In a Vase on Monday: a Tussie Mussie and a Promise

A tussie-mussie or nosegay is a small posy, typically given as a gift and the concept has existed in some form since at least medieval times when they were carried or worn around the head or bodice.

When I picked the stems of my outdoor sweet peas, King George VI and Gwendoline (don’t they make a nice couple?), to form the basis of today’s vase, I was already thinking of it as a tussie mussie and adding alchemilla foliage and the fresh seedheads of a poppy that had seeded itself in the greenhouse just seemed to emphasise the traditional and old fashioned feel of it. As I snipped the sweet peas and thought how promising the cutting beds were looking and how important it was, especially with sweet peas, to keep cutting to prolong flowering, I determined in the absence of my usual pursuits to be pro-active and take little posies round to the people I would usually be seeing during the week.

Until I began to write this post and checked the definition I had forgotten that tussie mussies were originally given as gifts, so my plan was indeed serendipitous and I shall start with this very posy itself. As is often the case it looks better in real life than in the vase (Edinburgh Crystal cut glass) as the photographs do not suggest the balance of sweet pea colours that there definitely is; also, a couple of poppy heads that were overlooked were added later as well. The simple prop is a bow fashioned from a length of vintage lace.

Monday vases vary from simple posies to formal arrangements, in jam jars or cut glass, and there is pleasure to be had from any combination – and it doesn’t have to be flowers but could be foliage or twigs or all sorts of things that are not in a typical vase ‘box’. We would be delighted to share them all on IAVOM so please leave links to and from this post so we can see them too.

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38 Responses to In a Vase on Monday: a Tussie Mussie and a Promise

  1. Lucy Corrander says:

    Hello. I see many vases of flowers inspired by your carnival each week as I go round reading gardening blogs. I don’t often have a vase of flowers myself but just at present I do so I have posted about it at

    I’d never heard the term tussie-mussie before. The sweet peas are very pretty.

    • Cathy says:

      Hello Lucy – occasional contributors are just as welcome as regulars and it is lovely to have you with us today. This is the first year I have had real success with my outdoor sweet peas (better location) and I am thrilled with them

  2. the running wave says:

    The very name tussle-mussie is delightful, and so is your sweet collection of flowers today Cathy! I bet your posy smells lovely! I have opted out of flowers today, in favour of their next phase! Curious? Amanda

  3. Noelle M says:

    What a lovely little arrangement. I love the fresh green of the Alchemilla mollis, and of course the Ladies Mantle is beautifully adorned by the lace. It is such a lovely idea to share flowers around. Here is my vase today:

    • Cathy says:

      I tend to take alchemilla for granted and forget to use it in a vase, so was pleased to have remedied that for today. Two posies delivered today, so it’s a start!

  4. Pingback: @newgatenarcissi | Wild Daffodil

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  6. pbmgarden says:

    Loveliness! King George VI and Gwendoline do indeed make a great couple. The foliage lifts them up too. I love your use of poppy seedheads. Happy Monday, Cathy!

    • Cathy says:

      I had tolerated this poppy in the greenhouse for several weeks, Susie, but it was beginning to crowd out my indoor sweet peas so I pulled it out – there are 2 blooms and 2 buds of it in a vase on the kitchen table

  7. What a lovely idea to go around sharing gifting of flowers. I have an abundance of feverfew, and this is exactly what I could do with it. Thank you Cathy for this wonderful idea of generosity.

    • Cathy says:

      Well, this is just the start of the cutting beds’ abundance so as the season goes on there will be plenty of blooms to share

  8. Interesting how, even though the colours of the sweet peas are themselves engaging and pretty, it’s the addition of greenery that makes the arrangement pop. It’s a wonderful grouping of colour shape and texture. You’re going to make a lot of people smile today!

  9. Good morning. I have serious sweet pea envy. Mine are tall and strong with not a flower bud in sight. I love the concept of taking posies to friends.
    Here’s mine for today.

    • Cathy says:

      These were sown in early February, and admittedly they are in flower earlier than my outdoor sweet peas ever have been – and much healthier too!

  10. You are inspiring me to go Sweet Pea shopping! I love this and it made me remember when I grew poppies and kept the seed heads for winter arrangements. I know your friends are loving their tussie mussies. Thank you for hosting = here is my ode to June.

  11. tonytomeo says:

    I have not heard that term in a long time. We learned about them in school, back when I was studying floriculture. I believe that they were supposed to be fragrant.

  12. I’m all on board when it comes to sharing flowers. I expect all your recipients will be delighted! I’m afraid my IAVOM and Bloom Day posts are combined again today so it’s a long one:

    As always, thanks for hosting, Cathy!

  13. Anna says:

    Oh the recipients of your sweet smelling tussie- mussies will be delighted Cathy. Your ‘Gwendoline’ is definitely looking more pink now than when you first showed her here. She does indeed go well with her regal companion and the poppy heads are a great finishing touch. My vase is here :
    Well I hope she is here – Blogger has introduced a new editor so fingers crossed that I have copied the right link as it’s a bit vague 😄

    • Cathy says:

      Yes, I agree, Anna, I thought Gwendoline was definitely looking pinker – and there have indeed been two grateful recipients today! I wonder if it is just coincidence that WordPress is introducing a new editor too – but I am still using the vesion before last which I certainly find more user friendly than the last one

  14. Pingback: In A Vase on Monday – Mostly Blue | Eliza Waters

  15. Eliza Waters says:

    Very pretty, Cathy! I adore sweet peas (who doesn’t? 😉 )… and the poppy seed heads are a nice addition.
    My offering this week:

  16. Your sweet peas are gorgeous Cathy. So sweet and I bet the recipients were thrilled. My bunches are late to post but here nonetheless

    • Cathy says:

      The two I dropped off yesterday were indeed well-received Dorris and I am not entirely vaseless as I was unable to deliver a third – not quite sure (yet) of the addresses of some of the people I would like to deliver to!

  17. Pingback: In a Vase on Monday: Predominantly Purple | Words and Herbs

  18. Cathy says:

    I had never heard that expression before Cathy. I think giving posies away is a wonderful idea and you are fortunate to have so many lovely cutting flowers to be able to do that too. The poppy seedheads were a great addition to your sweet peas. 😃 Here is my vase for today:
    Thanks Cathy!

    • Cathy says:

      The cutting beds are barely starting, Cathy, and of course there are dahlias still to come, so there will be plenty to share as well as standing and staring at at!

  19. Chloris says:

    I love your tussie- mussie I am looking forward to pucking a bunch of my sweet peas. It won’t be long now.

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