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Sunday, March 29, 2009

Afternoon Tea in the Garden with Portland from Glendora and Angel Face Roses

Afternoon Tea in the Garden with Portland from Glendora and Angel Face Roses 1

Recently, while I was tending to my roses, the middle '87 walked by with her dog, Kujo, the "killer" golden retriever. :P

I had finally gotten around to setting up my garden space -- potting my roses and putting together my patio table. It's not quite there yet, I still have a few plants that need proper pots and it's not quite blooming season for the roses. I let Kujo go off-leash in the yard, where he promptly rolled around and then proceeded to eat tufts of grass.

My cousin asked about the roses and I pointed them out by name.

"You gave them names?" she asked, slightly amused, especially since all she could see were thorns and leaves.

No. I don't give them names, they already have them.

"Oh. How can you tell them apart?"

Growth habits. Types of stems. Types of leaves. It's easier after they've bloomed.


Then she put the leash back on her dog and took him home for a bath. And that was that.

Until lil' sis said my cousin strongly hinted that she ask me if I would do a barbecue in the yard. Specifically, if I'd make Carne Asada. I said there wasn't time for a barbecue, but I could defrost my last container of Chicken Liver Pate and we could do an afternoon tea in the garden. My cousin brought over half a loaf of thick, dense Albertson's French bread. I deigned it unworthy of my pate and she tucked it back into her purse.

With one thing or another, spring break flew by and lil' sis went back to school. So on my cousin's last day in town, after work, I ran to Kiki Bakery - Alhambra to buy a chocolate swirl bun and a mini chocolate cake, and Banh Me & Che Cali Restaurant - Alhambra for a proper baguette. I caught her while she was out walking Kujo again and invited her over for afternoon tea. She rounded up her youngest brother and the older '88 and we had an impromptu afternoon tea, in the garden, amongst Portland from Glendora and Angel Face roses.

I had to insist that everyone sniff Portland from Glendora, one of the five roses that Nikki Polani so generously gave me. It's fast become one of my favorites. It's truly a lovely old-fashioned rose with a heady fragrance that my modern roses can't replicate.

Afternoon Tea in the Garden with Portland from Glendora and Angel Face Roses 2

Afternoon Tea in the Garden with Portland from Glendora and Angel Face Roses 3

I brewed pots of smoky green and black teas. Whole leaf, of course. My cousins snapped a few photos with their cell phones until they realized the photos would look nicer after I finished arranging the table just so.

Afternoon Tea in the Garden with Portland from Glendora and Angel Face Roses 4

The middle '87 told the older '88 to ask me about my roses and their names.

"You named your roses?"

My cousins are used to my oddities, but apparently this naming of roses was simply too quirky for them.

And who knew they were such pate fiends? Among the four of us, but actually more between the two of them, we polished off the whole baguette.

The older '88 asked me for directions on how to make it. The middle '87 promptly told her that my pate recipe, and many more, are all available on the blog. She's been cooking from the blog, you see.

We gave the middle '87's brother apple juice. The tea cups were one of my thrift store finds, $2 a set. Real Churchill China, made in England, not the knock-offs from elsewhere with poor quality transferware. Supposedly, the Blue Willow pattern tells the story of two star-crossed Chinese lovers who fled to be together, drowning when their boat capsized, and were reincarnated as doves.

Afternoon Tea in the Garden with Portland from Glendora and Angel Face Roses 5

That's Angel Face peeking in the back.

Afternoon Tea in the Garden with Portland from Glendora and Angel Face Roses 6

The only thing missing were the Cucumber Sandwiches like our last tea party. I guess we'll just have to have another tea party then.

Afternoon Tea in the Garden with Portland from Glendora and Angel Face Roses 7

Other tea party posts:
Thanksgiving Leftovers Afternoon Tea
Would You Care for a Spot of Tea?

1 year ago today, Baccali Cafe and Rotisserie - Alhambra redux.
2 years ago today, the prettiest Cobb Salad ever.


  1. What wonderful reporting. It's lovely to hear of families who enjoy each others company. Your photographs are, as usual, spectacular. The roses - I can't say enough good things about your roses.

  2. The portland is gorgeous! almost peony-like.

  3. Impromptu parties are definitely the best. Now I'm going to have to look up the recipe for your chicken liver pate. I remember reading about how you paid some ridiculously low sum for the little livers.

    I'm a push-over for old-fashioned roses. They remind me of peonies. Since those don't grow in So. Cal., they're the next best thing.

    My roses are budding, but no beautiful blooms yet.

    (My WV is aftiver, which I think is short for "after the liver.")

  4. I have never seen this type of rose before...so beautiful!!

  5. i adore tea parties! and i love this post because it's about your tea party. and for the record, you don't have oddities. i think it's perfectly normal that your precious roses have names. my most loved things have names.

  6. When you said your cousins were quirked by you naming your roses, I thought you named them "Maria", "Angela" or "Christine". . .LOL Your tea party sounds like the perfect way to spend an afternoon.

  7. Great detailed post:). Some of those place settings and cups look familiar to me, like the green cup and saucer.
    The Portland from Glendora rose looks so beautiful with the many petals! Your photo looks good enough for an art gallery :).

  8. Sounds like a great ladies tea time :)

  9. This post reminds me of a recent Simpsons episode when Bart and Lisa are having an imaginary tea party.

    Bart Simpson: I don't know why I agreed to this.

    Lisa Simpson: Because you like the taste of my imaginary tea.

    Bart Simpson: Oh, you're right.

  10. I love tea parties. I should plan them more often. Beautiful roses...wish I had a green thumb...

  11. Your roses look fragrant indeed! Looks like an especially delicious afternoon tea and in your own yard too - how cool!

  12. Mary,
    My family hangs out together a little bit too much sometimes. :P I really must give credit to Nikki Polani for the lovely Portland from Glendora rose. Hopefully, they'll all come into bloom soon so I can show off some more pictures.

    I love overblown blooms like that.

    I love tea parties. 50 cents for the chicken livers. :)

    My peonies are growing quite nicely so hopefully I'll get another bloom this year. Singular. Because it seems like I only get one bloom a year from them, but I'll take what I can get.

    Sometimes the word verifications are funny indeed.

    I never heard of this rose before either!

    Haha. Just you wait, lady. I have tons of oddities. ;) I do name my cars.

    I guess it would have been simpler to give them easy names, but as I said, they already have names. ;)

    Yup, I rotate out my tea sets.


    Well, it's a girl's tea party.

    Haha. Imaginary tea is delicious indeed.

    Screamin' Mama,
    Roses are easy to grow. I don't have much of a green thumb either.


    Thanks. It was a nice relaxing afternoon.

  13. I love ladies tea parties.

    Angel Face is beautiful!

    I buy plants because of their name, plus I believe all the advertising - blooms the size of tea cups, etc. My yard is too small and dark for roses but I bought a few to plant in my MIL's garden - one of them is "Maiden's Blush" or in French, Cuisse de Nymph. I also grew plants that were the subject of poets and painters. Mostly I grow the hardy rugosa roses.

  14. Christine,
    Oh! I love the French name. Sounds so romantic. I'm imagining a country cottage garden with roses and peonies spilling all over.


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