Spring, Gardening, and Tea

Mar 20 2009

Much as we’ve engineered our world into consistency—on any day of the year, you can find tomatoes in the grocery store—our planet maintains its seasonal cycle. Our kitchens may keep the same color every month of the year, but we step outside in March to a changing world.

While the mornings are still chilly, the air has a warmth and vitality that we haven’t seen in months. After the long sleep of winter, Earth is taking its first wakening breaths.

And so my mind turns to my garden. I have two of them, really: front and back. The front garden is a simple patchwork of flower beds and healthy shrubs. The back garden is my canvas and my laboratory.

The crocuses have appeared, like shy girls at a dance, peeking up in ever-greater numbers. They are heralds of spring, and I’m craning my neck to see the rest of the season’s bright entourage. No such luck, yet.

But that’s okay, because my tea plant arrived today.

More accurately, my Camellia sinensis arrived from Camellia Forest Nursery today. Via UPS:

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I immediately unwrapped it and dug it into a pot that sits next to my back door:

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Camellia sinensis is the plant that all leaf teas are made from: green teas from fresh, steamed leaves; oolong teas from slightly browned leaves; and black teas from thoroughly browned and dried leaves.

While this single bush won’t provide me with enough tea to entirely satisfy my daily afternoon tea cravings, the plant is a whimsical and useful addition to my garden. And a great beginning to the season.

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