Sunday, August 12, 2007

Rows Upon Rows

The entrance to the Charleston Tea Gardens. The plants are beautiful, and they look healthy in spite of the adverse soil and weather conditions. I learned from the helpful staff that these plants were brought over from China and India, and that they are the few remaining plants which survived of the hundreds of thousands originally brought to be planted in the new world. They expect 6-8 flushes by this time of year, and the plants are just now beginning to grow their fourth flush. South Carolina is 7 inches short on rain for the growing season thus far. A flush is the new growth on a tea plant, and flushes are marked by when and where the last cutting took place.
There are over 300 varieties of tea plant on this plantation, according to the staff, though no one could tell me what they were. Their entire cutting process is mechanized, which means that they only employ 20 workers at the plantation, and only three field workers. Most of those 20 employees work in the gift shop. I'll give you more on the processing of tea tomorrow.

1 comment:

Steph said...

Hello - I've just found you. We have two similar passions - swing dancing and tea! I'll check back - stop by my blog sometime. :-)