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tussiemussie1On the whole, I’m a pretty rugged sort of person. A disproportionate amount of my gardening time seems to be spent hammering scaffold boards together, or powering my way through waist high weeds at the business end of a petrol strimmer, or hauling improbably deep tree roots out of pits in the ground.

But the anti-bramble gauntlets, steel toecapped boots and safety helmet hide a more delicate soul. The soul of a person who likes tussie-mussies.

I love the word tussie-mussie. I always think of it as an Americanism: their version of our more prosaic nosegay (bit prim, that) or posy. But the Americans came to tussie-mussies late, around two centuries late in fact, when New England ladies took to carrying them on their way to church. The word was first coined in 15th century England, long before we even knew there was an America (there is an excellent rundown of its meanings, including one rather surprising one I won’t mention here as it’s a family-friendly blog, here). [read more…]