Flower posies


Make a simple bouquet of flowers and herbs to convey a message. Historically these were called tussie mussies.

  • Estimated time: 30 minutes
  • Location: Indoors
  • School term: Late Spring, Early Summer, Late Summer
  • Level of experience: No experience needed
  • Subject(s): English, Art&DT, History

Learning objectives

  • Make a simple bouquet with a range of flowers
  • Learn the hidden meanings of flowers that were popular in Victorian times

Essential background information


Collect a range of flowers and herbs.

If not available, have access to old magazines or catalogues for pupils to cut and paste photos of flowers. 

Research online for flowers and their meanings.


  • Range of flowers and herbs (or garden magazines and seed catalogues)
  • Scissors
  • Doilies
  • Ribbon or raffia

Step by step


During the 1700s in England, people liked to send messages to their friends by means of small bunches of flowers and herbs called ‘tussie mussies’. This was called ‘floriography’, with different flowers and herbs representing different feelings. By the nineteenth century, there were even floral dictionaries, and mothers taught their daughters the language of flowers. A tussie mussie became a way to say things that people were too shy to say out loud.

  1. Explain to your group how flowers have been used for hundreds of years to show love to one another.
  2. Look at the list of flowers and their meanings.
  3. Ask the group to design their own bouquet by choosing from the flowers and herbs.
  4. Gather about five stems of flowers and herbs together.
  5. Wrap a doily around the flowers and tie together with ribbon or raffia.
  6. Ask each other to guess the meaning of the posy.

Hints & tips

  • Flowers have become symbols for other important events such as the poppy for remembrance. Why not research other flower symbols?
  • Use this activity as part of Flower Power class growing topic.