Tea Blends & Gardening


Chamomile from The Hill Garden

Have you ever thought about planning a garden for tea? Common in Europe and growing in the United States, Tea Gardens are becoming a staple for many growers and gardeners alike. Ingredients such as Eggs, Sugar, and Flour are all common items for the average kitchen, but what about Anise Hyssop, Chamomile, and Sage, are these flowers staple plants for your garden?

I have been growing plants my entire life - ever since I can remember, I was outside with my family, playing in the dirt, or climbing a tree, or helping a worm crawl back into the Earth. Two things that I have learned about being a gardener is that:

  1. Plants need to have a purpose; whether you are growing for feeding the birds and bees, growing for your own fresh produce, or simply to enjoy the pretty flowers, plants need to planted with intention.
  2. Plants need friends; I have seen plants flourish in ways not thought possible when they have other plant friends to grow with, pair this with sweet wishes upon the time of planting and watch your garden come to life!

Recently, a friend told me about the prospect of a “Dark Harvest”, which the name alone caught my attention. Intrigued, I asked for more details. As she explained, it made more and more sense to me because (to a degree) I was already applying this aspect to my gardening, but I had never heard it explained this way before.

Essentially, the Dark Harvest occurs during the end of the growing season, before a new one begins. The grower looks back at the year to see what they grew, how well it grew for them, and what they want to grow more of or grow less of for the next season. This is the time frame to filter out the plants you no longer have the desire or capacity to grow and to look at what new plants to incorporate into the garden or how to simplify your growing/gardening structure.

During my Dark Harvest, I realized that I often grow plants that I desire to grow, but not to eat. I will often grow way too much of one kind of plant and then not be able to utilize all of its delicious fruits. And, I am notorious for growing way too many plants of too many varieties and then I have no space in which to plant them. This year, we have simplified what we will be growing in our garden to only include the herbs and plants that we know we can love and nurture properly…and guess what, I am far less stressed as well as not feeling like I’m being pulled in 50 different directions.

This year, I started my growing operations 1 month behind my normal schedule, and I am already ahead of schedule. It’s definitely not too late to start planning (or perhaps redo your already planned garden) to incorporate plants that are more meaningful to you. Nothing is better than knowing the exact source of your plant material which makes up the morning cup of herbal tea. Perhaps this year, we can all grow something with better intentions and less stress.

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