Bold Color & Tea

Jan 18, 2016

SocalCamSocDuring some mundane moment—perhaps maneuvring through another twisting, tiny-tiny Trader Joe’s parking lot or balancing on the top of the step ladder while on tippy-toes trying to reach the cobwebs with a faux feather-shedding duster—and as we were entering what is defined as middle age, it finally dawned on us that A. A. Milne’s characters momma Kanga and baby Roo, had names that when joined spell the marsupial they are, kangaroos. We think we actually cowered in shame even though were alone at the time, though it was not uttered aloud.

This is humiliating to reveal in public, but perhaps it explains this other tidbit about which we were ignorant: Camellia sinsensis leaves and leaf buds produce tea. As in all tea. As in our English friend’s favorite, Taylors of Harrogate Yorkshire Red; PG Tips that we first tasted in Johannesburg, South Africa; the herbal teas we are willing to endure like lemon and ginger, orange spice, and blackberry pomegranate; and even our household teenager’s favorite, Trader Joe’s Candy Cane Green Tea. Camellia sinsensis is the primary source of all teas. (We guess what we can salvage from this pitiful admission is that this ol’ dog can learn new tricks, though it seems more appropriate to conclude that our cognitive function has never been highly tuned.)

White tea, green tea, oolong, pu-erh tea and black tea are all harvested from this species, but are processed differently to attain different levels of oxidation.




On January 30 and 31, Descanso Gardens hosts the 2016 Camellia & Tea Festival.

Below, find the schedule of activities for both Saturday and Sunday, free with admission unless noted.

Chado Tea tasting, both days, 10 a.m.-2 p.m.: Sample a variety of teas and learn about tea plants (Camellia sinensis) from the experts at Chado Tea of Pasadena.
—Camellia crafts, both days, 10 a.m.-2 p.m.: Bring the youngsters for hands-on art activities.
—Camellia walks, both days, 10 a.m. and 12:30 p.m.: Take a guided walk of the Descanso camellia collection.
Invertigo Dance Theatre, both days, 10:30 a.m. and 1 p.m.: Enter a world of motion with Invertigo Dance Theatre. Enjoy a performance of dance and live music, followed by an interactive workshop.
—Camellia Lounge, both days, 11 a.m.-3 p.m.: Enjoy a proper tea with Patina. Tea service available for purchase includes choice of tea with a mini tea sandwich plate. Other snacks and items will also be sold.


Photo by Invertigo Dance Theater

Photo by Invertigo Dance Theatre


Please note: The Camellia & Tea Festival will be part of the Museum’s Free-For-All Day on January 30th. Admission will be free of charge for that one day. Check out all the museums participating at




2016 Camellia & Tea Festival
Saturday-Sunday, Jan. 30-31, times vary
Descanso Gardens, 1418 Descanso Dr., La Cañada Flintridge 91011
For more info, visit




Photo by Martha Benedict

Photo by Martha Benedict




Photo, top right, red camellia from SoCal Camellia Society via Descanso Gardens.

Illustration by Franz Eugen Köhler, Köhler’s Medizinal-Pflanzen (List of Koehler Images) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons.

Photo, white camellia, by Reji Jacob at ml.wikipedia [CC BY 3.0 (], via Wikimedia Commons.

Photo, pink camellia, by Martha Benedict for Descanso Gardens.

Photo below, tea plantation, by Martin Benjamin (Own work) [GFDL ( or CC-BY-SA-3.0 (], via Wikimedia Commons.







Flintridge Books

Lyd and Mo Photography

Louis Jane Studios

Homage Pasadena