Postcard from abroad

An apt postcard from my grandson!

When my grandson was a toddler, I was often his babysitter so his mother could have a day out. Those were the good old days, before the entire family moved to Germany when he was 4. We often had tea parties, and since he had trouble saying my “real” name, I became Grandma Tea! Now he’s 16!!! We are both still tea lovers, so when he saw this card, he knew it was meant for me. Seeing his handwritten message meant so very much. An occasional text is nice, but a handwritten note is exponentially better!

Balm “Mandarin Orange”

I’m always on the lookout for new tea plants, so last fall (long before any thoughts that a pandemic might influence tea supplies or trips to tea shops) while perusing one of my favorite seed catalogs I found “Mandarin Orange” balm. It’s related to Lemon Balm, which is a favorite tea herb and easily grown. Of course I had to order the seeds. I only planted a tiny pinch of seed, and seemingly each one grew. That warns me that it could be a bold self-seeder like its lemon cousin, so I will have to remember to harvest stems while still in flower, before seeds set and drop. When the seedlings got a bit larger, each baby was transplanted into an individual compartment. Even at that small stage, their scent was delicious! Later they were been moved to harden off on the benches outside the greenhouse. In comparison to lemon balm, they seem to be a bit darker and more gray-green in color, and the leaves are a little “hairier.” Recently, they were planted in the potager’s interior border near the south gate, where it is often a bit moist after a rain. They easily survived our 24 degree night last Friday, so I’m assuming they will also be a hardy perennial (Zone 4, maybe even 3) and will prefer a sunny or very lightly shaded (in Deep South) location as lemon balm does. In any case, I’m eager for the day there are enough leaves to harvest to brew a cup of tea. In the meantime, I rub the leaves each time I pass or water, and enjoy that “Earl Grey” aroma.

Since I grew several plants in anticipation of our little garden club plant sale and the herb symposium sale, which of course were cancelled, there are more plants than I need. I’ll be happy to ship a plant to the first 4 people who respond, limited to the continental U.S. since I no longer have a license to ship abroad.


About carolee

A former professional herb and lavender grower, now just growing for joy in my new potager. When I'm not in the garden, I'm in the kitchen, writing, or traveling to great gardens.
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20 Responses to Postcard from abroad

  1. I only have partial sun here in the woods so I will let someone with a sunnier yard be one of the first four. I LOVE “Where there is tea, there is a hope.” Also, Grandma Tea. I, too, am a tea lover. πŸ˜‰

    Liked by 1 person

    • carolee says:

      I have often been described as a “tea-aholic.” My employees used to tease me about the number of tea cups I left here & there in the gardens & sales area, because I constantly set them down to pick something, pull a weed, or got involved answering a customer’s question and moved off! At the end of the day, I’d wander around collecting them all, but it helped me see what needed to go on tomorrow’s job list. I’m better now, although currently I know of 2 missing cups. They will show up eventually.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. bcparkison says:

    What a wonderful find. We once depended completely on mint tea. This is one I should look into, Have you ever grown Holy basil. It too is wonderful fora warm cup of tea.

    Liked by 1 person

    • carolee says:

      Holy basil or Sacred basil? They are often interchanged. One is Tulsi, which I dislike the scent & flavor, but sold a lot to people from India who use it in a ceremony for fertility. The other is Kaprou, which has deep purple and green variegated leaves and smells of cloves, which I love!


  3. March Picker says:

    Carolee, what a yummy, unusual herb and what a kind offer to share! Sounds like the aroma is more pleasing than the lemon balm which can be a bit soapy to me, but I grow and use it. Perhaps four bloggers have already responded, but if not, I would love to tuck it into my hillside herb garden.


  4. mary says:

    I love the postcard, even more because your grandson sent it to you πŸ™‚ my som was graduating this year and my granddaughter is 16 on the 21st, they both send me cards, letters where ever they are traveling with the parents on vacation…personal mail is the best gift πŸ™‚

    I have not heard of this tea, could you tell me where you got the seeds?, since taking care of my mom 24/7, my sanity is planting seeds and watching them grow, Mothers day I went to my favorite nursery and bought 4in pots of a little of everything … I am a plant addict…. now I have to pot them up… its raining so it will be in my greenhouse, rain and potting plants…Life is Good πŸ™‚

    Thank you for sharing
    Take Care…You Matter…


    • carolee says:

      Unfortunately, they came from a wholesale company, so unless you are a business you can’t order them. I’ll check to see if I have seeds left. If not, I can let one plant go to seed this summer and save some for you. Plant addiction is contagious, or so I’ve heard!


  5. Melissa Winters says:

    This sounds wonderful, & I would love a start if any are still available.


  6. Ruth jennerjahn says:

    Loved the card to Carolee__Your grandson’s card I mean


  7. Jo Shafer says:

    If I’m not too late to make the final fourth reply, I’d LOVE a start of the orange balm. It sounds delightful. Of course, I have lots of lemon balm and really enjoy it as is in the garden as well as in summer drinks like iced water with fruit or slice cucumber.


  8. 69owen says:

    Ooh that sounds amazing, I will be looking to order seeds for that, I am a big lemon balm fan, orange sounds wonderful


  9. I’m a tea lover too, but surely tea is made from tea, all others are simply infusions.I only drink tea.


  10. Marilynell says:

    I’d love a plant but I am still in Fort Myers Florida for the winter. We planned to come home May1 delayed to June 1.Β  Now we are still not sure because it seems safer here than Illinois. We livein Mobile home park and there are only 100 or so. Gardening is very different especially plant id buthaving ll sunny days is great. I volunteer at the Edison Ford winter estates which are now closed. Hopesomeone else enjoys the plants. Where are the seeds from?Marilyn Ellison


  11. That sounds delightful, I’ll definitely add it to my list next year! I’m going to try & find things that have more of a use besides just being pretty! Just a small section of things people use for crafts, Medicinal, and teas! As always thank you for the helpful information!


  12. OsagePrairie says:

    What a thoughtful grandson you have! I love family traditions and my daily cup of tea. Thank you for sharing!


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