By MEREDITH KIRTON
Tea, which is the most popular drink in the world, is, like the saying (all the tea in China) suggests, native to the area. It is actually a type of Camellia, one of the best loved of all ornamental garden plants. Camellia sinensis, as it is known botanically, provides the foliage for, depending on how it’s treated, all types of black, white and green tea. To grow tea, you simply need a well drained, fairly good soil with adequate moisture, an open sunny position and fertiliser and regular trimming to encourage the new growth, which is the part of the plant harvested to make this beverage. Other plants regularly used for herbal teas all have their won unique tastes and growing conditions. Sometimes they are picked and added to Camellia tea to flavour it, and sometimes they are herbal infusions of their own. The most common include Chamomile, Jasmine, Sage, Lemon Verbena and Mint. Fresh or dried leaves/flowers of these are infused in near boiling water to release their essential oils. Sun is the ingredient that gets plants essential oil content high, so make sure you plant them in as open and sunny position as you can, with at least 6 hours direct light. To grow most herbs you need a well drained position, but, in the case of mint, you are better off with a damp spot or even a water well container as they love constant moisture.
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