Learn how to make a tussie mussie as a gift to bring pleasure and comfort.

A tussie mussie is a posy or small bunch of sweet scented herbs and flowers. People usually create it as a gift for somebody.

It has its origins in ancient times when people carried fragrant herbs to overcome bad smells in public places.

In medieval times during the danger of the various forms of plague, upper class people would carry sweet smelling herbs under their noses or keep a posy tucked into their clothing. This is why we had “a pocketful of posies”. The thinking was that the herbs worked against “the evil air” where they believed the pathogen lived.

The flowers also helped to overcome the strongly unpleasant smells of sewage on the streets.

During Victorian times these nosegays became very popular and the art of Floriography was developed. This means that messages were sent through the choice of flowers in the posy. So a rose became a symbol of love; lilies showed purity; hydrangea stood for devotion, but a yellow carnation meant rejection. Rosemary meant remembrance; sage wished good health; parsley stood for festivity.

Over the decades the associations with the flowers have changed, and different cultures give their own meanings to the same species.

It would be fun to think up the meaning of some of our popular indigenous flowers. There are many different types of protea and the flower is said to have been named after the Greek god Proteus, who could change himself into many different forms. So if you gave someone a protea would it mean that you think they are changeable? Erica belongs to the heather family and it stands for good luck, admiration and protection.  We have many indigenous gladioli and apparently they mean strength.

But putting some khakibos in a little bouquet might not send a positive message, even though it is part of the marigold family!

You Will Need

  • Flower(s) and herbs with stems
  • Doily
  • Rubber bands /string/ floral tape
  • Ribbon
  • Scissors
  • Gift card


Hold the flower for the centre and add your herbs and other flowers (if you are using them) gradually until they surround the central flower.

how to make a tussie mussie
Wrap the herbs around the central flower.

Surround the bunch with two or three larger leaves and tie it all together with tape, string or an elastic band.

how to make a tussie mussie
Tie the finished bunch with string.

Wrap it in the doily and tie the ribbon around it. You may attach a card explaining the meaning of the various plants.

how to make a tussie mussie
Wrap the doily around the posy and tie with a ribbon.

Whoever you give it to can then put it in water in a vase or glass jar. It should last for a few days and then they can use the herbs in the cooking.

Herbs used: Rosemary (remembrance), Comfrey (grow together), Lucerne (reliability), Chives (usefulness), Basil (good wishes), Raspberry (kindness), 2 types of Lavender (serenity).

Flower: Hydrangea (devotion).

how to make a tussie mussie
Give it with love.

For more on using your produce click here.

To receive all our notices and each edition of SA Smallholder register here.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *