If you are in Sydney then you’ll know it’s not gardening weather today, and while a lot of us would think every day is a tea drinking day, today is definitely a day when you want a warm up of tea in your hands. So how about growing your own?
I’ve purposely let the bought teas in my cupboard run low so that I’ll be forced to start drinking from my garden. It’s so easy when you are in the kitchen to just pull out a tea bag but it’s not that much harder to pick your own fresh. I just needed a little push and maybe you do too.
So what to grow? I grow mint and lemon verbena. These are great combined or separate. They can be picked fresh and used straight away or dried for later use but because they are so easy to grow I don’t bother drying. Mint likes plenty of water, can handle shade and runs away so grow it in a container where you’ll remember to water it or a spot where either you’ll remember to control it or don’t mind it taking over. Lemon verbena likes a drier sunnier spot and a good regular prune. I cut mine back regularly and if I don’t drink the leaves I pop the stems into vases.
Other good, easy choices for tea are lemon grass, mexican marigold (pictured above, another one that will take over if you don’t keep it under control), lemon balm, chamomile, fennel and roses. Other suggestions I’ve heard of but haven’t tried include rosemary, basil flowers and lavender.
If you really like your tea you can try growing camellia sinensis. This is the plant grown for black or green tea. You need to be a little patient as the plant needs to be a few years old before it’s ready to harvest but after that time you can pick off the young leaves and prepare them for the tea of your choice.