December 28, 2007

Miniature olive tree and wild olive trees in Corfu

Maybe 'trees' is little bit exaggeration concerning the size... none of them is more than 30 cm :)
Olive tree in our zone can be a house plant only :( which I deeply regret, cos I am attracted by them like bee by some flowers. They are holy and magic.

My 'miniature olive trees are still in the garden, because it is good for them :) No I did not forget them outside. I placed them in a nice place against the warmest, sunny wall and let them chill enough.
I will keep them there until temperature is under -12 centigrades (10F), which is lowest they can take and they are still fine. Older trees can survive even -28 centigrades (-20F).

Why it is good for them?
I would like to get the fruits - olives :) And in order to make the tree happy to bear olives, first you need to have two kinds of them. Olives are semi-self pollinating and single tree will bear fruits, but it is better to have 2 varieties.
Second, they need 300 hours of chill in a year.
According to theory they should bear fruits after 3-4 years, which should be soon :)
OK - I will let you know if that happens.

We do not have the olive tree forests in Poland, so at least I can grow them in pots.
During my travels I saw one very special place.
Olive tree forests looks great the older they are. One of the oldest olive tree forests in Europe are on Greek island Corfu. They were planted by venetian merchants in 17th century, following the decision of Venetian Senate offering money for plantings - tens of thousands of trees were planted at that time. In 18th century the number of olive trees surpassed 4 million. It became the most important tree cultivation for local farmers. Today Corfu and surrounding islands are one endless olive grove.

What is special about olive trees in Corfu?

They are never pruned.
Olives are allowed to drop when ripen, so as a result the trees grow tall and create a unique sensational shapes of the trunks and branches. There are endless relief forms and odd figures which continue for long kilometers of forest. That's one of the most amazing and mysterious views.
Pictures below were taken in Corfu by me in 1999. Little boy on the tree is my son.



A book I'm reading says about olive trees, "There is one in the Vatican Garden that is believed to date to the time of Charlemagne, roughly twelve hundred year ago."

Ewa said...

Hello Lesle,
Thank you for coming to visit :) I would love to see that tree in Vatican :) I wonder if it is oldest?

Kylee Baumle said...

Wow, Ewa, those are AMAZING trees!

Anonymous said...

What a great idea! It almost never gets below -10C here, I wonder if it would be worth trying to grow an olive tree.

Ewa said...

Nice to see you around :) yes, those groves in Corfu make awsome experience :)

I think it could be nice trial to grow olive tree in your garden. In my last post you can see some interesting information about first olive grove in UK. So if you plant it today, you may have your own olives in few years :)
Good luck!

I wish you happy blogging and happy gardening in 2008 :)

vanzare apartamente said...

Oooh this is simply gorgeous. I’m lovin’ , just woow. Thanks for the inspiration!