A Very Fragrant Letter
-By Debbi Decker
Valentine’s Day is close at hand. And while I normally write about the dark and spooky side of life, I thought I would take a small detour from the norm.
Did you know you can send a love letter using flowers? The younger Victorians did. Because of the many restrictions, rules and regs passed onto them by their elders, a young Victorian of courting age had to become pretty creative in order to get his or her message across. From the use of fans to flowers, they came up with various codes to express sentiments and to send messages.
I can just imagine the practice of fluttering a fan in modern times. Woman waves fan at man. Man gets excited and quickly tells his friend “Dude, she totally wants me”. Friend replies “No dude, its 90 degrees out. She’s probably having a heat stroke!”
Sadly, a woman using a fan to send a message has gone by the wayside. But, another practice is still alive and well, and that is the Tussie Mussie, or small groups of flowers wrapped in a doily and given to a loved one. A fragrant message of love and hope. For the most part. Some flowers were used solely for sending a message of rejection.
The Victorians assigned meanings to various flowers as well as gestures pertaining to the giving or receiving of those flowers. Passing a flower to another using a right hand signified “yes”, while using the left hand signified “no”. Tussie Mussies were given by young men to young girls they were interested in. If the flowers were held close to the heart, the feeling of affection was returned. If held downward, it meant rejection. I can only imagine how carefully a bouquet was constructed and with what high hopes and baited breath it was given.
Want to send a different sort of Valentine this year? Why not create a Tussie Mussie using the Victorian language of flowers. Have someone you want to give your heart to? Give them red Chrysanthemums and yellow Zinnias which mean daily remembrance and I love you. A gathering of Ferns, Forget Me Not and Gardenia mean fascination, true love, faithfulness and purity. A pot of Gardenias alone means purity, sweet love and you are lovely. You are only limited by your imagination and the availability of flowers at your local florist. Tell the recipient of your flowers that there is a special hidden meaning in the bouquet. Tell them the names of the flowers and what they mean or write them meaning of a card to give with your gift.
Googling the meaning of flowers will give you lots of information to work with. Be creative. Roses are wonderful but there’s a whole world of flowers out there. It will take a bit of planning and perhaps calling your local florists for the kinds of flowers available but worth the effort. And ladies, guys love to get flowers just as much as we do. They just don’t want that little secret out in the open!
Oh, and if you have someone in your life that you want to break away from, believe it or not, there are florists out there that specialize in sending dead flowers. Or you can always ask your florist for any flowers “past their prime”. They might look at you strangely, but I am sure they would accommodate you!
Debbi Decker is proprietor of Crazed Poppet Creations Art & Assemblage Emporium. Check out her artist page to find links to her shop and blog to read more of her writings. Visit again next month for the telling of hauntings and ghostly tales by Debbi Decker.