Devonian Botanic Garden – High Tea

A few weeks ago my BFF (best friend forever) invited me to take high tea with her and her mother at the Devonian Botanic Garden. A few weeks ago, it seemed like a good idea.

Yesterday I woke up to pouring rain. This wasn’t a light smattering that seemed likely to taper off as the sun rose higher in the sky. No, this rain seemed biblical.

Good thing I own a long, yellow slicker.

Crazy face

We did not, in fact, cancel for my BFF is an adventurous soul and I am the sort not to waste a $34 ticket. We tromped about in the rain, the pouring rain, in our rain gear for 2 1/2 hours before high tea and thoroughly enjoyed ourselves!

There’s this tipping point where discomfort becomes hilarity and we reached it almost immediately. If it had been a light sprinkling of rain, we might have grumbled at having to lug rain gear around just in case it started to pour. With a downpour you’re happy you brought the gear, you don’t mind if the hem of your trousers is soaked because the rest of you is dry, and it’s just SO SILLY to be looking at flowers in the rain that you can’t help but smile and enjoy yourself.

You also appreciate hot tea and biscuits a lot more after you’ve been in the rain for 2+ hours.

Tables, for High Tea, were assigned by name and our table was called the Red-tail Hawks table. I was pleased to note we had the most bad-ass table in the canvas-walled space. I was even a bit smug about it. I may have made hawk noises and pretended to swoop down on my tea cup. I’m not sure I’m ready for tea at the Rutherford House.

A three-tiered serving device was brought to our table laden with delicious tid-bits.

High tea

There were exactly enough of each tid-bit that each person in our party got one of everything to try. Let me use the powers of my foody-brain to remember what was on each tier:

  • Bottom Tier:
    • egg salad sandwich, rolled like a jelly roll and sliced, with a small bit of cornichon (gherkin) pickle in the center
    • chicken salad with dried cranberries in a miniature croissant
    • spinach and what appeared to be an herbed, Boursin cheese on multi-grain raisin bread
    • cucumber sprout sandwiches… and I failed to note if the crusts were cut off or not
  • Middle Tier (assume everything mentioned is miniature):
    • red velvet cupcake
    • lemon tart with whipped cream, not meringue
    • some form of not-too-sweet brittle
    • chocolate tart shells filled with custard and topped with three blueberries
    • cream puff filled with mocha-cream and drizzled with chocolate
  • Top Tier:
    • chocolate dipped strawberries
    • a skewer with a cantaloupe melon ball and a lychee (?) rolled in toasted coconut
    • beautifully moist scones served with bright and tasty raspberry butter and delicate whipped cream (I had thought clotted cream, but after thinking about it, I think it was just whipped)

Stuffed, exhausted, and in dire need of a nap, we availed ourselves of the free shuttle service back to the entrance of the garden. As we waddled to our car, I couldn’t help but reflect that it had been a perfect day, and that the pouring rain had been a big factor in it.

More of my photos including ones from the butterfly house and the Japanese garden.

Devonian Botanic Garden – High Tea
  • Liz

    OMGGGG I’m writhing in envy of everything but being soaked. Though I bet that did make the tea even more warming and enjoyable. Miss doing high tea!!!

    • Tammy Lee

      It did make the tea even better! It was Earl Grey tea, which I normally despise, but I was so happy for a hot beverage I happily drank three or four cups!

      I think the most uncomfortable part of the day was walking around in the humid butterfly house in our rain gear. Ick!

  • mjj

    yay for everything except mini-servings. I have always wanted to GORGE at a high tea.

    • Tammy Lee

      Haha! Yes! There were so many tasty things I’d like to have had more of.

  • This sounds like a fantastic time. I’ve been to high tea at The Tea Room in Savannah. I loved it, it’s a great experience. Everyone should own a long yellow slicker so they can look at flowers in the rain. ^____^

    • Tammy Lee

      Aw, yes! There was something romantic about wearing a slicker in the rain and looking at all the beautiful vegetation.

      I would do high tea again without hesitation. It was a wonderful experience!

  • Hi Tammy Lee – thanks for the great write-up on High Tea at the Devonian Botanic Garden. We’re glad you had a good time despite the rain! Is there a way we can contact you… thanks!

    • Tammy Lee

      Oh my goodness! You’re welcome. I had a wonderful time!

      Feel free to drop me an email at tammalee@gmail.com