle of the doily, and put the stems through the hole. Include a card explaining the meaning in the Langage of Flowers.

Create a BOUQUET OF GOOD WISHES with artemesia for happiness, basil for good wishes, carnation for lively and pure affection, mint for virtue, rose for love, wheat for prosperity, and yarrow for health.

You can make a CHRISTMAS TUSSIE-MUSSIE, using fir for faith, holly for foresight, ivy for friendship, juniper and juniper berries for protection, yarrow for health, red roses for love and/or red carnations for lively and pure affection.

Focus on FRIENDSHIIP with ivy for lasting friendship, oak-leaved geranium for true friendship, and zinnia for thoughts of absent friends, as well as roses for love and carnations for lively and pure affection.

A tussie-mussie expressing LOVE might include a selection of: cabbage rose for ambassador of love, everlasting for always remembered, honeysuckle for generous and devoted affection, lilac for first emotions of love, rose for love, red tulip for declaration of love.

A BRIDAL TUSSIE-MUSSIE might feature the bridal rose (Rubus rosafolius) for happy love, rose for love, red tulip for declaration of love, or lilac for first emotions of love and include orange flowers for bridal festivity, ivy for wedded love, honeysuckle for generous and devoted affection, rosemary for remembrance, and veronica for fidelity.

You can create a unique and personal tussie-mussie for the recipient, choosing flowers that suit the individual. Feature their favorite flowers or their birth-month flower. Express your love, esteem, or good wishes for the recipient, while giving a lovely and fragrant gift.

You can order autographed, first edition copies of Flowers, the Angels' Alphabet now at our secure cart!   order online button
    Use this award winning book to:
  • choose wedding flowers;
  • create flower arrangements, dried flower arrangements, or tussie-mussies;  or
  • design other theme gardens such as a memorial garden, a friendship garden, or meditation garden.
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