Myrtle

myrtus communis

Usually considered to be just that little bit too tender to be reliable in most gardens in the UK, I have found myrtle (Myrtus communis) to be reliable in a raised bed facing south where it has grown for 15 years and come through most winters unharmed. It is a Mediterranean native and has a long association with the myths and legends of the ancient Greeks and Romans. To the Greeks it was associated with immortality because it is evergreen and it was also associated with love. It was linked with Venus and Aphrodite. Wreaths of myrtle were worn around the waist to make the wearer irresistible. But it was also a component of bride’s wedding celebrations and was used as such in Germany more recently and it has links with that most famous of German brides, Victoria. Her wedding bouquet was of snowdrops but when she visited Albert’s grandmother in 1845 she was given a posy that contained myrtle from her garden and from that was grown a specimen that was planted at her home, Osborne House on the Isle of Wight. It has been traditional ever since to include a spray of the plant in Royal wedding bouquets, a tradition continued by Kate Middleton.

It is much hardier once it is established so needs a sheltered spot in well drained soil and, perhaps, some fleece the first few years in cold weather. But once it has settled down it seems much hardier. It withstands pruning very well and if it gets cut back by frost it will sprout from the base. If it is not pruned hard though, you will be delighted with round flower buds that look like pearls for  a day as the petals show before they open into fluffy flowers packed full of stamens. Bees love these and as they fade the floor is covered in pollen and petals.

If you want something more fussy there are small-leaved and variegated versions but, rather unlike me, I think I like the plain and simple, wild plant best.

myrtus communis2

Geoff’s rating

9/10

Garden rating

8/10

 

 

, ,

2 Comments on “Myrtle”

  1. derrickjknight
    September 8, 2016 at 12:18 pm #

    We have two – one has been allowed to grow into a large tree

    • thebikinggardener
      September 8, 2016 at 1:25 pm #

      Mine is only about 1.5m high but it gets pruned every now and then to keep it in check. I am sure your large one is lovely when in bloom 🙂

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

Ravenscourt Gardens

Learning life's lessons in the garden!

One Good Life in Los Angeles

Roslyn's observations about places and events around Southern California

IGPS Blog

The Irish Garden Plant Society - Lovers of Irish plants and gardens

AltroVerde

un altro blog sul giardinaggio...

vegetablurb

four decades of organic vegetable gardening and barely a clue

The Long Garden Path

A walk round the Estate!

Flowery Prose

Sheryl Normandeau's growing words....

ontheedgegardening

Gardening on the edge of a cliff

Uprooted Magnolia

I am a freelance Photographer born and raised in the Southeast. I have uprooted my life in Macon Georgia for a new life as an unlikely cowgirl in love with a handsome cowboy in Wyoming. I hope you enjoy my photo journal on life, love, and the spirit of Wyoming.

Interesting Literature

A Library of Literary Interestingness

Garden Variety

A Gardening, Outdoor Lifestyle and Organic Food & Drink Blog

For the Love of Iris

Articles, Tips and Notes from Schreiner's Iris Gardens

One Bean Row

Words and pictures from an Irish garden by Jane Powers

Plant Heritage

The world's leading garden plant conservation charity

HERITAGE IRISES

An English experience of gardening in Ireland - and back in the UK

%d bloggers like this: