Monday, July 14, 2014

Finding tea at Southern Roots Nursery & Gardens!

Recently Bob and Sherry Lott of Southern Roots Nursery & Gardens in Newnan were the guests at the monthly meeting of our Crossroads Garden Club. During his slide show, Bob happened to show a photo of a Camellia sinensis or tea plant and mentioned that he had some for sale at the nursery. My friend Deberah and I were both quite excited to hear this, because for several years now we've been trying—and failing—to grow her a tea plant from a cutting off my own tea plant. Last week Deberah and I decided to meet up for lunch and head over to the nursery, and we had a great time choosing new Camellia sinensis plants.

Southern Roots had a nice row of them, all looking quite healthy, so Deberah and I set about selecting the ones we wanted. I enjoyed reading the sign on the plant, and as I told Deberah after the club meeting, I was impressed that Bob—who bought the former A & W Nursery just a little over a year ago—knew that the same tea plant can produce white, black or green tea, depending on how the leaves are processed.

I've also wanted a Tea Olive for a long time (I hear the fragrance is heavenly when it's in bloom), so I got one of those as well. I've looked online and cannot quite figure out why a Tea Olive is called a "Tea" Olive, so if anyone knows the reason, I'd love to hear it!

You know the bay leaves you buy at the grocery store? Southern Roots had several tall pots of bay plants for sale, and I decided I needed one.

Cooks are said to be very enthusiastic about the taste of the bay leaves from the live plant, so I'll let you know once I've had the chance to cook with mine!

I also got these succulents just because they're pretty and looked like they might fit in a couple of my teacup planters.

They did!

Once I got home with the new tea plant, I remembered that late 1800s article I found on eBay recently which mentioned how there are two basic varieties of tea plants here in the U.S. and the leaf size of them differs greatly. Now I'd probably need an agricultural expert to confirm whether I do indeed have two different varieties of Camellia sinensis, but the 5-1/2-inch leaf on top is from the tea plant I received from a friend four years ago, and the 3-1/4-inch leaf on the bottom is from the plant I bought at Southern Roots last week. My new plant is much fuller and more lush looking than the one already planted outside, so I may need to pluck a few leaves on the old one to get the entire tea crop (i.e., my two plants) looking good.

One other fun find: Deberah and I were delighted to discover our new tea plants have some seeds on them! I got the best picture of the seeds when I was unloading the plant from my car's trunk.

It was a fun outing, and I love that I found a new tea plant just a few miles from home!


  1. What fun new plants are. These are very special ones.

  2. Sounds like Southern Roots Nursery & Gardens is a great place to shop. Glad Deberah finally got her tea plant. ☺ I bet you'll really enjoy the fresh bay leaf and your other selections.

  3. Will we be hearing about your own blend of tea in the future? :-)
    It's nice that you can find these plants at a local nursery and are able to grow them in your gardening zone.

  4. What a fabulous nursery - and great prices!

  5. That's super exciting! I've got some seeds growing now on my windowsill in New Jersey. The largest is about 2 inches tall :)

  6. I would love to have a tea plant, but I don't have a green thumb, and Michigan weather isn't conducive to growing them. Glad to know yours is happily growing!

  7. Sounds like a neat nursery. You'll love your Bay tree. I've had 2 for about 12 years. I keep them in pots and bring them in the garage for the winter.

  8. You found very nice tea plants. How exciting. The tea olive also sounds intriguing. What a fun adventure to the nursery.

  9. Great to hear about Southern Roots Nursery and Gardens -

    Several years ago, when Nick was at Arbor Springs Elementary, Mrs. Lott was the Assistant Principal. Fabulous woman! I don't have a 'green thumb' but I will certainly check this nursery out. Thank you for this posting, Joanie


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