Edible Gardening: The Tea Garden

Edible Gardening: The Tea Garden

tea gardenIn days gone by, tea was not just a beverage it was an event. Victorian tea or high tea was a time to pause, relax and enjoy a cup of tea, with little sandwiches and fancy desserts amongst friends. The tea was ceremoniously poured into fine china cups and sipped leisurely. The ambience, the visual delight, the aromas and delicate flavours were savoured and enjoyed as a simple pleasure. Things are different today and I am not suggesting we need to go back in time but we can include some of this simple pleasure in our gardens.

A garden filled with softly coloured flowers of aromatic herbs can be beautiful, functional and easy-to-care for. A tea garden is an edible garden. Anyone can grow a “tea garden” even in containers on their balcony or patio. A portable tea garden can be simply arranged by congregating a collection of pots beside a comfortable bench or bistro set to encourage one to sit, relax and enjoy the ambience, sights, and scents in this fragrant and edible garden.

lavenderIn an edible tea garden one could include: rose scented bee balm (bergamot), lemon balm (Melissa officinalis), borage, lavender, German chamomile, lemon verbena, anise-hyssop, rosemary, angelica, rugosa roses, lemon thyme, sage, pineapple sage, apple mint, spearmint, chocolate mint, peppermint, orange mint, variegate pineapple mint, and annuals such as Lemon Gem marigold, heartsease (viola tricolor), helitrope and scented geraniums. A garden filled with delicately flavoured herbs has limitless possible tea-blends one can create.

To dry tea herbs:
-harvest herbs for tea just before they reach their prime for best aroma and flavor. It is recommended you harvest young leaves before the flowers appear. Tie bundles of herbs and hang to dry in a warm, airy place out of direct sunlight for 24 to 48hours. Time will vary with the plants used as some dry quickly and others may take several days to dry completely. Herbs should be brittle when completely dried.

Storage of tea herbs:
-for best flavor store dried herbs whole. Do not break or crush them until they are actually used. Seal them in dark coloured airtight glass jars.

Making teas with herbs:
-use a clean teapot; doesn’t matter the colour of pot or the material it is made of. Infuse the herbs in a ratio of 1 teaspoon of dried herbs to six ounces of water. For fresh herbs add a couple of handfuls of gently rinsed leaves or flowers to a teapot and fill the pot with boiling water. Cover and allow herbs to infuse for three to ten minutes then strain into cups. Serve hot or cool down and serve over ice in tall glasses, garnished with fresh sprigs of the selected tea herb.

Contact Harmony Gardens Landscaping Inc. to design, develop and plant your Tea Garden.
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