The Seniors Tea

pensioners tea 2008

Our first open garden day, next Friday, starts at 2pm in the afternoon. “But why not open the five gardens to the public in the morning?” people have asked.

Mystery solved:  The morning is given over to the Seniors Tea. Now in its eighth year, the tea is aimed at local seniors and pensioners who love gardens, but who are unable to manage traffic congestion, and who do not get out to enjoy them.

Liz Simpson, a Soroptomist and member of the Constantia Valley Garden Club, contacts about 15 local retirement homes and a contact for Zimbabwe Seniors, to advertise the event, which is open to all seniors regardless of whether they are in a retirement home or not.

Soroptimist International is a world-wide organization working for the upliftment of women and children. Liz’s club is Cape of Good Hope. The organization was originally started in America over a hundred years ago, when women were not allowed to belong to Rotary (!). There are now seven federations, and clubs all over the world.

For the Seniors Tea, Soroptimists supply transport where necessary, the eats, and help with serving tea. In 2012 a record number of 200 Seniors visited in the morning.

Two gardens are opened, one for tea (Carol‘s) and the other where plants are for sale (Rosemarie‘s) from 10am-12pm.

Then follows a very speedy clean up, with fresh tablecloths, fresh water on the boil, and the setting up of hundreds of cakes, sandwiches and muffins for the teas to come, when the thirsty ticket-holding visitors arrive at 2pm.

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The Famous Sandwich Makers

Latiefah and Fatima make a formidable sandwich-making team.

To give you an idea, for 2012’s Open Gardens tea, each day’s service required 31 loaves of bread, bought fresh that morning. The Famous Sandwich Makers transformed the bread into tea sandwiches for garden visitors.

For 2014 (at Carol’s garden this year), when more visitors are expected, Latiefah and Fatima’s hands will be flying even faster.

In addition to sandwiches, there will be at least 680 muffins and small cakes, and (at least) 1 400 slices of chocolate, lemon and carrot cake, all homemade by members of the participating garden clubs.

Tea is included in the OGC ticket price, though donations are optional at the tea garden. Members of the garden clubs work in two hour shifts through the day to serve tea, and four helpers are employed to help with preparing and washing up.

We can’t wait to see you.