Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Tea, Cookies and Gardens

Last night a group of us Master Gardeners went to visit one of our colleagues gardens.  It was beautiful - and huge!  The man keeping it all is 81.  Far more than I do even now.  One of the very nice treats was a pound cake with pineapple sage.  The sage had been stewed in simple syrup and then the syrup poured over the cake.  Very, very nice.  We decided the heat brought out the flavor.  So, next time, I will try it in my tea again, only I will brew it by the hot water method.  Apparently you need to bruise it and use quite a bit.  The woman who made it says she makes it a lot with lemon verbena, which doesn't take nearly as much.

It is over 90 all last week, so this tea princess was drinking a lot of ice tea and not going out much.  We tried to let out the cats one morning, but they put their noses out and then gave us one of those looks as they scooted back inside.  If it is too hot for them, it is definitely too hot for me.

Today, however, is our reward for survival, it is only 70, there's a breeze and we had rain - can't get much better than that.  I am having hot tea to celebrate.  I know, I know, hot tea is supposedly to make you cooler, but I don't think so.  So my hot tea for today's cool weather is from the tea trekker: 2011 late spring pluck High Himalaya Hand-Rolled Tips from Nepal.  It's a really beautiful mix of black, grey-green and beige for the tips.  It smells like hay, old wood and a touch of dried tobacco with the merest whiff of smoke.

The light amber brew is quite a surprise, taste-wise.  It truly reminds me of lemon sugar cookies.  It has a slight hint of citrus, with a biscuit-ty, cookie taste.  There's also some hazelnut and something like old wood, warmed in the sun in it.  Altogether, it is one of the best teas I've had.

The waysides are so pretty right now, with the gold and brown of brown-eyed susans, the yellow of trefoil, white from Queen Ann's lace and blue from chicory, all backed by dark green bushes with bright red berries.
The water lily pond near us is bursting with their beautiful white flowers.  I am especially thrilled to see them as last year it was so hot and dry they just curled up brown and ugly.  Did you know you can grow Queen Ann's lace from seed in your garden?  Looks a bit like the wild ones on steroids.

In my garden, the day lilies are blooming their hearts out.  I have one that is a mild orange sherbet color that is not just double, it is quadruple, with little dark flecks, like pepper in it.  It is absolutely gorgeous.  It is near a dark red and they really set each other off.  I really love day lilies and just drool over the catalog from Oakes.  Sadly, the deer also like them, so I have to keep spraying around the garden to keep them off.  A friend showed me how to get them to leave - give a loud deep cough and off they go - it sounds like the "Danger!" signal they give each other.

How's this for an altar screen?  I am very taken with it.  But then, I was very taken with the whole church, which is in Germany and dedicated to Mary.  It is a very feminine building, with it's color stone, pink and white ceiling and tall, graceful arches and windows.  Next time I 'll show you some pictures of the very simple country church my ancestors attended.

1 comment:

Steph said...

Lemon sugar cookies - that is an interesting description!