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Paul and Antonia Smith run the Norfolk Olive Tree Company in the beautiful rural county of Norfolk. They are multi award-winning suppliers and garden designers, and for this blog post they have selected three of their plant obsessions:
Olive trees are not only capable of fruiting for many years but they are also evergreen and grow for hundreds of years. The bark is full of interest and the silvery green leaves look great with other Mediterranean looking plants like Rosemary, Lavender and Russian Sage. When you purchase an olive tree, make sure it is Xylella free (meaning it doesn’t carry disease) and you will be enjoying it for many years to come. We bet some ancient olive trees have a few great stories to tell!
Agave is commonly known to produce tequila, although it is only the Blue Agave – Agave tequilana – that is used in production for the spirit. There are over 200 species of Agave and they are much easier to look after than you might think. Native to South America, they do prefer warmer conditions, but some can withstand the colder winters, so just make sure you know which variety you have and make winter plans if necessary. Large Agave are show stoppers in the garden!
Mangave is the cross between Agave and Manfreda, taking the best of both to create a relatively new hybrid with some interesting leaf patterns and sizes. Mangave has better growth rate and the interesting patterns of Manfreda with the habit and refinement of Agave but without the incredibly sharp spines.