Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Wherin the Incompetent Gardener Discovers Tussy Mussies

Part of the idea of this blog was a place to put some earlier garden writing of mine. I thought it would be easy having a stock of older writing to publish along with new posts. What I've found is the earlier writing isn't very good, or at least needs editing. I'm so lazy. So I've just copied this post as is. Small bouquets are one of my joys this time of year. In the picture the flowers look bigger than they actually are. The idea is a bouquet a child might pick, with short stems, something to hold in a little hand.

The Incompetent Gardener Discovers Tussy Mussies

August 29, 2005

For some time I have thought it would be nice if people wore flowers more often; taking my advice only so far as to wear an occasional rosebud in my jacket lapel. Occasionally, because it's not so often in the summer I have occasion to wear a sports jacket. However today walking in the garden I paid attention to the wealth of floral material that would be nice to wear if only I could find a good way of wearing them. The solution I came up with is simple and effective.

On my dressing table I found a metal button from an old uniform. The embossing on the button is SFD and I haven't a clue what that stands for, but am happy to have a reason for making a story. Using a 24 inch length of Dacron fishing line folded in half, I threaded the two open ends through the tang of the button, securing the button by passing these ends through the loop made by the threads at the other end of the button tang. What I ended up with was a metal button in the middle and a right and left thread, a perfect arrangement to make the button in the middle spin to a cool effect. On each of these open ends I tied red beads.

Then into the garden I went. One of the first flowers that caught my eye were the blooms on my hens and chicks growing in the wall. The flowers on the succulent don't quite seem the ones I'd expect: small daisies that bloom along a flower stem. Most of the flowers have passed leaving the blossoms brown and gone to seed. I noticed one stem which still had a few open lowers at the top and pulled it out from the roots. Then I sought out a nice brown catnip bud. And snagged a sprig of Sweat Autumn Clematis. I love the strong smell of Calamint and snagged a little sprig of it. And taken with the beauty of the tiny pink flowers looked for some Catmint with their pretty blue but tiny flowers. The bouquet taking shape in my hand was pretty and smelled wonderful.

Soon I was looking all around my garden for suitable material for these diminutive bouquets. The number of choices astounded me. I liked the dark purple Viburnum fruit with the cream pearl Snowball bush fruit which looked splendid with the dark black seed cases of Baptisa. The dark browns of a spent Monarda blossom have a fur-like quality and the dark colors throughout the bouquet make for a dignified display to wear.

Once I had collected my bunch, I wrapped the two beaded ends of my button and string around the floral material, securing them by passing through the loop in the threads at the button and then drawing the bouquet tight. I'm wearing a polo shirt with four buttons. I threaded the beaded end of my string though the second button hole and pulled so the metal button met the button hole. Then I buttoned the shirt button and the one above it. Then I simply looped the strings over the third button making the beads dangle in bouquet. The whole arrangement was secure and yet simple to take off. What's important to visualize is that the bouquet is facing down relative to the way that it would be displayed in a vase. And as I sit at my desk as I write the bouquet is resting that way in my pencil cup.

There's a long tradition of making floral bouquets to wear. It seems the herbs that I choose made the bouquets resemble most the tussy mussies worn by Victorian women tied by a ribbon to the top of their gloved hand which they raised to their nose to mask the putrid urban odors that would offend their sensibilities. Wearing tussy mussies seems something that gentlemen and ladies of today would enjoy. Indeed that's preferred because it opens lines of communicating with the language of flowers. That there exist plenty of information regarding meanings attached to particular plants and flowers seems to allow for creating stories about any of the material you choose; that is of course if you are there to tell. Picking flowers is fun in itself, but there's particular pleasure in giving them. How nice to exchange. I look forward to making tussy mussies for myself and others. Wearing them could become a fad and then a custom, because I think we'd all agree that it would be nice to see people wearing flowers more often.

1 comment:

Amanda in GA said...

:) I agree! I love to wear flowers and I should make a point of doing it more often