Saturday, 23 July 2011

It's Camellia Tea Time

Real World Gardener Wed 20th July 2011 5pm 2RRR 88.5fm

Feature Interview: RWG talks to Mike Barrett, executive member and president of the Weeds Society of NSW, about an upcoming seminar on "Environmental Weed, Current Policies and Practices. Wed, 27th July at Epping Club, 45-47 Rawson street Epping. Registration is preffered at or ring  or email Mike on 9875 3087 ;
Vegetable Hero: Camellia sinensis or Tea Camellia. Yes, that's right, grow you own tea in your backyard or on the balcony!
The China tea bush, or Camellia chinensis, produces small tea leaves and grows to about 1.6m. It is a very hardy, multi-stemmed but slow growing shrub.Get the history of tea here
You will have to keep it clipped to about a metre so you have plenty of new flushes of growth to pick from.
Camellias like acid soil, so for pots, add some coco peat into the potting mix.
To make  green tea •Pick the very youngest leaves and leaf buds.
•Blot the leaves dry, and let dry in the shade for a few hours.
•Steam the leaves (like you would vegetables) on your stove for about a minute.
•For a different flavour, try roasting them in a skillet for 2 minutes instead of steaming.
•Spread the leaves on a baking sheet and dry in the oven at 120 C for 20 minutes.•Store the dried tea leaves in an air-tight container.
To make black tea•Pick the very youngest leaves and leaf buds like before.
•Roll the leaves between your hands, and crush them until the leaves start to darken and turn red.
•Spread them out on a tray, and leave them in a cool location for 2-3 days.
•Dry them in the oven at 120 C (250F)  for about 20 minutes.•Store in an air-tight container.
Buy the Tea Camellia at Camellia specialist nurseries and at the Friends nursery at Royal Botani Gardens, Sydney.
Design Elements: Lesley Simspon, garden designer and Marianne (host) talk about Chelsea Flower Show 2011, and what else is there besides the major design awards. Listen to the podcast.

Plant of the Week: On the topic of Weeds, Purple Pea Bush or Polygala myrtifolia has mauve-purple, pea-shaped flowers produced throughout most of the year. Flowers develop two-celled flattened seed capsules that ripen from green to papery brown.
a)   Introduced as an ornamental and known to be naturalised in Victoria in 1886. Mainly naturalised in coastal areas where it is an increasing environmental problem. Biological control agents are being investigated for potential control of this weed.
b)  For more info, go to and
a)      ALTERNATIVES:  Geraldton Wax  Chamelaucium uncinatum cultivars
These small to medium sized native shrubs from Western Australia reach 1.5–2 m high with linear, narrow highly aromatic leaves up to 4 cm long. Small flowers occur profusely in spring through to summer and darken as they age. Recommended as a  cut flower, they can be picked in bud or at the full flowering stage. Colours available are:-white 'Alba'; purple 'Purple Pride' red to white 'Sweet Sixteen', and the double flowering pink 'Raspberry Ripple'.A highly

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