In this ‘Showpiece’ series, we’re going to highlight a few true garden stars – both those that shout ‘look at me’; and those that bring beauty and grace to a space without seeking attention, simply through their inescapable charisma and ‘presence’.

The first in the series could quite comfortably sit in both categories, depending on context.

What makes the Olive a showpiece?

> With a little imagination it can transport you to another place… to warmer climes in the Mediterranean

> Historic specimens… the largest of which will have seen, and continue to see, more than we could ever imagine in our own lifetime

> Its slow growing nature makes every new inch of trunk an invaluable accomplishment

> Its beautiful foliage displays silvery hues as it catches the light and complements the architectural brilliance of the tree’s form

> For a tree used to warmer climes, it is still as tough and durable as it appears, tolerating sheltered coastal positions and temperatures down below -10 degrees C (although it is best to fleece when in goes cold!)

Olive Tree (Olea europaea) in the garden

Olea europaea – trouble free and easy to grow in many sizes, shapes and forms as long as it has a sunny position in a free draining site. A stony spot is perfect! It appreciates a good feed with a slow release fertiliser, especially if being kept in its pot.

Whether you’re lucky enough to have one in your garden, you plan to get one or just simply admire its beauty, you can’t fail to recognise the Olive as a deserved ‘showpiece’.