The Posy or Nosegay

Carrying flowers has been a tradition for centuries. What started off as a means to ward off disease and social odors has now become a floral accessory designed for special occasions.

The posy, tussie-mussie or nosegay, as this floral ornament is called, has a very interesting beginning. Just the name alone “nosegay” translates to: appealing to the nose or nostril. This miniature hand held bouquet made its unofficial debut in Medieval Times. This period was full of hardships, when bathing was not frequent, the washing of clothes was limited, social odors were extremely unpleasant and disease began to run rampant. The Black Plague made its first appearance during this Era and scents, flowers and herbs were thought to ward off disease.

Artist: Joris Hoefnagel 1542 – 1601

Posies began to be carried in one hand, pinned onto clothing or even worn atop the head. Today, we call these variations of the posy by their own distinct names such the corsage, boutonniere or hairpin. Most of us are familiar with the childhood song “Ring a Ring o’Roses”. This interactive playful nursery rhyme is in fact quite dreary. The song represents the role of the posy bouquet in warding off The Black Plague. “A ring” describes the rosy circular shaped rash that was a common symptom of the plague. “A pocket full of posies” is exactly that, the posy bouquets society carried to ward off the disease.

Artist: Thomas Webster (1800 – 1886)

It was not until the end of The Black Plague that posies or nosegays were given away as floral gifts. During the reign of Queen Victoria, the posy bouquet began to be referred to as a tussie-mussie. Used to relay secret messages with The Language of Flowers, tussie-mussies were a popular statement of the day. They also had become a trendy accessory for women to carry about. This tradition continues in modern times, although now it is reserved for only special events.

Edward Killingworth Johnson
 (British, 1825–1896)

Today, the posy remains a dainty floral accessory. The modern posy bouquets are traditionally made using a holder of some sort, most commonly a conical metal holder although it may be simply hand-tied and adorn with ribbon. These modern versions are popular choices amongst brides for their bridesmaids or flower girls. Carried as a beautiful addition, it may also be used as a ceremony or reception accent tied to a pew or chair back.

Choosing Your Wedding Day Flowers

Need a little a help choosing which blooms to use for your your big day? When it comes to bridal shopping for your florals there are many things you should take into consideration.

First and foremost is your budget. Choosing your florist, deciding on your color scheme along with a preferred over-all style is absolutely essential. After you’ve ironed out those first steps of your floral planning, you will need to research if your preferred flower choices will be in season when you tie the knot. Lastly, let’s not forget to take into consideration the venue. For example: An outdoor summer wedding will often times provide a natural backdrop of greenery. Often times these venue backgrounds (such as a vineyard) provide perfectly primped decor all on their very own. A venue will most always set an over all impression and dictate an atmosphere. The bonus to some of these locations is they are photo opt ready with very little need of flower enhancements.

Once you have taken all of these factors into consideration and are still unsure about flower choices, maybe look into Floriography. Floriography is The Language of Flowers, officially starting in the Victorian Period. Secret messages and exclamations of love could be specified through flower representation.

Here is a list of our top 10 Wedding Day Flowers that could best represent your union:

The Accidental Invention of Oasis Floral Foam

On July 22nd 1890, Vernon Lewis Smithers was born. Happy 129th Birthday to an amazingly innovative contributor to the floral industry. With his development of Floral Foam Oasis in the 1950’s, The Art of Floral Design changed indefinitely.

V. L. Smithers

Smithers was not a florist nor an artist of any kind, but rather a business owner and chief operator of his very own company V. L. Laboratories. In the 1930’s, this company was an independent testing laboratory for the tire and battery industry based in Akron, Ohio. An incredibly interesting chain of events, lead him into the floral business. V. L. Smithers owned and operated this company for almost two decades, in the early 1950’s opportunity knocked and he took a chance with a new “purposeless” product. Union Carbide along with one other company owned the molds and equipment for a new lightweight crushable foam. V. L. Laboratories was hired to perform testing for the product and soon after completion Union Carbide could find no feasible use for their new invention. That is when Vernon Lewis Smithers ceased his opportunity. Smithers with his strong desire to get into the manufacturing business took a chance, bought the molds and challenged himself to find a use for this new facsinating foam.

It was not until the following year that he found a purpose for this “useless” product. While admiring a floral arrangement he had gifted his wife, he began to ponder “if I could find a way to get water into foam, perhaps it would be used as a base for floral arrangements”. It was because of this very moment that Oasis Floral Foam was born. Smithers soon after established the first production facility in Kent, Ohio in 1953.

The new foam was quite the buzz within the industry, with fierce marketing by floral commentator: Mrs. Ethel “Tommy” Bright. Mrs. Bright would eventually become the official spokesperson for the new Oasis Floral Foam. Before the times of absorbent foam, florist secured their designs using a number of materials including chicken wire, cedar greens and newspaper. They would use these materials as filler at the bottom of containers. Flowers before this time would shift within the arrangements and ultimately could only last a day or two.

Floral foam has since advanced from its first introduction in 1954, even though the original 9″ x 4″ x 3″ block has virtually stayed the same. The original foam would take up to one hour to saturate, could not re-saturate and only lasted up to 5 days. Florists would often wrap the bricks with plastic in hopes of keeping the moisture inside the foam for longer periods of time. From the start, Oasis Floral Foam held up to 50x its weight in water, that still rings true today. The Floral Foam of the 21st Century will now saturate in one minute time. This new and improved version is now capable re-saturing while continuously allowing flowers to drink for the lifetime of the arrangement.

Oasis Floral Foam

With its first beginnings in 1953 and then being officially patented in 1954, this industry staple has been around for over 60 years!! Still selling their original products, Oasis Floral has advanced right alongside the floral industry or maybe vise versa. The original patented Oasis Floral Foam is now available in a multitude of shapes, sizes and colors. Let’s not forget… netted bouquet holders as well as the production of flattened foam sheets and bars that helped bring floral designing to a whole new level. As an industry professional, we pride ourselves because of these ingenious cutting-edge companies. It is because of innovative minds such as V. L. Smithers that we are able to provide our customers with state-of-art, elaborate, creative designs. As trade professionals we are equipped. To our customers we deliver excellence. As a direct result we proudly stand within this full circle where we find the ultimate customer satisfied guarantee.

The Iris

The Iris is not only a strikingly unique flower, but it also comes in a variety of shapes, colors and forms. Over 250 species to be exact.

A magnificently beautiful perennial, this bloom has a rich history and made it’s first real mark during Ancient Greece. Taking its name from the Greek word for Rainbow; The Iris also shares it’s name with the Greek Goddess of The Rainbow/ The Messenger of the Olympian Gods.

Here are some of our favorite facts about this distinctly original bloom:

• The Iris is the reason Magellan Gin is blue, the only real blue Gin on the market. This gorgeous little flower helps distilleries hit high floral notes and aromas for the popular liquor. Cheers! 🍸

• This bloom became linked to the French monarchy during the Middle Ages. It eventually became recognized as their national symbol, The Fleur-De-Lis. ⚜️

• In Ancient Egypt, Iris by-products such as Orris Root were thrown onto fires to create scents that would be pleasing to the gods. 🧝🏽‍♀️

• A depiction of an Iris flower is etched into The Great Sphinx of Giza. 🧝🏽‍♀️

• Today Iris essential oils are used for their antibacterial and pain killing abilities. It may also be used for a variety of ailments such as Halitosis, Inflammation, Anti-Fungal and Dry Skin. It is also a natural Antiseptic and used in many sedative medicines. 🧘🏻‍♀️

•The Purple Iris is the state flower of Tennessee and the Fleur-de-lis is the emblem for the city of New Orleans. Go Saints!! ⚜️

Who I am and what is it that I do??

Well (first and foremost) I am Owner of … A Floral Design Studio: The Floraltique. Here we’ve created a crafty little business specializing in wedding and event flowers where we always aim above the mark.

You’re probably wondering “Ok, another floral page blogging about techniques and arrangements.” But don’t you worry, that is not ALL of what we are.

As a flower enthusiast to the core, a history lover, an entrepreneur and a small business owner this blog will cover just about every aspect of the flower business, along with all the fun and creative tips and tricks.

Why tune in?

  • Because for one, everyday is a good day for flowers. Right?!
  • Because the deep history of flowers along with some useful pointers will help keep your blooms lasting longer and your gardens growing taller.
  • Because all aspects of small business is work. Hard work. It’s definitely worthy of a few words… to say the least.