|New "flush" of growth this week, while snow falls outside|
This week my tea plant greeted us with a bounty of pretty white blossoms, right in the thick of an early November snow shower. Like a tree growing in Brooklyn, this tea plant has continued to flourish despite being outside its native comfort growing zone. Some of its impressive progress is due to its heartiness, but most of the credit goes to the great care my husband, Chris has provided.
|Our new tea plant in 2010|
We started with a small tea plant back in the summer of 2010. (Camellia Sinensis: Tea Garden takes off in Michigan). Inspired by Angela Macke, of Light of Day teas, who grows tea at her farm in Traverse City, we planted our small sampling four years ago. We keep it in a planter for easy moving indoors when the temperatures start to dip. Usually, we house it up at Pemberly Pines, our up north cabin, but this fall we brought it to our home in southeast Michigan – and I’m so glad we did. We can see its progress daily instead of occasional weekends. It’s thriving in our living room window sill, in a location that gets full sun throughout the day – that is, when it’s not snowing.
According to Wikipedia, tea plants, if left alone can grow as tall as 52 feet, although most are trimmed waist-high for easier plucking. Not only is the plant cut back for convenience of harvesting, but the trimmed bushes produce an increase in new growth which results in more tender leaves and better quality teas. Only the top one to two inches of the plant are picked and the buds and leaves are called “flushes”. A plant can grow a new flush every seven to fifteen days during the growing season.
It may be a few more years before I get a yield big enough for a pot of tea, but in the meantime, it’s nice to have something tropical blossoming inside, as the snow piles up outside, while sipping a hot cup Earl Grey.