Spring Abundance

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Posies of spring flowers were recently used to decorate the tables at Newstead community lunch.

As I made this drawing, I was reminded of the old tradition of making Tussie Mussies. These small bouquets of fragrant herbs and flowers have been used in various forms since Medieval times. Initially, tussie mussies were pinned to a person’s clothing or worn in the hair to mask body odour or unpleasant smells in the street.

In the 1800s, tussie mussies became popular as gifts, especially between lovers. The posy was a coded message where each flower had a special meaning as listed in the directories of flower meanings published during this period. Often the flowers were placed inside a doily or special cone shaped metal vase. As the flowers could have more than one meaning, it was prudent to accompany the tussie mussie with a card listing the intended meaning of the flowers.

This particular posy included:

cornflowers – delicacy or single blessedness

geranium – comfort

lavender – devotion, virtue or distrust

marigold – desire for riches or despair

pink rose – friendship, love, beauty or success.

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For me, these flowers symbolised the hope and abundance spring brings.

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10 Responses

  1. Margaret, this drawing is so pleasing and soothing. The soft colors and intention make for such a friendly message. How long does a piece like this take you? It is simply beautiful!

    • Thanks Lori, I am glad you appreciate the qualities of this drawing. It took me 2-3 hours hours to draw the picture spread over two days. It was a bit of a race against time as the flowers were withering fast by the second day.

  2. I love this, both the creation and the thought behind it. I remember my grandmother talking about and making tussie mussies. She always had one on her kitchen bench from her lovely abundant garden. Lovely colours and perfect for spring. I looked around at everything going mental in the garden and thought exactly the same thing as you did about the joy of spring 🙂

    • Hi Fran, The first flush of spring is over and the roses are now in full cry. I think there is a certain urgency for some plants at present as we have had some hot days with northerly winds. (Hello, hay fever!) There has been little rain so things are drying out fast. The paddocks are rapidly turning from green to yellow…..and it is not yet the middle of spring.

      • We have been warned that this is going to be a terrible bushfire year in Tassie. We have had some reasonable rain up here in the North but down South is dry and people are starting to worry. Note to self…”get that firebreak done soon”. Might even whipper snip the whole back paddock this year. Hard work but certainly minimises the risk. I don’t have to worry about our roses suffering from lack of water, they suffer from possum infestation WAY before they can suffer from summer ;).

  3. I do love reading about those delightful traditions. A coded flower message between lovers…how special. Lovely piece of artwork, Margaret. 🙂

    • Thank you, Jane. I appreciate your comment. I enjoyed creating this drawing.

  4. Lovely drawing Margaret showing the colours and abundance of Spring.

    I had never heard of a tussie mussie but have heard the term nose-gay (the link didn’t work when I clicked on it).

    • Grrr! It is soooo annoying when something doesn’t work when it should. I have delinked the link and relinked it. It was working when I previewed the changes and I now hope it will behave for you. If it doesn’t, the website address is:www.growingandusing herbs.com/tussie-mussie-tussy-mussy-nosegay.

      Despite the technical difficulties, I am glad you enjoyed the drawing.

      • It all works now, Margaret; thank you!

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