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Tussie-Mussies: A Victorian Language of Flowers Workshop

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Tussie-Mussies: A Victorian Language of Flowers Workshop

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Evening Studio Arts Course

Tuesday, February 14, 2017 - 6:30 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. ET
Code: 1L0152
S. Dillon Ripley Center
1100 Jefferson Dr SW
Metro: Smithsonian (Mall exit)
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“A flower is not a flower alone; a thousand thoughts invest it.”

—Mandy Kirkby, A Victorian Flower Dictionary 

Everyone knows that a gift of red roses is an expression of romantic love. But did you also know that daisies express innocence, ivy conveys fidelity, or that rosemary signifies remembrance?

People have long invested flowers, herbs, and other plants with symbolic meanings. In the 19th century, small “talking bouquets” called tussie-mussies became a way for straight-laced Victorians to send each other secret coded messages that they might not dare to speak aloud.

So popular was the pastime that an entire language of flowers, known as floriography, developed, and hundreds of floral dictionaries were published to help create and decode the hidden—often amorous—messages. The emoticons of the Victorian era, tussie-mussies were created with great care so that their meaning was accurately expressed. Not only did a certain flower have significance, but colors also expressed variations in intent or emotions

Celebrate Valentine’s Day and learn more about the elegant language of flowers with floral designer Sarah Von Polllaro. Modern-day romantics create a one-of-a-kind tussie-mussie to send a special message to a loved one (or perhaps someone you’d like to know better) as they enjoy champagne, strawberries, and sweet treats. 

Von Pollaro, owner of Urban Petals Floral Design and SVP Flowers, has been called “the Julia Child of flowers.” She demystifies the art of floral design so that anyone on any budget can experience the joy of creating and living with flowers.

No experience is necessary, and all supplies are included.

One 1.5 hour session 


America's Gilded Age