Monday, April 26, 2010

The Tea Tree

So, for several years now I've thought it wd be nice to have a tea tree -- since I drink so much tea, and get so much enjoyment out of it, taking care of one just felt like nice payback. And now, thanks to a gift from Anne & Siegfried (many thanks!), I have one.*

To be specific, my new Camellia sinensis ('Chinese camellia') turns out to have been "grown from seed harvested in Sochi, Russia". I knew the Russians loved tea** but hadn't thought it grew so far north --though Sochi turns out to be about as far south as Russia gets (the Georgian coast of the Black Sea), and I only recently got some Turkish tea that said it'd been grown on the Black Sea, so I guess that all fits.***

In any case, it's currently a healthy-looking little shrub about two feet high, which I just repotted this morning into what was, last year, a tomato planter. I'll be curious to see if it eventually flowers once it gets established. Luckily, according to the label, and I quote, it's "plenty hardy". I don't know how big it'll get -- the two camellias (or 'winter roses', as I liked to call them) at Williamson Street, alas destroyed when the house was knocked down, had grown over the course of a half-century to be about eight feet tall, and there's a pair on an abandoned lot on Meeker Street in downtown Kent I sometimes walk past that must be thirty feet: by far the biggest camellias I've ever seen and larger than I thought they cd get. Our new friend's label says it cd grow to eight to ten feet, but I suspect that in a pot it won't reach anything near that height.

At any rate, it's nice to have a Tea Tree of our own at last. I think I'll name him 'Camel'.

And, coincidently enough, I also learned this weekend that someone has finally rebuffed the old canard that drinking tea dehydrates you:

Given that they mention people over forty whose tea drinking makes up 70% of their fluid intake, I wonder what they'd make of someone who hits 100% on an average day?


*my several attempts to grow one from seed having failed utterly.

**a fact I learned from the climax of a bad spy novel in Readers Digest years and years ago, where a clever Soviet spy gave himself away by accepting a cup of tea rather than asking for coffee, like a true-blue American wd have done. gah. But then, I learned about the Iron Crown of Lombardy from a Richie Rich comic; you just never know where you'll pick up something interesting from.

***And a quick check at wikipedia confirms that the NE coast of Turkey -- i.e., the part of Turkey closes to Georgia -- has been home to a Turkish tea industry since the 40s & 50s, including a "Tea Research Insitute" that's about the same age I am.

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