Monday, March 10, 2014

Tea plantings at San Diego Japanese Garden

San Diego's Japanese Friendship Garden hosted its annual Cherry Blossom Festival this weekend. It's been a long drought here in California, with only two measurable rains this winter, and while the trees struggled to put on their show it was still fairly breathtaing. The garden's coming alive again, though — not only are the plants growing and rejuvenating, but the garden itself is expanding. A significant construction project at the bottom of the canyon will result next year in a grand new tea house (the foundation is kinda huge!), a kitchen, meeting spaces, and an amphitheater.

That means extra plantings, too — including a tea garden!

Along the southeastern slope of the JFG's canyon, in the heart of Balboa Park, more than 1,500 tea plants have been planted. Like the cherry trees, these are special hybrids developed to survive in San Diego's drier climate. Here are some photos taken during my last couple of volunteer shifts at the garden ...

If the tea does well, the garden actually plans to table the bushes, then pluck and process the tea, for use during the garden's monthly Japanese tea ceremonies (usually the first Saturday each month; see the calendar).

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