The combination of too much rain and a day off has led me to some web research. I've been wondering for a few days if there is anything I should be doing for my camellias in general. I don't know much about them and so I Googled them and came to the realization that they are in the same plant family as the plant that tea is commonly made from. Actually tea is made from camellia sinesis and the plants in our NW yards are more likely to be camellia japonica. This got me thinking, well, could you make tea safely from my variety? I did a little surfing and found some great pruning tips from the American Camellia Society and then, surprise, another blogger's experiment with making tea from camellia japonica! I also found out that the leaves, berries and flowers from our hawthorne tree can be used for medicinal purposes.
I absolutely LOVE that, even after living here for almost 6 and a half years, I am still discovering things about this little piece of property! Several years ago we discovered that the bush/tree near our garden is a hazelnut tree too - although the squirrels and bugs get to the hazelnuts every year before we do. I like to imagine that the Copeland Family, who built this house and for whom the street is named after, actually planted all of these trees and bushes. I imagine that they knew a bit more about what plants were good for and specifically chose the plants they did for these reasons. For instance, they must have planted the catalpas they are so big! They surely thought about the summer shade these trees would provide and the light they would allow in in the winter. I'd be willing to bet they intended on harvesting hazelnuts for their own use and that they could provide a little morning shade when they planted that tree/bush. Did they know about the medicinal properties of the Hawthorne or did they just want to add more summer shade? I like how this connects me to the history of my house and to sustainable urban lawnscaping today. It's a full circle kinda thing. A thing to remind us that some not so new knowledge is better knowledge.