Want to tell someone, “My heart is breaking due to your fickleness”? Just send them a tussie mussie containing deep red carnations and larkspur. So learned 14 members of Great Bend Garden Club during a program describing and illustrating the various ways flowers and other herbs and plants can be used as communication between people. In addition, nature has perfected a variety of ways flowers and plants communicate with lesser animals. Pam Martin, educator at the Kansas Wetlands Education Center in Barton County and dressed in Victorian attire, first shared how people of the Victorian era used tiny round bouquets of flowers and herbs called tussie mussies to send messages to others using commonly known meanings of the various flowers. For instance, a bouquet of asters, roses, sage and rosemary would mean, “I’m thinking about you with love as I remember your domestic virtue.”
Martin used as a reference for these humorous bouquet messages a book entitled, “The Language of Flowers,” written by Jean Marsh and illustrated by children’s author and illustrator Kate Greenaway.
The second “language of flowers” Martin referred to was the variety of symbiotic ways plants communicate with a variety of insects, beetles, bees and butterflies. They use color created by reflective light (yellow and orange speaks to hummingbirds and butterflies; white blossoms call bats to cacti at night), scent (skunk cabbage draws flies and butterflies), shape (bee balm lures a number of bee species), and sometimes even extreme methods (orchids entice and capture wasps). Nature’s purpose for this evolving two-way communication and interaction is the nectar nourishment the flowers provide and the pollination the animals provide.
During the club’s business meeting conducted by President Nancy Swafford, a May work day at the cemetery rose garden was announced by rose garden chairman Alice Young. Jeannine Girton announced a club field trip to visit the Larned Garden Club in May.
Delicious refreshments were served by Fern Tompkins. The next meeting of the Great Bend Garden Club will be at 10 a.m. in the Barton County Extension Office meeting room on March 16, with Becky Dudrey providing the program and Delores Grose as hostess.