ISSUE 59  |  L'Amour

Bouquets for the Bath: Toss in a Tussie-Mussie

February 14, 2013 8:00 PM

BY Alexa Hotz

Spotted in the bath at Babylonstoren, an herbaceous tussie-mussie bouquet in a glass vase. What is a tussie-mussie, you ask?

The tussie-mussie is the modern posy, an heir to the 16th century nosegay carried or worn on the lapel as an early form of perfume. Tussie-mussies were said to carry hidden messages based upon the meaning of each plant in the posy—sage stood for “domestic virtue,” rosemary for “remembrance.”

Babylonstoren gardener Wendoline gathers small groupings of flowers and herbs from the tea garden (see Through the Looking Glass: Karen’s Tea House in Cape Winelands)—peppermint pelargonium, sage, yarrow flowers, and indigenous buchu leaves and wild dagga flowers. The herbs and flowers are selected for their natural oils, which are released after the posy is tossed into bath water. For those without access to South Africa’s native herbs, consider using lemon verbena, eucalyptus, tea tree flowers, and rose geranium.

Above: The fragrant tussie-mussie sits just above the bath at Babylonstoren.

Above: A grouping of native South American herbs and foliage, along with peppermint pelargonium.

Above: Babylonstoren recommends that guests toss the tussie-mussie into the bath.

(N.B.: This post is an update; the original story ran on May 25, 2012.)