Sunday, August 05, 2007

Giving Tea Parties For My Flowers (And Other Odd Behaviors)

So for years I've tried to like drinking tea. Honest. But sadly, I'm still stuck at the point where, if I dump in enough sugar and cream, I can tolerate a cup at the occasional tea party (where tea is the only drink served).

During the odd times when I tried to force myself to actually enjoy tea, I've bought cute, artful boxes of it at the supermarket (more to decorate my kitchen with, than to drink its contents). And I've collected tea bags for the good-intentioned tea parties in my home (which I am not brave enough to actually hold) and tea for times Tom, Naomi and I have colds (times I can drink gallons of tea because I cannot taste it then).

You get the idea.

So last week I read in an old-fashioned cookbook that you should only buy the amount of tea which you will use in two or three weeks. After that, it will begin going stale and not taste as delicious (as if it ever could taste delicious... heh... I couldn't resist. Sorry.).

Well, I thought, "So much for all my 8-year-old good-intentioned boxes of tea! Guess I may as well toss them in the trash."

But just in time I came across this wonderful gardening book: Yankee Magazine's Panty Hose, Hot Peppers, Tea Bags, And More--for the Garden. What a fun tips-for-gardening book! Always, I've appreciated gardening books which skip all the long-winded whys and philosophies of growing plants--and instead--just tell me what to do. The shorter the sentences, the better.

And this book told me to put leftover tea bags in my flower pots to give nutrients, nitrogen and organic matter to my flowering plants. Cool! So after years of wishing I could be like my neighbors and make my own homey-looking sun tea in a jar on the porch (having no reason to do so since we hate tea), yesterday I made my first batch of sun tea. For my flowers. Tea, tea bags, and all. I made another batch in the afternoon and another jar this morning, using those ancient tea bags I nearly threw away.

So now I get to make sun tea like the other kids on the block. Ah, simple pleasures.

I highly recommend the aforementioned fun book (wait till you see their ideas for coffee!). You'll find hundreds of hints on how to reuse household stuff which you'd otherwise have thrown away--and in the process--make your garden more lush, beautiful and a much more fun place to hang-out.


Deborah Raney said...

I'll be making sun tea for my flowers this afternoon, Debra! Sometimes I think you are "raiding" my brain when you write! I do enjoy tea (not as much as coffee!) but like you, I'm guilty of buying oodles of tea just because it comes in cute packages that look good on my countertops. But I have some tea that's way older than eight years and your post has given me permission to put it to good use. (I still might keep the cute empty boxes and tins! But then again, since I'll be out of tea by this afternoon, I may have to see what other cute tea the grocery store has to offer.)

By the way, I love the illustrations you use on your blog, but are you aware that it's been over two weeks since you posted a real live Debra's-darling-house photo! I hope you painted something or rearranged a room or went garage-saling this weekend so we can enjoy the fruits of your labors!


elizabeth said...

Interesting fil says it is good to put coffee grounds on your garden too...have not tried it yet.

Actually I do love sun tea...but make ours in the fridge. And now at my age and health, it bothers me some to drink regular tea. But you can drink herbal teas...we love raspberry zinger tea (Celestial tea company) and if you get some kind of berry juice and add about half and half of makes a FINE drink, plus you are stretching the yummy berry juice costwise and also calorie wise. We only do this with as not to drink too many calories the rest of the time. Just an idea you might try. Also using lemon zinger as half the tea bags with half being raspberry zinger is also pleasant we have found. Funny actually that you can call herbal tea, tea....cause there are not really any tea leaves in it!!

Judy said...

My daughter and I tried to be mature adults this week and drink cold green tea.

Neither of us could do it.

I've got a bunch of perrenials in my backyard already raising their pinkies in anticipation!

Thank you for the tip.

Jan said... hate tea and haven't dumped the old tea I bought thinking I should like it. My plants will now benefit. Its also good for tea dying fabric. I bought some especially for that! But drink it...not.

Dapoppins said...

I am like you. I love the whole "idea" of tea. But I don't really like the taste. And when (if) I ever garden, I have no need to know why, just how. That book sound really fun.

Kathy said...

Well Debra, I see we disagree about! I LOVE tea, especially hot....guess it must be the British in me :o) It's coffee I can't learn to like...when I do have a cup with my breakfast, I have to use lots of sugar and cream to get it down! I do like the idea of putting tea on my plants though, I will give that a try this week. Oh, and I use my coffee grounds around my hostas, suppose to keep the slugs away....who knew?!

Debra said...

Deb---hee...Actually, my oldest tea bags are probably 16 years old, or more, but I didn't want to make anyone laugh so hard that they sputtered their coffee all over their computer. :) Oh, and thanks for the nudge about posting my own pics... I've been thinking about that lately, too-- just lazy, I guess, and we've been out of batteries for awhile till Tom got some this week. :) Thanks for asking!
Elizabeth--yep, after reading this book I've been putting our coffee grounds out with my plants, too. I love finding ideas like that!
Judy--oh, green tea is the worst. It's just the same as if you'd taken a cup of hot water out to a barely field, crunched up some barely in it, and called it tea. Blech.
Jan--sounds like we're on the same page about tea! :) You reminded me that years ago, yes, tea-dying was another reason I bought some tea. So long ago...sigh...
Dapoppins--I liked how you said you "liked the whole idea of tea"--yes, that's it! It's such a cozy drink and I wish I liked it more...sigh...
Kathy--oh, I wish I could make you some coffee--I can't imagine you wouldn't like it! :) I can make it pretty well, but yes, with certain cream and certain sugar... Yes, you can put coffee grounds, this book says, around all sorts of plants, not only to keep pests away, but to add a little acid and nutrients to the soil. Indoor plants, as well. I've been drinking extra coffee to make gardening-use of the grounds!:)
Thanks, Everyone... Blessings, Debra

Maggie Ann said...

Sounds like you are having