Tuesday, August 23, 2011

English Afternoon Tea, California Style

This year somehow we have not been so much outside just enjoying the garden, rather than working in it.  Whereas last year, as far as I have it in mind, we were outside whenever possible and were having almost all our meals and afternoon teas on the terrace on the weekends. I want to get back to that at least for the rest of the outdoor season here in Southern California, which means basically until the rainy season in winter sets in.

One of the highlights of our outdoor living last year has been an English Afternoon Tea that my husband and I did just for the two of us on the Fourth of July weekend 2010. Today I would like to show you some photos of that English Afternoon Tea and the view into the garden from our sitting area where we used to sit most of the time last year. 

(you can click on the photos to enlarge)

Life was good! Just looking at the photos I want to do a proper English Afternoon Tea immediately, again. The area of the planting beds by the fence has changed quite a bit because the plants, especially the roses have grown so much. Somehow the beds by the fence facing the open space area behind our property looked much more tidy last year than it does now. Maybe because the plants had not grown into each other as much as they do now? What I do not like seeing the picture today are all the plants potted up in black plastic containers. Most of the once lining up the grassy area to the left of the terrace are banned to my pot ghetto, which is located to the South West side of the house now. I would love to start another rose bed to the left side of the terrace, the roses are already there to do it.

One of the reasons, I guess, why we avoided the year to sit down outside for a quick tea or coffee you can see on the photo above. Roses have taken our seats! This spring we had a terrible problem with most likely rabbits eating the small own-root roses growing in the one or two gallon pots. Therefore I put all my roses up on anything that was available so that the rabbits could not reach them anymore. It is just a little bit inconvenient to clear the chairs and the bench before we can have a seat ourselves.

Anyway, back to the English Afternoon Tea pictures from last year. On the next three photos I would like to show you the content of the three tired stand a little bit more closely.

The first plate holds cucumber sandwiches, decorated with black olives, fresh cucumber slices and mint sprigs. 

The second tier presents homemade savory scones with chicken salad containing red peppers spiced with curry served on salad leaves and garnished with dates.


The third tier was filled with the same savory scones but this time presented as little burgers. They are filled with battered baked chicken pieces with tomato slices on top and watercress as a garnish.

In addition to that we had homemade sweet scones formed in heart shapes and lemon poppy seed cake served with fresh whipped cream and orange jam...

...and a bowl of fresh berries (raspberries, strawberries, and black berries) to go with them. All these goodies were enjoyed together with a good quality organic Darjeeling tea.

Gosh, when I look at the photo I really think we spoiled ourselves. But why not? I hope we do at least one more English Afternoon Tea this year!

How about you? Do you take the time to sit down and have your tea or coffee in the garden just enjoying all the beauty you have created? Are you doing traditional English Afternoon Teas outdoors?

See you in the garden!



  1. Christina ~ What a lovely tea and the view is splendid. I can definitely see a rose bed there in the sunshine next to the terrace area. You already have the roses too, that's a big plus. I know you will enjoy working this bed.

    I'd love to have your recipe for savory scones, your sweet scones and the lemon poppy seed cake too.

    It's been way too hot and humid to do much of anything outside down here. Some afternoons we have a cup of herbal tea sitting in the air-conditioning. :-)

    Enjoy all that beauty you have surrounding you.

    Thank you for your kind comments left on my blog.

    Hugs ~ FlowerLady

  2. What a great idea - and your presentation is so pretty! Each serving looks so beautifully and meticulously crafted. What a wonderful experience, I am sure. Unfortunately, we don't enjoy the outside like we should. I occasionally sit on a bench to rest when working outdoors! You have such a breathtaking view. I could imagine sitting there for hours enjoying it.

  3. Great Afternoon Tea ! I love the way you arranged everything . Gest perfect .

  4. O wow it looks wonderful. Only thing is the swimming pool is too nice and makes me long for tea in a hotter climate! I would love to see the view form there:~)

  5. FlowerLady, thanks for your kind comment! Glad you like the photos from our English Afternoon Tea and the view of our backyard. I am afraid that I can not find the recipes that you would like to get anymore. As far as I remember they came all from different sources in the internet and partly we improvised, but I will see what I can do. If I find something I will e-mail it to you!

    Holley, thanks for your nice comment! My husband and I had a lot of fun working on the presentation of this tea, but we really needed time to do this! So not for everyday life! Yes, you can get lost in our view and suddenly a good chunk of time is just gone, but it is so relaxing.

    Dani, thanks, happy you like the way we presented the tea.

    Foxglove Lane, thank you! Can you imagine that we hardly ever use the swimming pool? Maybe in future post I will take some pics of the view from rim of the pool, good idea! Thanks! Just have to be careful that I don't take an unintended dip ;-)!


  6. What a lovely setting and and afternoon tea. You've even cut the crusts of the cucumber sandwiches.WE do sit out sometimes but often it's not warm enough.
    Wonderful header photo, Christina.

  7. Janet, thanks for visiting my blog! Regarding taking of the crusts of the sandwiches, that was the way they were served in England, so we just tried to get it right ;-)! I am glad that you like my header photo.


  8. A lovely setting for a fine tea! And that view? Simply gorgeous!!

  9. TheGardeningBlog, thanks for stopping bye and leaving this nice comment!