Boxwood, Buxus sempervirens
Origin: Europe, North Africa, West Asia.
Habitat: The boxwood is found in arid and rocky climates. It grows naturally in the Mediterranean and Alpine steppes of the Alps and Apennines.
Lifespan: 600 years.
Maximum size: shrub to 5 meters. Very slow growth.
Port: in an irregular ball.
Evergreen. Opposing leaves, leathery, oval or elliptic, smooth, dark green and shiny on their upper surface, yellowish green on the underside.
Yellow flowers from March to April.
Fruits: capsules 3 cm. long, ending with horns. They open in September to release their seeds.
Legends and traditions: The boxwood, as part of its slow growth, high longevity and the fact that it was an evergreen, was a symbol of immortality. The Greeks and Romans made writing tablets with its wood. Christians used branches for blessings on Sunday and kept branches near a crucifix.
Its very hard wood, yellow, fine grained, is good for making pipes, musical instruments and burning. It has been used as a medicinal extract to purify the blood. The boxwood is planted in "French" gardens because it lends itself well to the size and topiary, its growth is slow and the fact that it is an evergreen ensures the continuity of the landscape throughout the year, which is not the case with many other trees. The Boxwood for borders, Buxus sempervirens "Suffruticosus," is a dwarf variety of common boxwood. It is used to make borders 40 centimeters high, regularly cut. It has been fashionable in classical times, and the drawings of the gardens inspired embroidered costumes of the Middle Ages or during the Renaissance.
1) When to plant: Plant the boxwood in the winter (November-March). The best time to plant is early March before the start of the foilage.
2) How to plant: Prepare a planting hole wider than deep. Loosen the bottom of the hole with a spade. Garnish the bottom, then after placing your plant in the hole, fill the hole with good soil, unless your soil is naturally acidic. The boxwood has a shallow root system. The recovery will be helped in loose soil.
3) How to prune: The boxwood's size make things easy (like cedar). It renews itself quickly to fill the gaps. Use shears sharpened and clean (as always, to avoid transmitting disease). Pruning should be done from bottom to top.
4) How to train a boxwood's ball: Prune lightly right after planting to encourage branches to form. Prune branches to 25 or 30 centimeters from the ground to help the trunk. Then cut again in June/July. The first few years, prune the new leaves first in May/June and then the shoots in August/September, making sure to leave with each cut a few more inches. Once you have the desired size, continue each year to maintain the shape of your boxwood by cutting, starting in May
5) How to have a dense border: Choose a case with small leaves and plan for 8 to 10 feet per meter. If it's a sempervirens boxwood, count 5 feet per meter (one every 20 centimeters). Cut at the same rate as above to obtain the desired shape.
Bay laural, Laurier d'Apollon, Laurel, Laurier-sauce, Lauris nobilis
Etymology: From Latin, it is called "Laurus."
Origin: Southern Europe. The Lauraceae family includes 45 genera and nearly 1,100 species, widespread in temperate and subtropical regions in Asia and in countries in the Americas overlooking the Atlantic and Africa.
Maximum size: 15 meters.
Port: ovoid, dense foliage.
Evergreen: leathery, dark green, with wavy edges.
Flowers: green and yellow, symmetrical, radiant; elements of the calyx and corolla, arranged in two rows, are similar.
Fruit: small, black.
Legends and traditions: In Greek mythology, the nymph Daphne, pursued by Apollo, is transformed into a bay laurel tree (his name is Greek daphne). Pythian Games (in memory of the serpent Python Apollo felled), the winners received a wreath of laurel. Middle Ages called "winner", who passed the exams, he receives a bay wreath, "Bachelor", literally "laurel berries."
Its leaves are used in the production of two essential oils with stimulant and diuretic properties. They also are used in cooking, often for sauces or stews. For hedges, it is the preferred choice of Portugal laurel and cherry laurel, which grows high. The bay laurel, grown in pots and cut regularly, serves as a garden decoration.
Orange, Citrus aurantium tree of the family Rutaceae (Eucommia, Euodia, Mandarin, Orange, Phellodendron, Ptelea, Zanthoxylum).
Etymology: "Orange" is an Arabic word. "Citrus" comes from the Greek word for "lemon" and "aurantium" comes from Latin meaning "gold," referring to the color of the fruit.
Origin: China. It was introduced into Palestine by Arabs, and then imported into Europe by the Crusaders in the 12th century. Other species were imported by the Portuguese.
Habitat: The orange tree requires a light soil and not limestone.
Outside the Mediterranean coast, the French climate is too cold for oranges and lemons. It is put inside in winter in an unheated place but not an area where there could be frost.
Maximum size: 8 meters, compact and conical shape.
Bark: gray, smooth or slightly rough.
Leaves alternate, persistent, ovate, pointed, shiny. The leaves and orange skin have a scented oil.
Flower: white, 5 petals. It is self-fertilizing, so the orange tree does not need another tree for pollination and it bear fruit early in the year.
The fruit (orange) is not always edible (decorative varieties).
Uses and varieties:
An orange is either edible (sweet orange) or decorative (bitter orange), and in this case, it can be used for its zest. We distinguish varieties harvested in March-April and December. The bark of the sour orange is used to prepare drinks like bitter tonics, often called "bitter," or it is used for soft drinks like the curacao. The flowers are used for making perfumes. The orange peel is an ingredient of curacao. In the 18th century, the "orangery" was invented to keep the plants in winter because they cannot take the frost.
The orange tree grows very well in a pot. It is good to repot it every year. It also helps to add farm manure (bought in bags and dehydrated) or fertilizer (not too much nitrogen but potassium). It also needs to be watered, especially during flowering. For the size: The flowers are cut just above the bouquets, so that the sap is concentrated to produce fruit. When there is fruit, cut the green stems and leaves above the fruit so that the fruits grow and do not fall.
Olive tree in the family Oleaceae
(Ash, Lilac, Mouillefer, Olivier, Privet)
Origin: Southern Europe, the Middle East.
Habitat: The olive tree requires a Mediterranean climate with long hot summers and dry winters lax; fruit ripening requires a lot of sunshine. The rainfall in winter does not bother this strong tree.
The olive tree adapts to all soil types, except wet soils. However, it prefers stony soil.
Lifespan: 2000 years. This is one of the longest living trees (with yew), and it has very slow growth.
Height: 10-12 meters. Olive trees are often cut to reduce their size to 4 to 5 meters to help the harvesting of fruit.
Trunk: very crooked and gnarled.
Bark: gray, furrowed.
Evergreen: leaves are slender, silvery green, 3 centimeters.
Flowering occurs in May (only 2% of the flowers bear fruit).
Fleshy fruit. Olives ripen in the fall or early winter. The olive is green and then ripening makes it turn a purplish color and then brown.
olives, green or black, plain or spicy, are part of Mediterranean culture since ancient times. Olive oil is also renowned for its beneficial properties for the body, not only in food, but also, even in ancient Egyptian times, as an ointment to treat skin diseases. The leaves contain active ingredients. In Celtic astrology, the olive tree refers to "wisdom."
Legends and Traditions: In the Old Testament, the dove brought Noah an olive branch, which announced the end of the floods. In Greek mythology, the first Olive tree was planted on the Acropolis by young Pallas, hence the symbol of chastity; Hercules planted one in Olympia. In the Olympic Games, the winners received a wreath made of olive leaves. In the Scriptures, the Cross of Christ was made in Cedar, for the cross and olive wood for the stake.
The disease known as eye-to-peacock is caused by a fungus. The leaves are speckled with brown spots surrounded by black and the leaves fall. The fungus is fought by using conventional fungicide treatments. Another disease is caused by the olive fly, which lays its eggs in the fruit. As soon as it hatches, the larva eat the pulp, causing the olives to drop early, and then they not good for eating. Dipteran is treated by spraying boiled arsenic. There is an attempt now to acclimate a Mediterranean wasp to fight the female insect and prevent her from laying eggs. This would avoid the use of insecticides.
Other symptoms: Pustules can appear on the twigs from insects, specifically the cochineal Black Olive (Saissetia oleae). It feeds on the sap of the tree through its snout (sort of a needle acting like a pump). If nothing is done, the olive tree will eventually wither away as the cochineal multiplies very quickly. The best treatment is the application by spraying of an oil insecticide. However, there is another way to treat this, which involves the release of "wasps" called Metaphycus bartletti that are natural parasites of these insects.