Nosegays are small bouquets, usually arranged in a round, rather than cascading, shape and made with flowers chosen in large part for their fragrance. Types of flowers commonly used are Roses, Calla lilies, Violets, Daisies, and a touch of Baby’s Breath as filler/accent. (In Victorian times nosegays were triangular, made of roses, hydrangeas, pansies, and baby’s breath, and included a lace doily and a colorful ribbon tied around the stems.) Sometimes fragrant herbs are also used. A close relative of the nosegay was the tussie mussie, made of different flowers to convey the right message to a lover (pink camellias to mean “longing for you,” red tulips as a “declaration of love,” chrysanthemums for “fidelity,” etc.).
Women carried nosegays in Victorian days in part because the miracle of indoor plumbing and modern sewer systems hadn’t quite become mainstream, garbage disposals consisted of strong arms tossing buckets of kitchen scraps such as potato peelings out the window on the streets below, and bathing was not quite as commonplace as it is today. The nosegay was a quick spot of relief from the mingling of these odors as one walked those streets, especially in the heat of Summer. (Men would wear corsages in their buttonholes for much the same reason.) While we don’t have quite that need these days, a quick sniff of a nosegay filled with tea leaves could be very handy (example: blocking heavy perfumes and colognes some co-workers wear).
So, how do you make such a nosegay from tea? Step one is to change the basic structure from a bunch of flowers to more of a “sachet on a stick.” The sachet will be filled with fragrant, unsteeped tea leaves.
Select what tea(s) and/or herbal(s) to use. Some to consider (no special meanings, just fragrances):
- Tie Kuan Yin Iron Goddess Oolong — fresh, planty, but also fruity sweetness
- Tarajulie Estate Assam — rich, malty, earthy, mushroomy
- Mercedes Apple Spice Herbal — apple, cinnamon, cloves
- Japanese Sencha Kyoto Cherry Tea — cherry with slight grassiness
- Bingo Blueberry Herbal — blueberry mostly
- Bohemian Raspberry Green Tea — strong raspberry with pleasant grassiness
- Nine Bend Black Dragon Tea — earthy, woodsy
- Monk’s Blend Black Tea — fruity (pomegranate is very evident), vanilla is very subtle
- Chai Green Tea — planty with notes of coriander and cardamom
Find something appropriate to use as the “stick” (it doesn’t have to be an actual stick). Options are plastic spoons, round sticks from a craft store (6” to 8” long), or whatever you find.
Dig up a small piece of gauze, muslin, lace, satin, silk, or a similar material. The main thing is that it be sufficiently tightly woven to keep the tea leaf pieces in the nosegay yet loose enough to let the aromas come through. The piece should be a circle about 5” to 6” in diameter. You don’t want it to be too big. Or heavy. Put the tea/herbal leaves in the center of the circle, add the “handle” about an inch into the circle, fold the cloth up around the tea/herbal and the handle, tie it up with a nice piece of ribbon, and voilà!
Dry tea leaves are also used these days for such things as aroma-therapeutic pillows and potpourri. Lots of options. One thing to note is that all of these will have the fragrance fade over time. When not using your nosegay, keep it in a plastic bag.