Summer may be right around the corner, but the cool mornings of spring still call for a nice warm cup of tea. Wouldn't it be great to step outside your backdoor and harvest your own tea leaves or herbs to make your own special drink? You can do it if you have the right plants. We stopped by Portland Nursery (503-231- 5050) on Stark to visit with Laura and learn which plants you can put in your garden to make that happen.
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Laura showed us a couple of her favorite plants. The first was Monarda also called Bee Balm. This variety was 'Marshal's Delight'. This one has a nice taste and a wonderful smell if you just rub it. Plus it is a great plant in your garden with pinkish or red flowers that hummingbirds love. You can harvest the flowers, stems or leaves to make your tea. Other plants, like the Chamomile, you would just focus on the flowers.
You will want to make sure that the flowers or leaves dry evenly before you use them to prepare a tea. Another great plant was mint. This one is very popular for stomach problems or as a revitalizing tea. Be careful to plant this one in a pot or container, it can get out of hand if put in the regular garden.
Finally we saw the plant that is the basis for most teas in the world, the Camellia sinensis (this variety was 'Sochi'). Green tea, black tea and white tea all come from this plant. The only difference is when the leaves are harvested and prepared. If you are interested in trying to grow your own tea you can stop by either location of Portland Nursery and they can help you get started. You can also download this great list of herbs to make your own 'tea pots'. .
(Originally aired on GardenTime TV. See the GardenTime web site for more videos and information about the show)
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