Gardening – The gift of Spring

Now that a profusion of Spring flowers is available, making those typical Victorian small circular nosegays of flowers and herbs, called tussie mussies can be a fun activity.

The traditional tussie mussie, no more than 15cm in diameter, is composed of fragrant herbs surrounding a central flower.

Before you begin, go on a voyage of discovery to find the small garden treasures you have never noticed before, and then experiment by arranging the flowers and herbs in a rounded symmetrical shape.

If you don’t have a diversity of scented flowers and herbs in the garden, perhaps it is time to think about planting a selection – this would also bring beneficial insects into your garden.

Your selection of herbs could include lavender, rosemary, mint, lemon balm, sage, pineapple sage, southernwood, and wormwood, lemon verbena and Backhousia citriodoria (lemon myrtle).

Many tiny flowers are beautifully patterned and some useful flowers could include violets, marigolds, sweet peas, anise hyssop, calendulas, forget-me-knots, dandelions, roses, miniature chrysanthemums, heartsease, lavender, cornflowers, and manuka. Look for seasonal treasures such as berries and rosehips.

Large leaves for framing the outside of your bouquet might include the velvety peppermint and apple scented geraniums, or the sharp scent of rose and lemon scented pelargoniums. Ferny southernwood or wormwood, along with the velvety lamb’s ears, are all suitable.

Now you are ready to begin. Tip the flowers and leaves onto a table and sort for size and colour. Choose a larger flower for the centre – a rosebud, or marigold, cornflower or tiny cyclamen. Hold the central flower in one hand and twist the posy as you build up around the centre, keeping it tightly packed and at an even height. Keep the flowers dainty and a smaller size than the centre. Add the flowers and leaves until you reach the required size. To finish, while still holding the posy firmly, surround it with scented pelargonium leaves.

Use a rubber band to bind your bouquet together, then strip the lower leaves from the stems and cut the stalks to an even size. Now wrap in damp paper, or perhaps a tissue or paper towel. Trim with colourful handmade paper. Cut an x-shape in the centre of a paper doily and put the tussie mussie into the doily.  Tie with a decorative ribbon, and you have created an original Spring garden gift for a relative or friend.