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Combat Loneliness With Tea With Friends

Three Dog Night once sang “One is the loneliest number that you’ll ever do.”

It’s been 50 years since that song was released, and yet the line still resonates today.

Although we are more connected than ever through texting and social media, we have become lonelier human beings.

Being lonely

Earlier this year, MDLinx, which is a news service for physicians, went so far as to call loneliness “an epidemic.” It affects nearly up to 47 percent of adults, doubling the amount nearly a decade ago.

A 2018 survey from The Economist and the Kaiser Family Foundation (KFF) found that more than 2 in 10 adults in the United States and the United Kingdom said they often or always feel lonely, feel that they lack companionship, feel left out or feel isolated from others, and many of them say their loneliness has had a negative impact on various aspects of their life.

To help combat loneliness, the U.K.-based Marmalade Trust launched in 2017 Loneliness Awareness Week. This year the week was June 17-22. The vision of the Marmalade Trust is to create a society where loneliness is recognized openly as something likely to affect us all and at some point in our lives.

Here in the U.S., we have National Cheer Up the Lonely Day, which is celebrated every year on July 11. Just like Loneliness Awareness Week, it encourages people to connect with others as a way to be less lonely.

Loneliness can be caused by a number of things: physical, mental or even financial health. And it doesn’t matter what age, the study found. Although loneliness is often associated with seniors, studies tell us that millennials — who are often thought as the most “connected” — feel lonely as well.

And if you look at the data collected during the 2015 General Social Survey, it’s sad. The survey found that the number of Americans with no close friends has tripled since 1985. Often, the answer was “zero” for the number of close friends or confidants. 

KFF reported that the reason for the loneliness is because of lack of social support. Friends and families live farther away is a main reason. The other is that if they do have any social connections, it’s because of the lack of a deeper connection.

Combating loneliness

But how can you combat loneliest? It’s simple, reach out and connect.

One of the best ways we know to connect is through tea time, of course!

The idea of having tea is more than just an excuse to eat small sandwiches and to sip tea. It’s a time to share stories, laugh and to drink a nice cup of tea. Most importantly, it’s a chance to reconnect.

We have a great idea on how to combat that loneliness over a cup of tea or even a tea party.

• Invite people you barely know. Include neighbors you only wave at in the hallway or over the hedge. You’ll be amazed at how much you have in common.

• Ask everyone to bring their favorite tea with enough to share. You’ll be able to sample different teas as well as hear stories on why each flavor is his or her favorite.

 • Encourage your guests to bring their favorite tea cup. Ask them to share a story on why it’s their favorite, where they got it and the history behind it.

• Milk, tea, sugar, honey, plain? Play a guessing game with your guests. For those who either just use sugar or honey get to try milk. It’s about exploring new things and maybe having a laugh or two.

• Make a plan. The night of the first event, go ahead and set the next date for your tea party plan to  go to a tea house or a movie, or whatever the group decides. Having something to look forward to encourages you to keep in touch with your new group.

Loneliness can easily turn into depression. If you are having trouble sleeping; notice a change in eating habits (too much or too little); there’s a change in behavior such as being more agitated; can’t concentration or are having weight loss/gain, please seek a mental health professional.

But we hope that on July 11, you want to reach out to someone and celebrate National Cheer Up the Lonely Day with a great conversation over a cup of tea.

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How Tea Helps Roses

Nature is wondrous. Every element in it helps the other in nature. The sun helps the trees, which in turn feeds the air. And so, the circle continues every day.

If you think about it, then, using tea leaves to help in the growth of roses shouldn’t be that strange at all. Both tea and roses are said to have originated in China. The Chinese believe in Ying and Yang, and, in a way, that’s what tea and roses are to each other.

Tea leaves offer several benefits to help roses flourish. One is that tea, which comes from the cameilla sinesis plant, naturally has caffeine, among other nutrients. The caffeine can help to stimulate the soil, which helps roses.

Tea also has tannins, which is acidic. In order for roses to grow and thrive, roses must have slightly acidic soil in order to grow. Other elements that roses need in its soil is nitrogen and potassium. Tea continues nitrogen and potassium.

It’s as if Mother Nature knew what she was doing!

Experts tell us that tea leaves alone can’t help roses thrive, but they are a great addition to specially mixed rose fertilizers. However, any longtime gardener believes in the power of tea with roses.

Growing roses

Roses, as most gardeners would agree, are ones that need constant care and tending — from watering and pruning to spraying and deadheading. They are a finicky plant that requires a lot of work, but the rewards are beautiful.

When planting roses, the first step is finding a nice sunny spot six to eight hours daily. Soil too must be just the correct format for the roses — loose, acidic and well-drained. This is where tea can help. Soil for roses must be between 6.2 to 6.8 pH; tea has 6.37 pH.

Roses need to be watered often, and they collect water through leaves or the roots. By watering roses with cooled tea can help supplement the water that roses so desperately need. One inch of water a week is needed at first. Between June and August, roses have to be watered every day. The hotter the temperatures, the more water is needed. Soil needs to be wet, but not water-logged.

Because roses tend to attract fungal diseases it’s best to do the watering in the cooler morning hours. During this time, inspect the rose for bugs, molds, etc., and clean them off.

Tea leaves can be used, too, as a mulch. However, because roses are susceptible to diseases, it’s best to mulch a couple of inches away from the roots. Using mulch with roses helps to keep the water in the soil as much as possible. And because tea retains moisture, it will slowly add the moisture to the rose’s soil.

For more great tips on growing roses, go to https://www.davidaustinroses.com/us/advice-and-inspiration/the-basics-of-growing-roses

Drinking tea and roses

We sell a fine rose flavored tea called Rose Congou, which is a supple, firm non-broken black tea from China layered with fragrant, pink rose petals. This mellow, sweet-tasting tea, with a balance of strength, flavor and wonderful perfumed aroma is ideal for drinking in the mid-afternoon. Find it here: https://larkintea.com/product/rose-congou/

If you would like to try to make your own rose tea, the following is a simple recipe:

Rose tea

  • 1 cup of freshly cut or dried rose petals/blossoms
  • 3 cups of water (hot, but not boiling)
  • 1/4 cup black tea leaves
  • Honey, to taste

Before using fresh rose petals, rinse thoroughly.

In a saucepan, add hot water, roses, and tea leaves. Cover and steep for 5 minutes.

Strain the rose petals. Add honey for taste. Serve.