What is a Posy and what is the Language of Flowers?

A traditional posy is a small round bouquet that conveys a message based on the language of flowers. The posy may contain as many flowers as a traditional bouquet, but the method of making them is to build a rounded bouquet with a repeated pattern and short stems. The bouquet is hand-tied and sits in a small round vase with the flowers flowing over the edge. While I do make traditional posies, I also cater to the flower market by creating larger bouquet-type posies. 

collage of posies
Above, a collage of posies I made and sold at the Original Navan Market in 2021.

The messages come from the "language of flowers." In most cultures around the world, trees, shrubs, flowers and herbs, have a special significance in terms of healing on a physical, psychological or spiritual level. The language of flowers has been around for thousands of years in older cultures: The Far East, the Middle East, Africa, Asia, Central and South American. Indigenous peoples around the world were, and in many cases still are, very familiar with the healing properties of the plants they live with and some of this includes healing on a psychological and spiritual level.

In England and Europe, giving a posy to someone to convey a message became popular in the Victorian Era (1820-1914), but posies or nosegays as they were often called were certainly being used in the Middle Ages, sometimes to ward off disease or evil spirits.*

I lived in Africa and the Americas and travelled through Asia when I was in my 20s. I was always fascinated by the local use of plants, for food, medicine and spiritual healing. In particular, I was fascinated by local village women's knowledge of the plants that surrounded them and their use of those plants for their families nutritional and health needs.

I promised myself then, that when I returned to Canada I would have a small farm and grow healing plants, shrubs and trees, and that I would write about what I saw travelling.

I raised my three sons on a wonderful farm and we grew lots of plants. I ran a small business called, Herbs for All Seasons, for over 10 years. After a difficult divorce, the business was closed and I went back to school at 45 to get my Masters. The writing began.

I wrote a thesis on Indigenous women's role in preserving their knowledge of local plants and in doing so, how they were also preserving biodiversity. I drew from my experiences in Africa and Latin America.

15 years forward and I am still growing herbs, flowers, shrubs and trees that nurture the earth and my family. 

As one gets older, I think we are drawn to the spirit of all living things that surround us. The flowers, herbs, shrubs and trees that I grow certainly give me more than just physical beauty. They nurture my soul, heal my body and send me messages everyday!

I want to share those messages with you. Just to brighten your day, or the day of someone you love and care for. Whether it is a sympathy posy, a love posy or a birthday or congratulatory posy, there are plenty of flowers that will comfort and celebrate with you! 

* Reference: "The Posy Book," by Teresa H. Sabankaya. 2019. pg. 22


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