November 20, 2006

Tea in the garden

Drinking tea in the garden is a popular pasttime. Sara Midda, in the illustrated garden book In and Out of the Garden, writes

Tea In The Garden
to be taken at four, if the sun does shine - and the rain doesn't pour. Cucumber sandwiches sliced like a dream, brown boiled eggs then cowslip cream. Strawberry ice and fresh lemonade, pale china tea all out in the shade. And if there's room, do not forsake at least one slice of home made cake.

The garden is a place to drink tea and a place to grow plants for making tea. Ann Lovejoy and Allan Mandell in Tea Gardens suggest five tea garden styles: English, Japanese, herbal, cottage, and container.

An English tea garden for lavender and rose.

A Japanese tea garden (pine, bamboo and winter plum are recommended as garden plants, but not for making tea; in A Roomful of Hovings, John McPhee writes about the white pine needle tea he drank with Euell Gibbons on a foraging trip in Pennsylvania).

An herbal tea garden for sage and peppermint.

A cottage tea garden for chamomile and bee balm (bergamot).

A container garden for mint and lemon balm.

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