Recommended by Trish - Jul 20, 2012 2:49 PM
One of my favorite things about gardening is trying out new plants. One of my favorite things about homesteading is finding new ways to produce for ourselves the things that we use. For several years now, one of my favorite drinks is green tea. I love it when my favorite things collide!
A year or two ago, I discovered that I could indeed grow my own green tea. I was so excited! My excitement was short lived, however, when I couldn't find a single nursery in my surrounding area who carried the Camellia sinensis var sinensis shrub. I didn't fare a whole lot better online - I could purchase seeds, and a handful of vendors sell the plants, but I was unfamiliar with any of them.
I was thrilled when Camellia Forest Nursery wanted to do a review! I received two plants from Camellia Forest Nursery: a Camellia sinensis and Camellia x 'Crimson Candies'.
Brie (who is one of 4 workers at the nursery) told me that the Tea Plant is their best seller. I can see why! Who wouldn't want to purchase their own tea, after all.
Camellia Forest Nursery is a physical nursery located in North Carolina. I believe the majority of their business is likely in person, as at least part of their website is not kept completely current. The plants they do show are available, and they have great information on how to grow your camellias as well as how to harvest and dry the tea leaves. They do frequently post on Facebook, especially a huge collection of blooms, which they generously allowed us to use in our own database.
My order was placed, and shipped out within the week. My order went through the same process as any other customer's- no special treatment. I let Brie know when I had received my order, and she noted that one of the other workers must have packed it up since she hadn't seen my order, but had looked for it.
When I received my order, I was quite pleased with the packaging. The box was the perfect size and shape, and I always appreciate when companies use recycled packing material. Camellia Forest does not ship the plants in their pots, but it is clear that both bushes were taken out of a 4" pot, bagged, and shipped. They have a clever way of tying the root ball to the box with the string taped on the outside. This keeps the plants from tossing around inside the box. It certainly didn't look like they had moved at all during delivery.
The plants themselves were healthy. The leaves were shiny green and perky. As for the roots, one of the plants clearly had a much better root system than the other one. The roots appeared rather weak on the tea plant, and I made a mental note to pot it up and baby it a bit more. That said, I've had these plants several weeks now, and I haven't seen any sign of distress.
Along with the plants, I received a catalog, and growing instructions, as well as instructions for harvesting, drying, and preparing the tea. I like it when companies send information, especially the special growing instructions instead of forcing the customer to go back to the website to find their own instructions.
Camellia Forest has an extensive line of camellias that they offer, along with their own introductions. They are a small nursery, but seem to have earned a solid reputation. I do not hesitate to recomend them to you, and I will be glad to order from them again to expand my own collection!
Disclaimer: I was not paid for this review, but the product was provided to me for reviewing. All opinions are my own honest impressions.
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