A beautiful rug, sparkling silver, and brilliant flowers: the scene is set for garden tea outside the Flynn Mansion. On a lovely Sunday afternoon in July, several staff members, interns, and volunteers created their own garden tea on the lovely grounds outside the mansion. Tea was a popular beverage in Victorian America, but it was traditionally taken indoors. However, on a lovely spring or summer afternoon, the garden could provide a picturesque alternative location.
Victorians loved to bring nature inside their homes displaying plants, shells, images of flowers and animals, etc. However, did you know that they also brought the indoors outside? Yes, even down to an ornate rug, the entire parlor tea scene was brought outdoors. In doing so, one could enjoy nature in a controlled way while still adhering to the strict rules of etiquette that characterized the Victorian Era. Of course, it did not hurt that a lady could also show off her gardening and baking talents at the same time. Guests would be treated to beautiful views of flowers, the shade of lovely trees, and delicious treats from the hostess’s kitchen. Tea was often served with an assortment of cakes and sandwiches.
At our tea, we served lemon cake with raspberries decorating the top in addition to an assortment of cucumber, ham, and egg sandwiches. The delicacies were served by one of our talented interns playing the role of maid, while others sat down to a lovely afternoon observance of a delightful Victorian custom. We hope you can join us for our next Garden Tea.
Submitted by Kathlee Yates, Judy Jabaay