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Plants not just pretty to look at

Diane Becker, "Country Life"

I love this time of year when I can drink tea from the deck.

Literally. I am making tea from leaves that are flourishing on my patio plants. It’s a wonderful summertime drink.

My brewing of fresh leaves started last summer when I grew a large mint plant as part of my patio garden.

There is nothing like a few fresh mint leaves to add a zing to your cup of tea.

I dried as many leaves as I could, worrying they wouldn’t get me through the winter.

I’ve bought dried mint leaves before and they don’t have the same mint flavor that these have.

Luckily, my mint plant survived inside the house and provided me with a few leaves through the winter and is now flourishing again this summer on the deck.

Then I read that drinking hibiscus tea is recommended to reduce high blood pressure.

I purchased a bag of hibiscus flower leaves and have been putting them into my mint mixture for months.

It took me a couple months to look over my summer plants and note that one of them is a hibiscus, and that it makes a lot of flowers I could be putting into my tea.

I found a recipe that called for one cup of hibiscus flowers for every four cups of tea. I didn’t use that many as it’s really hard to steep so much vegetation.

Still, the flowers I did use made my tea a nice dark pink, and it tasted delicious. I added a little honey and lime, and it was wonderful.

So now I’m looking at other plants that might make a good tea and read that rose hip tea is good.

Rose hips are those little seed pods left after the rose has bloomed. I have not made any of this tea yet as I usually trim off the blooms before the rose hips form, but I’m working on it.

Milk thistle buds are supposed to make a good tea as are raspberry leaves and dandelion root.

I can try the raspberry leaves and maybe look for some milk thistle buds if I happen to see some, but I draw the line at dandelion root tea.

I could pick dandelion flowers and put them in hot water to steam and drink, but I picture all of the dandelion roots I have pulled in my life, and I do not want them anywhere near my kitchen.

There’s a limit to what you can make tea out of.

For now, I’m sticking with my mint/hyacinth tea with a little rose hip and raspberry tea on the side.

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