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Jessica’s Garden: Keeping Busy with Homemade Gifts


I had an epiphany recently that I have a hard time saying no, but I am okay with this. My husband has told me in the past that I’m a ‘constant project.’ Whatever that means. Even at 38 weeks pregnant, I feel constantly on the move. While nesting hasn’t been as successful as I have hoped for, with the house in a constant state of some level of renovation and chaos, I’ve been keeping busy elsewhere. Because inevitably whenever I decide to clean or dust a space top to bottom, something requires sanding or worse, and my work is immediately undone.

In between taking on a few large custom orders of hand stamped linens, I have also been working on arranging a series of end-of-the-year client gifts. As I’ve mentioned in posts past, I work part time for my mother as her Landscape Design Assistant. For four years now, I have produced gifts for the holidays for her clients. She lets me basically have free reign and pull together something rustic and homemade. In years past, it’s always been a basket of jams and jellies. This year, I mixed things up a bit by compiling a simple gift bag of homemade Peach Butter, homegrown Lemongrass Tea and a hand stamped flour sack tea towel. We try to stick to items that will be useable or consumable.

The lemongrass tea is one of my favorites. Having to be conscious of how much caffeine I consume at the moment, I tend to drink a cup of this tea in the afternoons when I’m looking for something a little bit more exciting than water. Lemongrass has a delicious and delicate lemon flavor. Coming from an English family, I grew up on plain old English Breakfast Tea and as a general rule do not care for all the flavored and fruity blends. But something about this one I really enjoy. And most importantly, my English mother approves and drinks it too. We decided it would be a nice addition to the client gifts this year, given the obscene amount of lemongrass I grew this year and dried a couple of weeks ago.  The dried lemongrass on its own makes a nice tea, but I also make a blend that’s great too.


Lemongrass Tea Blend
1 C Dried Lemongrass Leaves; cut into 1″ segments
1 C Loose Green Tea
2 Tbsp Dried Pineapple Sage Blossoms
1/4 C Chopped and Dried Orange Peel

Combine all ingredients and store in an air-tight container. I use mason jars. Steep one heaping tablespoon of tea leaves for 8-10 mins in hot water. Add honey to taste.

Posted By: Jessica J. Crawford Behnkes Garden Blogger

Stephanie Fleming was raised at Behnke’s Nurseries in Beltsville. Her Mom, Sonja, was one of Albert & Rose Behnke’s four children. She was weeding from the moment she could walk and hiding as soon as she was old enough to run, so many weeds, so little time. Although she quickly learned how to pull out a perennial and get taken off of weed pulling duty.

This Post Has 2 Comments

  1. Hi Ann

    I did a little searching around the internet this afternoon for a source and was not able to find one. There are lots of online companies and even Amazon that have suppliers for dried herbs, but this one is certainly not a common one to try and find. As I grow and dry my own, unfortunately I do not have a source to recommend to you. However, I will say, I mostly add the pineapple sage flowers for the color it offers the tea blend. I honestly don’t think you would miss it if you skipped it. Most of the flavor comes from the dried lemongrass leaves and then is complimented by the orange peel and green tea. The pineapple sage doesn’t contribute all that much personally, other than aesthetics. I’m sorry I couldn’t be more helpful on a source, but the tea is certainly worth trying with or without the flowers. Thank you for reading!

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