Daily Connector | Tea please | Sarah Werner

A few months ago I was told by my neurologist that I needed to cut out most or all of my caffeine intake. This came as a serious blow because I love coffee. I love the smell of it when the beans are freshly ground, I love the taste when it’s piping hot in my cup, and I love the aftertaste that lingers in my mouth for hours afterward. But I also do enjoy tea, and I wanted to feel better, so I decided to at least try. After transitioning to less coffee each day, I switched to black tea with my breakfast, and found that I didn’t miss coffee much as I thought. I enjoy having four or five different flavors to choose from each day—ginger peach, earl grey, British breakfast, oolong. After a week of that I began drinking green tea some mornings, and I loved the taste of it even more, earthy and clean. In the late morning and afternoon I started drinking herbal tea, and found that my favorite flavors were mint and chamomile, both of which I could grow in my backyard.

Thus the idea of a tea garden was born. I have started some seeds in trays in my sunroom, and eagerly await the day that their green leaves start popping out of the black soil—tiny new plants starting their lives. To start with I’m growing bee balm, bergamot, peppermint, Echinacea, chamomile, and lavender. I would like to get some lemon verbena at some point. I’ve read that it’s very hard to grow from seed, so if anyone has a cutting they could give me, I would welcome it. I’ve also been reading about a variety of ginger that grows in Ohio, so if anyone grows ginger, I’d love to talk to you about it. I’m hoping in this time of turmoil in our world, growing things in the dark earth can help ground me in the present moment and live a healthier life in a small way.