Camellia sinensis is the plant you want for growing traditional tea leaves. Dried mature leaves produce black tea; young leaves yield a less acidic brew known as white tea. Allow plants to reach 3 to 5 feet before picking leaves, which you can do twice a year. Prune plants when they’re young to cause branching, which gives you more stems to harvest. Plants are winter hardy in Zones 8-10. Grow them in pots in other zones. Feed tea plants lightly—only in spring.
Mint tea is good for what ails you, and it whips up in a jiffy. Steep fresh (bruised) or dried leaves in hot water for a pure cup of natural goodness. Mint tea is a go-to cure for an upset stomach, indigestion, gas pain or cramping. Sip it warm and inhale the menthol aroma to help alleviate a stuffy nose, or drink it chilled for a refreshing cool drink.
Keep an assortment of different herbal teas easily accessible and neatly stored by placing them inside of antique pewter mugs and goblets. The aged texture of the vessels adds to the warm feeling of a cozy autumn afternoon.
Make waking up much more enjoyable with a tea lover's basket. Add a full set of tea cups (or just one) along with gourmet ingredients and tea bags to a classic basket. For a more polished presentation, showcase the ingredients in Mason jars or small canisters.
The classic corsage flower, gardenia delivers fragrance—and ‘Sweet Tea’ is no exception. Pure white, tennis ball-size blooms contrast beautifully with waxy, deep green leaves. Plants grow 3 to 5 feet tall and wide, with a strong upright shape. The secret to a happy gardenia in the landscape is thick mulch, no soil disturbance (roots like to be left alone) and monthly feeding with an acid fertilizer, blood meal or fish emulsion. Grow ‘Sweet Tea’ as a hedge, or tuck it in a pot you can place beside your favorite outdoor seat to keep the perfume close at hand. Hardy in Zones 7 to 10.
Make an old-fashioned cuppa by steeping apple peels in boiling water. For one cup of tea, add a cinnamon stick, a few cloves and, if you want a little zing, the zest of one lemon to 8 ounces of boiling water. Steep 10 minutes. Sweeten with honey or your favorite sweetener. This is a delicious cup of tea that’s rich in nutrients, thanks to the peel’s Vitamins A, K and C (peels contain half an apple’s Vitamin C content), folate and quercetin (helpful in lung and brain function). Vary the spices to shift the flavor to hit other notes, like exotic five-spice, allspice or pumpkin pie spice.
Bring a festive touch to your tabletop or kitchen with a snowflake tea towel. Add white thread to a needle and mark a snowflake silhouette to the fabric using a marker or chalk, then use the needle to secure the buttons directly along the traced silhouette.
A reblooming gardenia keeps the fragrant flowers coming through spring and summer. First Editions Sweet Tea gardenia (Gardenia jasminoides ‘PIIGA-II’) unfurls tennis ball size double blooms on plants that grow 3 to 5 feet tall and wide. Site plants in full sun to part shade. This gardenia makes a nice hedge or specimen shrub. Place it near outdoor seating areas so you can enjoy the fragrance. Hardy in Zones 7-9.
Instead of running out and buying decorative objects to intersperse with your serving ware, use heirloom silver and pewter sets for graphic shape, antique metallic finishes and a warm sense of history.
This whimsical tea kettle playhouse is the perfect space for kids to escape and have a magical tea party. An outdoor bistro table with chairs complete with tea set sparks creativity and imagination. Flower shaped lights and landscaping insets coordinate well with the natural landscape and flowers in this backyard setting.
You don’t have to leave your home to have a resort-style weekend. Find a pineapple inspired wine or cocktail glass and pour your favorite sweet tea-inspired cocktail to enjoy some much-deserved downtime and make your home your resort. Be sure to pick various tea flavors such as strawberry, peach, or lemon for variety.