A Midsummer Night's Dream

Front Row - Left to Right: Pat Borysiewicz (takes all the photos), Kathy Fairel (keeps the teapots full), Back Row - Left to Right: Leslie Layman (our Canadian opera singer), Rosemary Carley (also Canadian best sandwiches), Karen Woodard (our herbalist and master gardener), Penny Radovicic (queen of scones), Shirley Richey (very good with florals and centerpieces)

Karen S. Woodard
Ocoee, Florida

The flowerbeds were tidy and in bloom as I had just had an herbal garden walk for our herb society. However, being a gardener, I still wanted to show off my antique roses and herbs. I know what I will do, I will have a tea party! And as I sat having my morning brew, I decided on a date that was "do-able" for my friends. The date was June 21st, 2001, which happened to be the summer solstice. Well, why not make it a Shakespearean tea, based on a "Midsummer Nights Dream".

The invitations I used came from a Christian book store that used 16th century type and were just perfect. I called my violin teacher, Katherine Rodgers, and asked if the Jubilation String Quartet could play at the tea. This party actually took on a life of its own! Everything went smoothly and I even made a May pole and stitched up a costume for the amusement of my guests.

The tea began at 11:30 a.m. with the strings playing Allegro by Hayden. The ladies, dressed in their interpretation of a Midsummer Night's costumes, then went on to recite their one liners from this Shakesperean play. We then proceeded to banquet tables. The lunch consisted of things from the garden and a menu was placed for us to read: Sorrel-In-Pastry, tomatoes, cucumbers, rose petal tea, a summer pudding with plum sauce, chocolate orange mint pie, fairy cakes, lavender blossom cake, and lemon verbena cookies. There was also fowl and breads from the baker in the next village served with rose petal butter. And, according to the time, there was no need for napkins as a dogee would walk by soon!

This tea was the best that I will ever give. My friends and I learned so much and laughed about the etiquette of this time period. The gardens and the music also shared the same time period. The only way that we could end this afternoon was by our friend, Penny, saying that the next tea had to be a paper cup affair. And I will end this tea tale by quoting from A Midsummer Night's Dream, "Joy, gentle friends, Joy and fresh days of love accompany your hearts!" Act 5, Scene 1.

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