Introducing Ada - or to give her her Sunday Name - Camellia Sinensis. This is a little tea plant which we have proudly nutured. Most tea comes from this variety of camellia plant or its cousins. They are related to camellias many of you may grow in your gardens, although we don't recommend their leaves for tea as - we've been told it is disgusting as the leaves are too big, tough and very bitter.
Why are we growing tea ?- it all started with a couple of mature Yorkshire ladies who, seeing we sold loose leaf Chinese teas,scrutinised,poked, prodded ,shook and squeezed the packets on our display. When asked if they enjoyed loose teas, one looked me straight in the eye and told me that they didn't hold with all this foreign muck. You don't know what's in it - sweepings up with mouse droppings and worse !
It transpired they drank only Yorkshire tea, as it was grown,in their mind, in Harrogate it was upmarket and classy. And you know where it's been they chimed enigmatically. With that they flounced off muttering about days of the empire...
Well we knew that there had been an attempt to grow tea in the north unsuxcessfully but the meeting with the ladies sent me off with a bee in my bonnet. Or perhaps a fools errand ! Could we grow tea ? Why not try ? Why not have our very own mini tea garden ?Yes, the climate,the conditions etc aren't right but.....
And so Ada,grown and raised in Cornwall came as our first tiny plant to see how we would get on. She had six leaves and U knew there was a away to go before the first cuppa but I like a challenge and I love tea.
So far, so good. And so we've jalso recently got a second teaplane - Dolly. So we have a plant in honour of each of the Harrogate ladies.and although we are a long way from our own tea garden the girls sit well on the little terrace.
Oh, and if you were wondering why Ada and Dolly....they were named after each of my grandmothers. As the two Harrogate ladies were from about the same era I thought it very fitting. Both my grans loved a good cup of tea and the ladies would have amused them no end.