Friday, December 7, 2012

Holiday Tea

There is a lot of tea drinking in If Hooks Could Kill ,maybe because I started drinking a lot of tea. It started when I stopped drinking diet soda. I don’t know that there is anything wrong with artificial sweeteners, but they certainly aren’t beneficial.

Tea, on the other hand, actually has all kinds of health benefits , depending on the variety of tea. And that’s one of the great things about tea. There are so many kinds to choose from.

We are members of the Huntington Gardens, which was originally a mansion and grounds belonging to a railroad magnate. Now the 120 acres of different gardens, along with an art gallery, several museums, research libraries (they have a Gutenberg Bible on display) and the Rose Garden Tearoom are open to the public. To say it is heavenly is an understatement. Every year, they have a special event for the holidays open to members.

We went on Tuesday toward the end of the day. The sky was wintery looking for Southern California and the air was just cool enough for a long sleeve shirt and a vest. It was a great time to walk around the gardens, which we had mostly to ourselves. It wasn’t quiet, though. There are flocks of parakeets living in the area and they were swarms of them overhead, all in twos and all squawking to each other. How could little birds make that much noise?

The reason we had the gardens to ourselves is that most of the members were around the entrance where there was music, holiday goodies and a sale of treats and tins of tea from their tearoom. Every year from Thanksgiving to New Years, the tearoom serves their own blend of holiday gold rush tea. It’s orange pekoe tea mixed with flecks of mango, passion fruit, and some kind of flowers. It smells wonderful and has a delicious tropical flavor with a natural sweetness. The tins of it were going quickly and I replenished my supply and bought some for gifts. They also had rose tea. It’s loose tea mixed with bits of rose blossoms. I replenished my supply of that, too. Every time I make a cup, ooh and aah over the wonderful rose fragrance. It’s tastes wonderful, too. I like it so much I added to the scene of For Better or Worsted I just finished writing.

I couldn’t resist some of their other tea blends. They are all flavored by flowers like marigolds or leaves like blackberry, nothing artificial.

We left with shopping bags of tea just as the afternoon was fading into night and the greenery that lined the parking lanes had turned dark and mysterious.

I’m in Chicago now, far from my tea stash, but as soon as I finish this, I’m going to check the tea I have here and make a cup. Some people savor wine. For me, it is all about tea.

The photo the entrance to the gardens and doesn’t do them justice. There was no way I could capture the immense cactus garden, or the dark and moody fish ponds lined with bamboo, the Australian garden with all it wonderful trees, the Japanese garden with it’s traditional house, pond and curved bridge, the Chinese garden with it’s mini lake and stark plantings or the rose garden with all it’s fragrant blooms.


Linda O. Johnston said...

You make tea drinking sound wonderful, Betty. I enjoy some herbal teas but have never liked real tea. Coffee's my addiction! Enjoy Chicago.

Planner said...

I love your descriptions. It's been a very long time since I have been to Huntington Gardens, and I scarcely remember it. I must go back!

Betty Hechtman said...

Linda, I am a big coffee fan, too. I find tea nice at night.

Betty Hechtman said...

Planner, you should go to the Hungtington Gardens. It is the most wonderful place to walk around.

Ellen said...

Antiquity Rose in Excelsior has wonderful hot Russian tea they serve during the cold months.