Growing Your Own Tea Garden by Jodi Helmer is an incredible book on the art of tea. When I tried to pick a category to put this review under, it was tough because it is listed under Home and Garden, as well as Cooking, Food & Wine. The book certainly delivers on all of these areas. There are fantastic resources on choosing plants for your tea garden, garden designs, best practices and then you move into making the perfect cup of tea with lots of incredible recipes.
Before getting into the actual content of the book, I must say that this is one of the most beautiful books I have seen. The photography is breathtaking. I started out wanting to dive right into the history of tea, but I couldn’t stop myself from flipping through the pages to see more and more images of what I wanted to bring into my home.
The content is very robust. I learned so many things in reading about this history of tea. Everything from the history of the tea bag to how tea spread across the world. Once I enjoyed that I moved onto learning about the plants.
Choosing plants for your Tea Garden
This section is broken down into five categories:
- Classic tea
Growing Your Own Tea Garden includes a plant hardiness zone map, so you can figure out what options you have based on where you live. You start by learning about white tea, green tea, black tea, and oolong tea. I found the “sip” section in each of these to be very interesting because she explains how to steep in tea (temperature, time and straining). Next you learn about the plants in the other four areas (leaves, flowers, fruits and roots) that you can plant in your garden.
This section opened up my eyes to all the different kinds of plants you could use. My mind was used to thinking of herbs like mint, chamomile or lemon balm and citrus fruits. There are SO many more possibilities! Tufted violet, red clover, dandelion, lemongrass, staghorn sumac, and chicory just to name a few. She even talks about growing stevia which you can use as a sweetener in your tea.
I loved the section on garden design because she has developed different kind of gardens with specific plants. For example, her Sleepytime Tea Garden includes echinacea, lemon balm, lavender and chamomile. She shows a layout of how many plants and how to space them. How about the Headache Tea Garden which includes chamomile, tufted violet, peppermint and trumpet honeysuckle. There are so many options, I am putting them down in my gardening journal to make my plans.
This is my favorite section. So many recipes have me dreaming of my first homemade cup. And these recipes aren’t intimidating, take for example the peppermint raspberry tea. It’s just raspberries and peppermint and water and you steep it overnight. The next day you decide if you want it warmed up or over a glass of ice! There are sun teas, iced teas, more traditional teas.
There is something for everyone in Growing Your Own Tea Garden . Whether you are a tea lover, or a person that enjoys an occasional cup. Making your own tea and knowing it’s benefits will help you to live more healthy. This book will make a great addition to your library, and it would also make a wonderful gift for someone special in your life.
Disclosure: Thank you to Fox Chapel Publishing, Companion House Books for providing me with a complimentary copy of this e-book for review purposes. No other compensation was received, and all opinions are my own.