I've never been much of a tea drinker. I have sampled many times the teas in the little boxes from the grocery store, trying to understand why people seem to like them so much. They were always so bland and tasteless, even if I used three or four bags. I even went so far as to find a local bulk tea shop, and bought several types that appealed to me. Most of them just can't compete with my heavenly dark brewed, packed with flavor, beloved coffee. I gave up, and decided the Brits could have my share.
However, when I began to grow my own herbs, a really wonderful thing happened; I found that my homegrown teas were packed with flavor. In addition, if you are using teas as medicine, using fresh plant material is a better way to acess the medicinal qualities.
For an even more interesting tea, try adding fruit peels such as apple, lemon or orange. I save my fruit peels for just this purpose. Find some local honey as well, and you can create all sorts of heathful, helpful powerhouses.
A tea garden is a delightful hobby that can complement the rest of your herb garden and will provide you with the joy of fresh herbal teas, more properly known as herbal infusions or tisanes, at a moment's notice. Creating a tea garden in a container can also make a perfect gift for somebody. References to "tea" below should be understood to refer to herbal tea.
Peppermint - this is a perennial favorite for many people. Its refreshing taste is uplifting and cleansing, as well as wonderful for stomach troubles of all kinds. Peppermint is generally very easy to grow and enjoys sunny and semi-shaded spots. Grows very, very easily and unless you want it escaping across the garden, keep it pot-bound. The leaves are the part used for making tea.
Lavender - a delightful, softly fragrant tisane that is perfect for soothing, especially recommended for reducing tension and soothing headaches. Lavender grows well in full sun, well-drained soil . Lavender buds are the part of the plant used for tea.
Lemon Verbena - a refreshing and tangy lemony taste comes packed in these simple but easy-to-grow leaves. It needs full sun and will not tolerate harsh winters, so keep it pot-bound if that's a danger in your area. The leaves are the part used for tea.
Rose Hips - rose hips are the seed cases for roses. They are extremely high in vitamin C and are very good for you. Rose hips will form once the rose bush goes to seed. The rose hips should be deep orange-red before harvesting. Clean the rose hips gently before steeping.
Marjoram - this herb has a fruity, citrus flavor and an undertone of mint. It grows well in full sun to semi-shade.
Leaves and flowers are suitable for steeping.
Pick the leaves or flowers. The best time of day for this is just after the dew has dried but before the heat of the sun begins to draw the oils out of the plant.
Prepare the leaves. Leaves should be bruised to release their essential oils . Do this by rubbing them together.
Make the tea. Add the herbs to a teapot or directly to a mug or cup. For each cup of tea, add approximately 2 to 3 teaspoons of fresh leaves and/or flowers. Slice rose hips in half before adding.
Allow to steep for 5 minutes. This will ensure that the flavors are released and the full benefits of the herb's or flower's qualities are available.
Read more about teas as gifts, choosing the right soil and/or pots for herb growing, and additional herbs to grow and use at http://www.wikihow.com/Grow-an-Herbal-Tea-Garden.