the olive tree
Greece, Tales

The Olive Tree

the olive tree
The olive trees of Leonidio

The Olive Tree, η Ελιά, is one of my favourite trees.

I love the way the trunks of Olive trees are so strong, hardy and characterful and their branches and leaves so delicate. And the fruits so powerful and versatile.

I firmly believe that the Olive Tree has magical powers. It produces amazing and delicious fruits that fall in abundance at the end of each year and are enjoyed by so many worldwide. And its virgin oil so healthy and loaded with powerful antioxidants.

Why else does the olive tree exude such magic?

  • olives and their oil have strong anti-inflammatory properties
  • olive oil has antibacterial properties
  • nutrients from olive oil can help strengthen and soften hair
  • whenever I use Ouli’s Ointment as a skin softener, lip salve, or on cuts and grazes, it instantly soothes, heals, and hydrates
  • their strength is in their longevity, some can survive for around 2000 years, or longer
  • the olive tree branch is a sign of peace
  • the olive tree is protected by law. Why? Many old olive trees can die if uprooted and transported.
  • it’s one of the most beloved and sacred trees in the world
  • you are never far away from a beautiful olive tree in Greece

My favourite olive trees in Greece

olive tree olive oil
Mary’s very own olive oil

These have to be in and amongst the olive groves around Leonidio in the Peloponnese where my (now deceased) cousin, Mary, had a little house. She had many olive trees in her garden. Every olive harvest she would gather the olives with help from local pickers and turn them into her very own olive oil. Delicious!

Leonidio is a small town nestled underneath imposing mountainsides. It is well known for its very fertile landscape. I love shopping in the little streets here, especially in the local fruit and veg shops – they are abundant with local produce.

Are there any olive trees to visit in the UK?

Yes! There’s one very near to me on the Sussex coast at the little sensory Garden in Lancing. This is a tiny community garden just off the seafront. It’s dedicated to a mixture of plants, flowers, shrubs and garden art that inspire the senses and create a peaceful haven in which to relax, sit and meditate amongst olive tree, bamboo, apple tree, lavender and so much more

And, last September, I visited the Urban Jungle near Beccles in Suffolk. Dedicated to exotic and unusual plants, the Urban Jungle nurseries have a spectacular range of olive trees.

In amongst the olive trees at Urban Jungle
In amongst the olive trees at Urban Jungle, Suffolk

Finally, the ‘must visit’ olive tree of all time

This has to be one of the oldest and most impressive olive trees in the world – the Ελιά Βουβών. It sits amongst the olive groves of Vouves in Crete and it’s estimated that it could be 4000 years old. There’s an Olive Tree museum located nearby where you can learn about the tradition of olive cultivation in Greece, from ancient times and traditional tools to modern day cultivation and production.

I’ll be there as soon as I can.

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