I’ve been a gardener for many years, but quite frankly, I never imagined that I’d be able to grow Camellia sinensis.  When I visited China a few years back, I smuggled a few seeds (please don’t tell anyone) into my suitcase, but they were not viable.  Perhaps the karmic energy just wasn’t going to cooperate.

While strolling through the Portland Home and Garden Show this past spring, I nearly shouted in delight when I came upon a grower who was selling Camellia sinensis plants.  I was unconcerned that I had arrived by the MAX (Portland’s public transportation system) and the route home would be challenging while holding my precious plant.  I was just thrilled to have my own tea plant to nurture and watch grow.

I found a wonderful sunny spot in the kitchen by a large corner window, which I hoped would make my tea plant happy.  As the summer approached, buds developed and within a few weeks, much to my delight, multiple white flowers bloomed.

Over the ensuing months, I’ve found quite a few sites that describe how to harvest home-grown tea leaves.  Although they seem unreasonably basic, I’m game to try harvesting when the time is right, which apparently is after three years.  I purchased a one-year-old plant, so check back in another two years.

Ain’t life grand?