This year, the seasons have come and gone despite changes in our lives that seemed to stop time and yet required our full participation in the moment and all that followed. Almost a year ago, David's mother and founder of Camellia Forest, Kai Mei Parks unexpectedly passed away after a brief illness. Kai Mei was a mother, grandmother, business owner, and artist. She was hard-working and hard to please. Indeed, her biggest compliment to me was saying that she liked my tea. She would graciously accept my tea after family dinners, sip and smile. There was no higher praise. We will miss her.
This year we experienced more deep freezes over the winter, followed by a lovely spring and the wettest summer apparently in decades. Progress in the tea garden has been just keeping up. Keeping up with the harvest, as the plants keep giving. And as the harvest draws to a close, we started digging out from the summer weeds.
We've made new tea contacts, enjoyed meeting new volunteers and growing our local connections. No huge revelations except that the plants had the capacity to produce without fertilizer for an entire season. And our new planting (2-3 year olds) thrived despite the tall weed cover.
I admit that active blogging can be a challenge for someone with an active life. I'd rather be in the garden than writing about it. That said, I also love learning, which is why I want to share knowledge and empower gardeners and growers to learn about tea. There is a lot more information available online now than when I started, some of it pretty good, some of it repetitive and of questionable origins. Here you will get an authentic story about the tea garden at Camellia Forest. We are committed to sharing what we know, what we are learning, and our questions. Look forward to hearing yours, too.
Even better, come visit and share some tea at our fall Tea for All.
Christine Parks, co-owner of Camellia Forest Tea Gardens, enjoys the creative process of taking tea from garden to cup.