Sunday, 28 June 2009

Check out your bouquet

The language of flowers

At the beginning of their June meeting, Old Buckenham WI held a minute’s silence in memory of Rosemary Leeder who died recently. She had been a stalwart and loyal member of the WI for many years, being a long-standing committee member and supporter of many activities. She will be much missed.
As was fitting on a warm and sunny evening, members were initiated into the gentle Victorian art of ‘The Language of Flowers’ by Lyn Barrow. Lyn appeared dressed for the part with a nosegay and a tussy-mussy. She told of the popularity of flowers and their ‘language’ for the Victorians. All cultured young ladies of this time studied botany and the choice of flowers when carried as a nosegay very often conveyed a message in the choice of blooms used. Victorian ladies carried flowers on every possible occasion and tussy-mussies were used as fragrant air-fresheners, often very necessary. Tussy-mussies are very small, dainty posies, sometimes made of fragrant herbs, packed in damp moss and held in a small cone-shaped holder for pinning on a dress. They could also be sewn into special pockets made in crinoline petticoats. These made a pleasant scent as ladies brushed past in their voluminous skirts. Ladies’ maids learnt the art of making tussy-mussies for their mistresses and also learnt what the flowers ‘said’ for the nosegays they made. Carnations seem to have been the trickiest to learn about as the varied colours sent quite different messages. Pink said ‘I’ll never forget you’, white was ‘sweet and lovely’ but yellow said ‘you have disappointed me’. Woe betide the maid who got her colours mixed up. Everyone was given a sheet with a list of the flowers and their meanings to look at so there won’t be any birthday posies with gladioli in; these mean ‘give me a break’. Mary Nicholls thanked Lyn for her talk and demonstration.
Susan Hunter gave a lively and interesting report as she had been the delegate at the 94th AGM in the Albert Hall which was so obviously a rewarding, thought provoking and entertaining, occasion.
Recent dates in the local WI calendar have been the garden party held in Susan Hunter’s garden which raised £258 for funds. Having accepted the Federation Chairman’s Challenge to increase £5, this became £36 when a delicious cake made by Jean Wade was raffled. There is the Progressive Supper to look forward to and a visit to Thursford at the end of November – it seems a long way off but tickets are precious for this annual outing.

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