In my garden I have ONE Olive tree. I got it "free" from a magazine (I forget which); one of those special offers where you just pay for postage. It is still quite small - only maybe 60cm tall - even though I have had it nearly three years. I have no expectations of ever getting edible fruit from this tree (England is hardly noted for its olive-production capacity, after all). I also know that preparing olives for eating is a bit of a palaver, and not the sort of thing you would attempt unless you had a whole orchard full of trees, but this tree is quite a nice-looking plant which fits in well with the sort of "Continental courtyard" theme of my patio, so I am happy to nurture it. It has long thin elegant leaves which are silvery-grey underneath, borne on pliant, ill-disciplined branches. It has a rather informal, "non-conformist" character. I like it. If I treat it well, it will probably live a lot longer than me.
|The olive tree on the patio|
Last Winter we had some very prolonged severe weather, during which the temperatures got down to nearly minus 17 Degrees Celsius. My olive tree nearly succumbed. I had sort of assumed that since olive trees can grow in some of the Northern parts of Italy and similar places where it regularly gets pretty cold, my one would be OK. Perhaps mine is of a variety bred for the (normally temperate) UK climate, because it was not happy! Foolishly I left it outside all the time, and it barely survived. It certainly lost most of its leaves, and several of its smaller branches died off. Fortunately, it DID survive and recover, and this year I will be more careful. I have already moved it to a sheltered position next to my water-butt, right up close to the house, which will hopefully provide a bit of extra warmth.
|The olive is now sheltering by the water-butt, next to the house|
If the temperatures fall really low again this Winter, I intend to put the olive in the garage for a bit. This would not be ideal, since the garage only has one small window and is therefore too dark, but it might be the lesser of two evils.
The olive tree has produced masses of tiny yellowish-white flowers this year, some of which have set fruit - but they're not THAT impressive... Kalamata has nothing to worry about just yet!
|Flowers and fruits on the olive tree|