Posies and the History of the Language of Flowers
The posie or tussie-mussie has been a part of human experience forever it seems. In medieval Europe, tussies & posies were carried to ward off the plague, and were used in ceremonies, rituals, and milestones of daily life.
In 1716, Lady Mary Wortley Montagu resides in Constantinople while her husband serves as British Ambassador. In the book 'Turkish Embassy Letters', Lady Mary writes about Turkish society in the form of letters to her friends in London. In one letter, she describes her fascination with the Near East language of flowers. Said to have originated in the harems of the Ottoman Empire, the ladies pent up there found remedy in relaying 'secret code' messages to one another, as well as to the reigning Sultan.
In 1869, John Ingram explained the matter further to Victorian readers:
"The Turkish dialect, being rich in rhymes, presents a multitude of words corresponding in sound with the names of flowers, and the knowledge of the language consists of being acquainted with the proper thyme. He traced the origin of this floral system to 'the idleness of the harem' and 'the desire for amusement and variety which the ladies shut up there, without employment and culture must feel'."
In 1819, Charlotte de la Tour published 'le Langage des Fleurs'. The book had tremendous influence in both the United States and England, inspiring a multitude of sentimental language of flowers books. The Victorian Era was one of romantic zeal, and what could more perfectly express the age's language of love and passion than flowers?
A tussie-mussie or 'talking bouquet' or 'word posy' is a circular nosegay whose fragrant herbs and flowers carry a message in the Language of Flowers - love, sympathy, good luck, birthday, or a variety of other sentiments. With the desire to revive the passion and aura of a bygone era, The Bonny Doon Garden Company has created various modern yet traditional posies and tussies. These beautiful designs include keepsake containers & sentiment cards for the lucky recipient.