The tussy mussy, a little floral bouquet with a funny name, is enjoying a surge in popularity today for a different reason than when it was first introduced over three centuries ago.
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During the English Gregorian period (1714--1760), pestilence was rampant and indoor plumbing was not. Elegant ladies would often carry small bouquets of fragrant herbs and flowers to fend off noxious odours. Also known as nosegays, tussy mussies remained popular through the Victorian era.
Tussy mussies came to be used as gifts, especially when a suitor would call on a young lady. Every flower had a meaning, and ladies referred to a book called the "Tussy Dictionary" to decipher the message.
A traditional Victorian style tussy mussy is arranged with a central flower surrounded by one or two rings of flowers in contrasting colours. The stems are tied with ribbon or held in an ornate silver cone-shaped holder, which is also commonly referred to as a tussy mussy.
Today, tussy mussies are still given as gifts, and they are a popular choice for bridesmaids' bouquets. Modern tussy mussies often deviate from the original round shape, but remain relatively small.
Many mourners left tussy mussy bouquets in memory of the late Princess Diana.
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