Make a Tussie Mussie Bouquet

A lovely, nostalgic floral treat, a well-designed tussie mussie using garden flowers and plants lets someone special know you care.

Photo By: Photo by Ben Rollins

Photo By: Photo by Ben Rollins

Photo By: Photo by Ben Rollins

Photo By: Photo by Ben Rollins

Photo By: Photo by Ben Rollins

Photo By: Photo by Ben Rollins

Photo By: Photo by Ben Rollins

Photo By: Photo by Ben Rollins

Photo By: Photo by Ben Rollins

Photo By: Photo by Ben Rollins

Photo By: Photo by Ben Rollins

Photo By: Photo by Ben Rollins

Photo By: Photo by Ben Rollins

Photo By: Photo by Ben Rollins

Photo By: Photo by Ben Rollins

Photo By: Photo by Ben Rollins

Photo By: Photo by Ben Rollins

Photo By: Photo by Ben Rollins

Photo By: Photo by Ben Rollins

Photo By: Photo by Ben Rollins

Photo By: Photo by Ben Rollins

Photo By: Photo by Ben Rollins

Photo By: Photo by Ben Rollins

Photo By: Photo by Ben Rollins

Photo By: Photo by Ben Rollins

Photo By: Photo by Ben Rollins

Tussie Mussie Bouquet

Tussie mussies are small arrangements of flowers, greenery and herbs could convey complex symbolic meaning according to the botanical elements used. Though tussie mussies have been around "since humans first picked flowers," says writer Geri Laufer, they were prominent enough to appear in 1440 in the first English-Latin dictionary. They were carried in the Victorian era by unmarried ladies in lieu of jewelry. These small, symbolic nosegays are filled with significance determined by the flowers you choose for the bouquet.

Tussie Mussie Expert Geri Laufer

Geri Laufer, quite literally, wrote the book on the tussie mussie, the charming floral bouquets once carried by proper Victorian ladies.

Tussie Mussie Supplies

To make a tussie mussie you will need: good quality, double-sided satin or fabric ribbon / a cotton glove / garden shears / scissors / elastic thread / extra large tapestry needles / 3-inch wide eyelet or lace trim / floral tape / a champagne flute or other vessel / a selection of flowers and greenery: sweetheart roses, miniature carnations, garden herbs, maidenhair fern, statice, English ivy and lavender all work nicely.

Choose Your Center Flowers

Select the flowers you want to appear in the center of your tussie mussie arrangement. We used compact, romantic sweetheart roses for the center of this tussie mussie.

Strip the Flowers

Strip the leaves from the long stems of your selected flowers.

Mound and Tape the Flowers

Arrange your selected flowers into a mounded form. Take floral tape and begin to tape the flowers together.

Select Your Greenery

Select greenery to frame your flowers. We selected sweet marjoram, which adds a delightful fragrance to the tussie mussie. Strip the herbs or greenery of their leaves. Sweet marjoram signifies joy. Learn the meaning of the flowers and greenery you have selected for your tussie mussie and share it with the recipient in a note.

Circle the Flowers

Place five sprigs of your greenery evenly around the flowers in your tussie mussie. Keep your flowers and the herbs at the same level.

Continue Wrapping

Firmly secure your herbs to your flowers by continuing to wrap floral tape around your bouquet.

Select the Next Ring of Flowers

Select five flowers in a contrasting color to frame and encircle your original flowers. We used pink miniature carnations.

Add Carnations

Strip leaves and buds from your five carnations and continue to arrange them evenly around your roses. Securely affix the carnations to the bouquet with floral tape.

Add Mint

Add another layer of herbs or greenery to your tussie mussie. We used mint, stripped it of its lower leaves (but keep the discarded leaves for a tabbouleh or chicken soup recommends Laufer). "Mint means warmth of feeling," says Laufer, which makes it the perfect addition to a tussie mussie meant for a sick friend, to welcome a new baby or to signal romance.

Wrap Mint

Continue wrapping floral tape around mint to affix it to the bouquet.

Add Statice

Statice placed evenly around your bouquet adds a lovely burst of color to the arrangement. Laufer recommends always using an odd number of blooms for your arrangement.

Add English Ivy

The wonderful thing about tussie mussies is, they don't require long-stemmed flowers and greenery. You can use flowers and plants from your garden, like this English ivy. Any large-leafed plant like this ivy makes the perfect frame for the bouquet. Make sure to always use unblemished leaves in your bouquet when selecting plants and flowers from your garden.

Finish With Floral Tape

Diagonally twist the floral tape around the bouquet until it is the length and width of your palm.

Clip Long Stems

Cut the stems of your flowers and plants so they are the same length as your palm and finishing tying the bouquet off with the floral tape.

Create Your Collar

To create a pretty collar for your tussie mussie take your 3-inch lace or eyelet and cut one yard.

Sew the Collar

Thread a short, big-eyed tapestry needle with your elastic thread, making the ends of the thread the same length. Create a running stitch along one edge of the lace, using big stitches 1/2 inch to 3/4 inch.

Tie in a Circle

Gather your threaded lace into a circle and tie the elastic thread, though not too tightly. You should be able to put a few fingers through the center of the collar's circle, or enough space to fit the stems of your bouquet.

Attach Your Lace Collar

Turn your tussie mussie upside down and slip the elastic lace collar over it.

Use a Glove for a Bouquet "Sock"

Cut a finger off of your white cotton glove.

Attach Your Bouquet Sock

"Pretend you are dressing your Barbie," laughs Laufer. Use the cotton glove to cover your stems: the sticky floral tape should help it adhere. This bouquet "sock" will help hold moisture around your stems.

Add a Ribbon

Choose a yard of coordinating ribbon to tie around your bouquet stem. Tie off the ends of the ribbon for a more polished look. Preserve your tussie mussie in a champagne flute or tea cup filled with water.

Finished Bouquet

Tussie mussies make the perfect token of affection, especially when their sentiment is magnified with fresh flowers and herbs from your own garden. They are a lovely gift for Valentine's Day, to welcome a new baby or to wish someone well.

The Possibilities Are Endless

Use your imagination—and what's at hand—to create a tussie mussie. This bouquet incorporates rosemary, a central red rose, miniature carnations, maidenhair fern and eucalyptus for a classic, elegant arrangement. Think about texture and contrast in your arrangement, mixing small-round leaf plants with spiky ones, or silver-toned colors with deeper greens.

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