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The Purloined Plantation
by Anne

Camellia sinensis



A story of stealth, and mystery, and intrigue was recently sent to us by an old friend. The smuggling of tea has a long history as does the growing of tea in the Low Country of Coastal Georgia and South Carolina. Now, another chapter.

"Recently, I visited a wonderful camellia farm in Valdosta, GA. Tucked in among the showy Japonicas and profuse Sasanquas were some unassuming little plants. Camellia sinensis! Tea!

"Evidently a major tea grower did some tests at a state university, I won't say which state because all of the plants were supposed to be destroyed after the tests. One of the assistants couldn't bear the thought of the destruction, so he dug one up and brought it home.

"The plant that I was given is a cutting from that mother tea plant. Very clandestine. I'm very excited to try to grow tea in north Florida (Amelia Island). The climate should be perfect and I have amended the soil with composted cow manure and peat moss to help lower the pH, just as one would when planting any camellia here. Here is a picture of the beginning of my tea 'plantation'.

We will keep you posted.