Love finds a way to make itself known, whether through meaningful glances or discreet sighs. But nothing equals the eloquence of the cunning missives delivered through the Victorian language of flowers.
The use of a code pairing emotional messages with garden flowers inspired ardour and facilitated love affairs under the very noses of pursed-lipped chaperones. Flirtatious banter was elevated to high art with small bouquets, called posy-messages or tussie-mussies, containing articulated flower codes (see Flowers of note).
Why not revive this romantic style of communication? Here are some tips to compose your own meaningful bouquet.
Select stems that are 20 to 25 centimetres long. Remove lower foliage and stand them in a jar of tepid water. If one flower is central to the message (such as a pink rose, meaning romance), place it prominently in the middle of the bouquet. If the central message is represented by a small blossom, such as a violet, you may use a cluster.
Surround the central flower (or cluster) with blossoms or leaves representing additional sentiments. Bind each encircling layer with raffia. Small tussie-mussies may be bound only once, or each time a layer of flowers is added. Cut all the stems to the same length. For a traditional finish, use a paper lace doily to make a frill or holder, pulling stems through the centre. Keep your tussie-mussie fresh by standing it in a small vase filled with water.