Category Archives: tea

More blueberries!

We decided the dismantle the labyrinth because it was a pain in the ass to maintain and it almost never got any use. In the entire time it was here, I don’t think 25 people have walked it.  But, we couldn’t just take up the rocks and let it go back to lawn because it has a hazelnut hedge around 2/3 of the outside.

Since there is going to be a circle in  the middle of the back yard one way or the other, we decided to make it a bull’s-eye.  The center will still be mulched and keep the benches.  The first ring will get the  herbs from the disassembled herb bed and whatever flowers I want that flourish in blistering sun like lilies, irises, foxgloves, crocosmia.  I don’t know what else. The next ring will be low maintenance clover.  And then, the hedge.

We decided that we really don’t need more hazelnuts, even though that means the circle of the hedge will be uneven.  So, today, we added 5 new blueberry bushes.  Like the  hazelnuts, they will be naked in the winter. And we look forward to the fruit.  (We’ve never had too many berries in life.)

We found one variety of blueberries at Lowe’s and 3 at Mebane Shrubbery.  We already had one of those (Climax) by the fence.  So, we have 3 Brightwells, a Powder Blue and a Tifblue.


Filed under Asparagus, Blueberries, Fruit and berries, planting, tea


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Today, this bed holds the wild dogwood I transplanted from a friend’s yard, a rice paper bush, a cloned dogwood from the National Phenology Network, some bearded irises, some white dwarf crested irises, some Asiatic lilies, a couple of Eastern columbines, 4 varieties of hellebores/Lenten roses, a small patch of cranesbill, a Bigleaf magnolia, one tea bush, a bear’s breeches, a Daphne odora, 2 kinds of ivy, a Japanese maple, a red camellia, 5 mums and I sowed seeds for 2 heights of zinnias, portulaca and impatiens today.

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Filed under Annuals, Flowers, Irises, Perennials, planting, tea

Front bed

The largest part of this year’s yard project is done. Grass is out; mulch is in. Tea bushes are transplanted.  I hope moving hasn’t killed them. I need to get the cover weeds out of the older part of the bed so we can mulch there, too. We used a thick layer of mulch to kill the grass there and it was effective. But, that mulch has turned into dirt and needs refreshing.

I moved the Euonymus that I had planted in that bed to the back yard where the deer can’t get to it. It’s supposed to be a bush but, right now, it’s a stick because it was snacked on heavily last summer. But, it’s not dead as evidenced by the leaves popping out. So, I have hope.

Our Japanese maple was accidentally mutilated by some yard guys who were taking down dead chunks of the maple on the corner of our lot.  After some consideration, I got a new tree.  The mutilated one was in too much sun and looked like crap for most of the summer. So, we finished the job the yard guys started and put a new tree in the front Partial Shade bed.

I found parts of a man’s shoe and a patch of nails while I was digging the grass out.  And I’m constantly amazed at the amount of quartz that grows in our ground.

 This is our most prolific crop.

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Filed under Flowers, odds&ends, planting, tea

Tea bushes.

They are bigger, but not huge. One died, so there are only three. I haven’t tried harvesting anything yet. But I’m continually delighted when they blossom.

Buds are forming.




I know they are camellias. But, it tickles me to see the proof of it.

I took this last September.

I took this last September.

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Filed under tea

Tea plants!

I have been pining for tea bushes (Camellia sinensis) for about 3 years, ever since I learned they will grow in our region.  Camellia Forest Nursery in Chapel Hill sells tea bushes, among other gorgeous things, and has instructions for how to make the leaves ready to use on their website.

They aren’t, however, open at all times for retail sales.  So, I was delighted yesterday to have remembered that they were open when I was going to have some available money in the bank.

I bought one pink flowering and 3 small leaf tea bushes.  Then, I spent a large part of the afternoon digging up sod.  I finished getting the sod up this morning.

We intend to mulch where most of the shade is in the front of the yard very heavily this year and are buying a trailer to haul it with.  The tea bushes need a semi-shady spot and that means either back in the woods or in the front.  Since the back is REALLY shady, the front seemed to be the best choice.  But, it is full of grass.  And mowing around the tea would be a pain in the buttocks.  And they need soil amendment because our clay isn’t their favorite place to live.

So, first, sod removal.

Then, soil amendment with vermiculite, cow manure and “organic garden soil” worked into the native clay, followed by planting the bushes.

Then, mulch.

It has rained here a little bit the last couple of days so the ground was pretty moist, but we are sprinkling them a little anyway to settle their dirt and be sure they have a good start.
I’m just tickled to pieces.


Filed under planting, tea