Join us for a magical Christmas Market under the branches of our Olive Trees.

This year has flown by & our feet have hardly touched the ground! Exhibiting for the RHS and BBC Gardeners’ World seems a million miles away, as does delicious trips to meet our suppliers in Spain.

Now it’s batten down the hatches – winter is here. So to cheer ourselves up we’ve organised a Christmas Market, a Dingly Dell inspired affair with music, mulled wine and makers’ market, under the boughs of our ancient Olive Trees. A magical setting I think you’ll agree. We’ve got Norfolk’s finest independent designers and artists so you can find that something special for loved ones.

Christmas Fair

Award winning designer and artist Richard Horne aka ‘El Horno’ will be selling his amusing posters ideal for adults and children alike. He will be set up in my teeny tiny shed/office so perhaps the smallest pop-up gallery known! (Note to self look up in Guinness Book of Records.) Also cozying up in the shed will be Sophie Makes Spaces, handmade lamp shades that delight and dazzle.

Prints from award winning ‘El Horno’

Prints from award winning ‘El Horno’

Nestled among the ancient Olive Trees you can find Christmas Wreath Kits from ‘Gabrielle’s Garden’ and vibrant mosaics from ‘Sarah’s Mosaics’. Not only that folks but our Christmas Market will be serving up the finest Vietnamese Street food from the talented Papaye Verte. Treat yourself to a delicious Vegan Pho or succulent Beef Pho.

Vegan Pho from Papaya Verte

Vegan Pho from Papaya Verte

We will have musical interludes from the entertaining and funny ‘The Dry Tortugas’ and some sweet C & W from ‘Big Steve’.

All this while you browse vintage jewellery from ‘Aforetime’, salivate over accessories from ‘vandertas’ and treat yourself to something from homeware designer ‘The Animals of’. Rachel from ‘The Animals of’ designs delightful tea towels adorned with cute bunnies, penguins & our friends of the sea – octopus and Norfolk crab. So animal lovers you will be in heaven.

The Animals Of

The Animals Of

Teenagers and the young at heart will adore the T-Shirts from Morwenna Farrel. She’s so on trend this Christmas. There’s knitwear too and felting for the little ones from ‘Faery Woollen Folks’ and the talented ‘Pauline James’. Mexican Folk art fans will love Tedda Stuart’s woodcarvings.

Cool stuff from Morwenna Farrel

Cool stuff for the young & young at heart from Morwenna Farrel

Paul and I will have a treasure trove of brocante & our best French flea market finds PLUS we will be offering a festive discount of 20% off Palms and Yucca trees and 10% off our ancient Olive Trees, Cacti and Succulents.

So join us on the 9th and 10th of December in the beating heart of Norwich nestled amongst our Olive Trees for the coolest Christmas Market EVER!

I love this illustration of Bishops Bridge from ‘Geniality Art’

I love this illustration of Bishops Bridge from
‘Geniality Art’

Designed & made in Suffolk by Vandertas

Designed & made in Suffolk by Vandertas

Olive Tree Symbolism

The Olive Tree is universally recognised as the tree of peace but what else does this ancient tree symbolise?

“Lift me like an olive branch and be my homeward dove
Dance me to the end of love”  (Leonard Cohen).

Rich in Meaning

The Olive Tree is rich in meaning and symbolism across many cultures and religions. The olive tree is a universal symbol of peace and friendship. For Christians the Olive tree symbolises ‘Hope’. In the Old Testament a dove returns to Noah and the Ark with an olive branch, a sign that land is near and the flood at an end.

References to Olives and Olive trees are found throughout the Quaran. Muslims have made prayer beads out of wood from olive trees for centuries. The prophet Muhammad taught in his hadith:

“Eat the oil and use it on your hair and skin for it comes from a blessed tree“.

To early societies trees were considered to be sacred and many rituals took place under trees.

They were seen as a direct link between the gods and the earth and an antenna to the heavens.

Olive tree carving

Olives in Ancient Greece

In Ancient Greece Olive trees were considered to be an aphrodisiac and a gift of an Olive tree for newly weds was customary, as was a feast of Olives on their wedding night. For ancient Greeks Olive trees represented fertility. Today science has proven that their instinct was right as Olives contain healthy fats. These are critical for manufacturing hormones and maintaining the health and well-being of both men and women.

Ancient Greek wedding

The Olive Tree is often referred to as ‘the tree of eternity’ due its evergreen canopy and ability to thrive in all conditions, living for hundreds of years; the average age of the Olive Tree is 800 years old.

One of the oldest olive trees in the world is 3000 years old, revered as a national monument in its home in Crete. A wreath from its ancient branches is now used in the opening ceremony of the Olympic Games. The ancient Greeks would be pleased!

Ancient Greece

‘No Fear Gardening Live’ at Epic Studios

No Fear Gardening LIVE

No Fear Gardening LIVE

We loved taking part in the ‘No Fear Gardening Live’ programme filmed at Epic Studios here in Norwich. With a studio audience of over 100 and the programme streamed live across the globe, it was a new and exciting TV format. Presenters Michael Perry and Ellen Mary are seasoned horticultural experts and their passion for gardening is infectious. Committed to encouraging novice gardeners and young gardeners alike; their mission is to show that gardening can be fun!

A Collaboration with Norwich City College

No Fear Gardening LIVE was a collaboration with Norwich City College media students in their final year at college preparing them for work in the media industry. It was a great opportunity for them to get work experience filming a ‘live’ show. It’s no mean feat! So much television is pre-recorded, so mistakes can be easily be erased in the edit. ‘Live’ TV is unforgiving as there is no place for error. Music was provided by the ‘Dry Tortugas’ and ‘The Exploited’.  Rock and roll and gardening, a new but happy pairing.

Presenters Michael Perry and Ellen Mary

Presenters Michael Perry and Ellen Mary

We decorated Epic studios with potted palm trees, a glorious Yucca rostrata, Cupressus sempervirens (Italian Cypress) and of course beautiful fruiting ‘Arbequina’ Olive Trees. The studio looked lush and verdant. It was so good to see how many young people turned out for the event. I do think the advent of Instagram has turned young people on to plants such as Cacti and Succulents. We had a small plant stall packed with both, surrounded by young ‘uns very excited as if they had been let loose in a sweet shop!

No Fear Gardening LIVE

No Fear Gardening LIVE

The show explored the benefits of gardening on well-being and how a gentle potter about in the garden and caring for plants is a great antidote for anxiety and depression.

There was also a hilarious section on wonky vegetables, and an irreverent look at ‘rude botany’.

Wonky vegetables and Rude Botany

Wonky vegetables and Rude Botany

Olive Trees and the Low Maintenance Mediterranean garden

I gave a ‘short but sweet’ interview on Olive Trees and the low maintenance ‘Mediterranean garden’. The Mediterranean garden is ideal for gardeners pushed for time, who don’t want to spend their leisure time watering. But it is also a place for entertaining and relaxing.

It’s about key features with high impact provided by trees such as the Italian Cypress, Olive trees and low growing evergreen garden plants such as Sedum; all good in hostile environments such as poor soil and require little or no attention.

Olive Trees with their evergreen foliage are ideal garden features. They are unusual, architectural and look great with a soothing palette of companion plants such as Festuca glauca and Creeping Thyme. A Mediterranean garden should always have herbs for scent and impromptu alfresco dining. You may well already have sage, rosemary and thyme in your garden. If so, you are half way to creating a Mediterranean style garden!

And an important fact to remember during these high winds courtesy of Brian et al – the Olive Tree is extremely wind resistant due to its small leathery leaves! Hooray!

Olive tree

Olive trees have small leathery leaves making them extremely wind resistant

Exhibiting our Olive Trees at The Landscape Show & ‘No Fear Gardening’ Talk on growing Olive Trees in the U.K

I love September and this September hasn’t disappointed either. Maybe we had more rainfall than past years, but we also had a couple of cracking spells too: perfect growing conditions for Olive trees.

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Visit by No Fear Gardening Club

No Fear Gardening Club were our guests at the beginning of the month and Paul and I gave a talk on ‘Growing Olive Trees in the UK’. It was perfect weather for a talk on Olive trees and we all sat under the Olive branches, sipping wine and answering questions on how to care for Olive trees. There has been a huge increase of interest in curing Olives, so we were able to show off our Arbequina olive trees and have a taste of last year’s Olive crop. If you fancy curing olives from your tree, you can find my recipe here. However it’s still a little early to harvest, and I would wait another month.

The Landscape Show

We exhibited at the Landscape Show in Battersea Park London on the 19th & 20th of September. It’s an annual industry trade show where landscapers and designers get to meet suppliers and wholesale nurseries. I managed to sneak off a couple of times and attend talks. With subjects ranging from ‘The Timelessness of New Nordic Gardens’ by Zetterman garden design to ‘How Garden Design and Therapeutic Horticulture Can Help with Mental Health’ by Faith Ramsay, there really was something for everyone.

A mature specimen Olive tree at The Landscape Show

A mature specimen Olive tree at The Landscape Show

My favourite seminar was ‘How To Make It As A Woman in the Industry’, presented by some of the UK’s best award winning garden designers, Ann Marie Powell, Charlotte Rowe, Kate Gould and Sally Court. They were thoroughly entertaining, sharing their stories and anecdotal evidence that horticulture is no longer ‘a man’s world’.

I would definitely recommend signing up for next year’s event. It’s free, so great for new landscapers and designers to network and find suppliers. We made lots of invaluable new contacts with garden designers looking for Olive trees for their designs. Our mature Olive Trees in pot got lots of attention. And two of our ancient Olive trees are wending their way to London as I write.

Another gnarly Olive Tree off to pastures new

Another gnarly Olive Tree off to pastures new

Our Evenings In London

I love the buzz of London and Battersea Park is just beautiful. As Olive tree suppliers we thought it only right that we stuck to a Mediterranean diet, so on day one we ate fortifying pasta at the quirky Bunga Bunga and day two we gorged on squid at Boqueria. Bunga Bunga is next to the Royal College of Art, so was full of a young arty crowd. Boqueria had more a professional crowd and the food was great. For a moment I was no longer on a noisy, crowded corner of London but transported to a Mediterranean oasis.

The quirky Bunga Bunga restaurant

The quirky Bunga Bunga restaurant

Holkham Hall Plant Fair

Back home in Norfolk we are busy preparing for Holkham Hall Plant Fair, we will have a selection of Olive trees for sale. We will also have Cacti, Palms and some wonderful companion plants to set off your Mediterranean style garden. It’s just a stones throw from the beach and I can’t think of a better way to spend the weekend. See you there!

Revised Opening Hours

Our new opening hours for autumn/winter are:
Wednesday to Saturday 10 – 5
Sunday 10 – 4.

With more than a hundred Olive Trees in stock you are spoilt for choice.

Create a garden that is forever summer using Olive trees, palms and succulents!

Returning form our recent holiday in Peniscola, Spain, I was struck how like the English the Spanish were, in that they love to garden & create beautiful outdoor spaces. We moan about our English weather but we are blessed with excellent growing conditions and England is lush and verdant. The Spanish may have the long summers we crave, but they are cursed with dry, sun beaten earth. No lawns and borders for them as the weather is just too dry. However they are masters at creating perfumed corners of colour and form. Patios, courtyards, teeny tiny balconies are adorned with mosaic tiles, geometric patterns & the scent of orange blossom.

patio garden

The perfect patio garden

twisted olive tree

Pretty, twisted Olive tree

Even those without any exterior space have potted geraniums popping with colour outside their houses in gaily painted pots. They love their Cacti too, we saw so many impressive specimens of Cacti growing from balconies, decorating doorways and to my approval used in roundabouts & public spaces. Sempervivum, Agave and Aloe Vera are everywhere – and when they’ve run out of pots to plant up they use crates or empty tomato tins! Such is the Spanish culture for creating evergreen, scented spaces.

Pelargoniums and Cacti

Pelargoniums and Cacti – so Mediterranean

Pots in doorways

Pots in doorways are typically Mediterranean

Keep the aspidistra flying!

The aspidistra which I’ve always thought of as quintessentially ‘English’ (particularly in the Victorian era) I discovered is ubiquitous to the Spanish courtyard; Jostling along nicely with Sedum and Agave for centre stage.
With their silvery leaves, succulents are perfect garden plants and companions for Olive Trees. Potted Olive trees look great underplanted with succulents such as Echeveria ‘Dondo’ or Sempervivum arachnoideum subsp. tomentosum.

So keep the aspidistra flying! And don’t be put off by lack of outdoor space, you can create something magical and intimate in a garden the size of a postage stamp! Window boxes too are perfect at creating a Mediterranean feel whilst also exercising your green fingers & the need to grow something beautiful.

Peniscola & palm trees

Peniscola & palm trees

Opuntia

Opuntia

So, the summer holidays may have drawn to a close but you can create a garden that is forever summer and live your very own Mediterranean dream. By planting an Olive tree, be it an Olive tree bonsai, an ancient Olive tree or a corkscrew olive tree you can create a Mediterranean garden using plants that are hardy, evergreen & evocative of your summer holidays. Happy days, so grab some pots, tiles & a selection of your favourite garden plants & get growing!

Some of our favourite garden plants

Cordyline – Cordyline australis – the green varieties are the hardiest. Add grit to help drainage.

Crassula – would need to be kept in a pot and protected from frost. We have several varieties for sale Instore.

Sedum ‘Blue Carpet’ – the majority of Sedums are frost hardy.

Opuntia – some opuntia will take as low as -20C particularly ‘puntia fragilia’ ( prickly pear) available in our Norwich shop.

Olea europea – Olive trees, Olive trees can be kept in pots or planted out. They are hardy to -15C and evergreen. We have the largest varieties of Olive Trees available online. Delivery is free too. Or pop down to our ShowGarden & view our huge range of Olive trees.

Aspidisdra – survive in low light and shady areas, thrive on neglect. Make sure they don’t get too wet and that soil is well drained. Plant out or keep in pot.

Sempervivum ‘Othello’ are tough too, hardy to -15C. Drought hardy these delightful garden plants have a delightful rosette form.

Palm trees – so very Mediterranean. Many varieties are hardy to -15C such as the Chusan Palm – Trachycarpus fortunei. We offer free delivery on our palms for sale online.

pots

You can create something eye catching even in the smallest spaces!