Exhibiting our Olive Bonsai at Gardeners’ World Live

Our week exhibiting at Gardeners’ World Live was a huge success. Our Olive tree bonsai at the heart of our garden design drew lots of attention by both the media and the public. We created a small Mediterranean garden with our olive bonsai set amongst companion garden plants such as Rhodanthemum ‘Casablanca’ and Salvia nemorosa ‘Caradonna’.  We also used in our design ‘Creeping Red’ thyme grown here in Norfolk by Norfolk Herbs. It really pulled the whole design together, creating a delightful small garden. The public loved it as it reminded them of Mediterranean holidays and people enjoyed telling us tales of their favourite Olive tree spotted whilst holidaying.

Thyme 'Creeping Red'

Thyme ‘Creeping Red’ – grown in Norfolk by Norfolk Herbs.

Talking Olive tree care

I gave talks every day in the VIP lounge on ‘Growing Olive trees’ and ‘Olive tree care’. I shared the same stage every day with the likes of Michel Roux Junior, Nadia Hussain and Antonio Carluccio. Guests loved tasting last year’s crop of preserved Arbequina olives.  With temperatures rising to 30 degrees both myself and the public struggled to ask and answer questions on pruning olive trees and what to do when planting Olive trees.

Sharing the stage with Nadia Hussain

Sharing the stage with Nadia Hussain.

Other Show Gardens

But it wasn’t all hard work, we got to visit the big show gardens early in the morning before the show opened and that felt wonderful being able to soak up the gardens before the crowds arrived!

My favourite was the Nostalgia Garden by Paul Stone it reminded me so much of my youth and visiting my grandmother that it made me weep. I spoke to many visitors and they all said they had the same physical and emotional reaction to it. Paul had created a village store from the 1960’s with an old mini parked up and old petrol pump and potted plants. He’d even built a humpback bridge with running stream, a bucolic rural scene from yesteryear.

The Nostalgia Garden

The Nostalgia Garden by Paul Stone.

There is always a buzz and great atmosphere in the floral marquee and we’re lucky to have such talented neighbours. John Cullen Gardens grows plants for pollinators and he had some wonderful perennials – my favourite was the Achillea ‘Moonshine’ and I think it’s a perennial that will prove very popular as Carol Klein was expounding its virtues on the BBC Gardeners’ World Live programme. Paul liked the Achillea so much he added it to our display at the last moment. The yellow really popped and looked great planted with the Rhodanthemum, giving more height and texture to the display.

Bumblebee

Plants for pollinators – like this Bumblebee

Achillea 'Moonshine'

Achillea ‘Moonshine’.

Our bonsai olive tree in our Gardeners' World Live exhibit

Our bonsai olive tree in our Gardeners’ World Live exhibit.

Our Olive Trees getting some media attention from the BBC

Our Olive Trees getting some media attention from the BBC.

Just one day to build our exhibit- but we did it!

Just one day to build our exhibit- but we did it!

Very popular with everyone was the peony birthday cake that celebrated 50 years of Gardeners’ World. It took three days to build and I did not envy them as they meticulously placed each peony into the five foot tall cake. Alex from Primrose Hall Nursery (I know – confusing name for a nursery that specialises in peonies) spoke passionately on BBC Gardeners’ World Live about his love of peonies and how it was his grandfather who nurtured and inspired him to follow a path into horticulture – a circuitous route I believe after spending several years practising law!

Peony Cake

Peony Cake – celebrating 50 years of Gardeners’ World

At the other end of the floral marquee was the cactus couple Vicky and Stan from Craig House Cacti. Multi award winning medallists from Chelsea, Vicky and Stan are like the mum and dad of the floral marquee. With years of experience under their belt they are incredibly kind and supportive with lots of advice for novice exhibitors like ourselves.

We made a typical schoolboy error and didn’t take enough olive trees for our sales stand and had to rush back to Norwich (no mean feat from Birmingham) to stock up on the popular standard Olive tree.

Cactus display

Cactus display – Craig House Cacti.

Award winning Air Plants

Award winning Air Plants.

Air plants

More Air Plants

Back home to our Olive tree nursery

It feels so good to return to our Olive tree nursery. All the Olive trees are in flower and buzzing with life as hungry bees tuck into the Olive trees’ pollen. The arbequina Olive tree in particular is full of flower – they flower and fruit earlier than other Olive varieties so make them an excellent choice for growing Olives.

Our Olive tree sale continues

Our Olive tree sale continues until Sunday the 25th June. There’s also a selection of palms and yucca reduced by 15% –  some wonderful treats for garden lovers. We have some choice mature olive trees for sale including the Arbequina Olive tree from Catalonia and the classic standard olive tree, which is absolutely perfect for adorning doorways. So now is a good time if you want to buy an Olive tree.

All our Olive trees come with a care sheet and we’re more than happy to offer ongoing aftercare advice. We understand that when you buy trees you want a high level of customer service as these are significant investments and that expert information and advice on caring for Olive trees is of utmost importance. Here at the Norfolk Olive Tree company that’s what we do better than anyone else.

Next delivery to our Olive tree nursery

 Our next Olive tree shipment arrives this Friday. I’m particularly looking forward to seeing the Olive bonsai we hand picked – more beautiful Olive tree bonsai than you can shake a stick at!

We’ve picked some charming Arbequina olives, both young and old Olive trees, ranging from 3 to 300 years. In truth, there were so many we couldn’t resist, we had to have them.

So Friday night we are going to be flat on our face with exhaustion or propping up a bar somewhere…..it’s a hard life!

Celebrate Summer With an Olive Tree

I do love an ornamental Olive tree, something about their shape and architectural form that makes them so eye catching! Influenced by Japanese pruning and ‘niwaki’  which means ‘garden trees’. Topiary trees are growing in popularity as they create instant impact, ideal specimen olive trees to plant in your garden.

Our Trip to Spain

cloud olive tree

Cloud tree in Salou.

palm tres in Spain

Evening walk

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

On our recent trip to Spain to buy topiary trees, we were struck immediately by how many were used in planting in public spaces, roundabouts and promenades. We stayed in Salou and Paul fell in love with an ancient cloud tree minutes from our hotel. In the evening after visiting the tree nursery we walked the length and breadth of the promenade. Here we admired the Washingtonia robusta and date palms before finding a quiet restaurant to quench our thirst with a jug of sangria.

palm trees in Spain

Walking the length and breadth of the promenade.

I fell in love with an old Olive tree in the heart of Salou. It was so inviting and full of character I was tempted to climb inside and snooze.

old Olive tree in the heart of Salou

This old Olive tree in the heart of Salou was so inviting and full of character I was tempted to climb inside and snooze.

Our buying trip was a huge success. We hand picked a huge selection of Olive trees, ranging from standard olive trees in pots to mature Olive trees in pots. And of course the increasingly popular ornamental Olive tree – the cloud olive.

olive trees in pots

Trip to plant nursery.

Small olive trees

Small Olive trees

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Back in England – Gardeners’ World Live

Now back in England we are busy preparing for Gardeners’ World Live. I’ve been asked to do daily talks on growing Olive trees and in addition I will be in the BBC Good Food tent talking about curing olives. I’m hoping for a chance meeting with Monty Don in the VIP lounge!

Gardeners' Wold LiveTree Sale

Back in Norwich we will be having a tree sale. There will be 15% off our Olive trees, figs and pomegranates. You can also buy trees online, safe in the knowledge that you will get them safely delivered to your garden.

Here in the U.K. people are such wonderful gardeners with a real feel for creating beautiful spaces. I’m just so pleased that they have taken to the Olive tree and realise how straightforward it is to grow them in the garden or keep them as potted olive trees.

Olive trees in pots

Olive trees in pots.

Many customers have moved into new build gardens and are always on the look out for full grown trees for sale. And why not? The Olive tree is ideal at giving new gardens maturity and character and for me the fact that they are an evergreen species means you can have year long colour in your garden; something to appreciate in the colder months.

The garden is a place to retreat to year round and olive trees make that possible…..in buckets!

Silver award for the ‘pin ups’ of the gardening world!

These have been heady and rewarding times for us. Our show garden ‘Live your Mediterranean dream’ won Silver at RHS Cardiff – a great result for our second ever RHS show garden.

visitors admiring our show garden

Visitors admiring our show garden at Cardiff.

RHS Cardiff is a wonderful spring event set in the beautiful Bute Park in the heart of Cardiff City. Cardiff’s reputation for hosting the friendliest Flower Show was highlighted in The weekend Telegraph’s Gardening Section, with Paul and I adorning the front cover! Our friends now tease us and call us the ‘pin ups of the gardening world’.

Pin up - Norfolk Olive Tree Company

As featured in The Telegraph’s Gardening Section. Photo courtesy of Andrew Crowley, photographer.

Spring has arrived!

Spring has finally sprung and here at The Norfolk Olive Tree Company everything is looking lush and verdant. We’re feeding all our Olive Trees liquid seaweed to improve vigour after the winter spell. The place is abuzz with bees feeding off the emerging flowers of our Arbequina Olive Trees.

I love Norfolk at this time of year and there is plenty to look forward to in the Gardening Calendar. My favourite event is Plant Lovers Day at Creake Abbey, now in its 10th Year. It’s the ideal place to meet specialist nurseries and find perennials, roses, alpines, herbs and of course Olive Trees! With delicious cakes on offer in a sumptuous setting, a warm welcome to dog owners and play area for children this plant fair is a ‘must’.

With Gardeners World Live at the NEC approaching, now is a busy time for us. We are selecting the right Olive Tree and Mediterranean plants for our exhibit. Building on the theme of our RHS silver award winning ‘Live your Mediterranean dream’ we plan to build a low maintenance garden with evergreen planting, sculptural architectural plants and trees something that offers year long colour and interest. We are very excited about exhibiting at BBC gardeners Live. Fingers crossed for a chance meeting with Monty Don!

More pictures from RHS Cardiff

Our Award Winning Olive trees at RHS Cardiff

Our award winning show garden at RHS Cardiff: ‘Live Your Mediterranean Dream’

Cardiff RHS 2017

Detail of our show garden (left) and the Floral Marquee (right).

Keeping House Plants

Here at The Norfolk Olive Tree Company we realise not everyone has room for an Olive Tree in their garden and we know many of you like to bring the outdoors in!

From February we will be selling houseplants, succulents, air plants and the ever fashionable Cacti to adorn and decorate your home.

Keeping Houseplants gives your home year long colour and interest; but house plants also purify the air and calm the mind. Medical research has also shown that plants in your office or workspace increases concentration and improves memory retention.

Here’s a simple guide to caring for them and a closer look at what houseplants you can choose for a happy, healthy and beautiful home.

Spider plant  – Chlorophytum comosum

spider plantSpider plants remove carbon monoxide and other toxins or impurities.

The spider plant is by far one the easiest houseplants to grow. Not fussy about soil conditions, they can tolerate neglect, so are the ideal choice for our busy lives.

Provide them with a well-drained soil and bright, indirect light and they will flourish.

Water them well but beware of overwatering as this will lead to root rot, they can cope with being left to dry out.

Snake PlantSansevieria trifasciata

Sanseveria

 

Found by scientists to absorb toxins, such as nitrogen oxides and formaldahyde.

The Snake Plant also known as ‘mother-in laws-tongue’ is so called because of the sharp spike leaf that is said to resemble a woman’s tongue.

This plant survives in low to medium light conditions, is robust and needs very little watering, particularly throughout winter.

They like to be snug in their pots so won’t need repotting very often, if at all, as they enjoy being pot bound.

Peace Lily – Spathiphyllum sp.

peace lily

 

Believed to help remove mould spores in the air, making it great for bathrooms, kitchens and laundry rooms.

Peace lilies love shade and some indirect light. Place not too close to a south or west-facing window . You might have to experiment to find the best spot if you discover your Lilly developing yellow-leaves, brown spots or streaks. It could mean that your plant is getting too much light, so try moving the plant a little further from the window.

The Peace Lilly also enjoys an occasional misting on the leaves.

Rubber plant – Ficus elastica

One of my all time favourite houseplants the rubber plant is known to improve general indoor air quality.

Rubber trees are grown for their iconic glossy, leathery, large leaves.

Rubber plants prefer bright light but are adaptable to low light. Water rubber trees thoroughly, but let the soil dry somewhat between waterings. The soil mix should be a well-drained houseplant mix. Rubber trees prefer humid conditions, but tolerate the dry air common in homes.

Fertilise regularly and wash the leaves with a damp sponge to keep them dust free and healthy!

Olives provide many health benefits from mental well being to improved physical health.

Eating more Olives offers many health benefits

Health benefits of Olives. Eating more Olives will boost your immune system. Cure your own Olives.

A rich source of Vitamin E, Eating more Olives will boost your health.

Growing Olive Trees in the U.K has become ever popular. The Olive tree has a stunning gnarled bark and silvery evergreen leaves.They provide year long beauty in the garden. Not only that they provide us with many health benefits from mental well-being to improved physical health.

  1. Trees clean the air. Olive Trees absorb odours and pollutant gases (nitrogen oxides, ammonia, sulphur dioxide and ozone) and filter particulates out of the air by trapping them on their leaves and bark.
  2. Trees heal. Studies have shown that patients with views of trees out their windows heal faster. Children with ADHD show fewer symptoms when they have access to nature. Exposure to trees and nature helps concentration by reducing mental fatigue.
  3. Including just one cup of olives a day in your diet is a great source of iron – 4.4mg.
  4. Olives are a great source of Vitamin E.
  5. Olives are nutritious and rich in mineral content as sodium, potassium, magnesium, iron, phosphorus and iodine.
  6. Scientists now know it’s the phytonutrients and antioxidants in olives such as hydroxytyrosol and histamine that can help prevent heart disease, positively affect the nervous system, DNA damage, the respiratory system, immunity, and digestion.

And just in case these benefits aren’t enough, they are also a great aphrodisiac! The Ancient Greeks knew this!They would insist on a bounty of Olives being served up at feasts in particular wedding feasts.

As the Olive Tree also represents fertility and abundance the Greeks have continued this tradition by offering an Olive Tree to newly weds. A tradition that has grown here in England with the most famous example set by musician James Righton and actress Keira Knightly.

Here at the Norfolk Olive Tree Company we are preparing to harvest our Arbequina and Picual Olive Trees. I’m looking forward to curing them, sharing them when we are out and about with the RHS. And of course EATING them! As one of the health benefits is also said to be to protecting the skin against premature ageing. I will be most definitely tucking in.