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avatar for Christine Parks

Christine Parks

Camellia Forest Tea Gardens
Owner/Operator
Christine Parks, Ph.D. is the founder/operator of Camellia Forest Tea Gardens in Chapel Hill, North Carolina, and the author of Grow Your Own Tea: The Complete Guide to Cultivating, Harvesting, and Processing (Timber Press, 2020).
Christine Parks is a frequent speaker promoting homegrown and local tea production from Camellia sinensis. As a scientist, she has a love of learning and teaching and enjoys sharing her passion for growing tea with audiences of all backgrounds. Over the past 20 years, Christine has witnessed a steady growth of individuals raising tea and seeking knowledge on best practices for cultivation and processing, which inspired her book, Grow Your Own Tea: A Complete Guide to Growing, Harvesting, and Processing tea (Timber press, 2020). Together with her coauthor, Susan Walcott, Christine interviewed growers throughout North America, Hawaii, and the United Kingdom, recording their experiences, successes, and challenges. She is inspired by this expanding movement ranging from farmers striving to build a U.S. Tea Industry to home gardeners raising tea for the pleasure of watching this amazing camellia go from garden to tea cup. 
 
America’s Tea Sage, James Norwood Pratt declared: "Grow Your Own Tea is truly a masterpiece how-to guide to cultivating and enjoying the sacred leaf. Christine and Susan have planted a landmark in our horticultural history and a milestone on America's path to becoming a tea-consuming society. It will delight even the armchair gardener and casual tea lover."
Christine also grows and makes her own tea in Chapel Hill, North Carolina. Together with her husband, Christine founded Camellia Forest Tea Gardens to house its diverse collection of Camellia sinensis germplasm from around the world and to inspire and educate gardeners and tea lovers alike, through tours, workshops, and events. She has nurtured the garden in its current location since 2006 and continues to expand her collection of cultivars and new plantings. Surrounded by the gardens, guests and friends gather for tea in the beloved “shady grove,” and a new Community Tea Studio (opening Fall, 2023) will soon house year-round classes and events, and increased capacity for processing tea from Camellia Forest and other local growers.