Archive for February 11th, 2009

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• Wednesday, February 11th, 2009

One of the first tasks when you have a new garden is to take stock of what is already there and growing well and what needs sorting.

Unkempt Olive Tree

Unkempt Olive Tree

Looking at the olive tree in my Mediterranean garden and comparing it with other specimens growing in so many gardens and fields in the area it is clear that it hasn’t been looked after for a long period of time. In particular the long shoots growing from the base of the olive tree need to be cut right back. Or so I was told by the locals who probably had never seen an olive tree so neglected.

This olive tree was not grown for its olives but because in Southern France it is supposed to bring good luck – so most Mediterranean gardens will have at least one olive tree. The gracious Olea europa (as per its latin name) is also the symbol of peace and wisdom in many countries. My tree is likely to be a local Picholine variety which is quite versatile in its use.

I have started to remove these long shoots and I think that I will probably need to trim the top a bit too but it is already starting to look better as you can see in the pictures. People in Provence say that the right shape of the olive tree should allow a little bird to fly through the tree without his wings touching the branches.

I have noticed that the olives were stained and I have been told that the culprit is likely to be a little fly that damages the fruits if you do not treat your olive tree.

Pruned Olive Tree

Pruned Olive Tree

The harvest season has already passed but I will need to find out more on that subject so that I can make the most of my olive tree. Apparently you can use a special Bordeaux mix treatment to act as a fungicide to start with. I need to find out more about the best way to grow olives trees organically.

Top TipMy top tip: Ask local people who have similar conditions and plants to yours their tips on what to do for plants which you may be struggling with.  Their personal insight and the fact that it is straightforward advice which has been tried locally are highly valuable.

Was it tip-top for you? Please leave a comment – thank you!