Myrtle – The last fruit of the year

myrtle1This myrtle bush started life as a small cutting 8 years ago and has taken a lot of careful nurturing to reach this size. It nearly died in the harsh winter of 2010. Myrtle is something of a rarity in these parts and it is steeped in fascinating folklore*. It is native to southern Europe and was immediately recognised by a recent Spanish visitor to the garden who knew the plant well and told us of how its leaves are used to flavour meat dishes and the fruits are used to make the exotic drink “Mirto”. It is a similar looking plant to the bay tree, with evergreen waxy leaves that are wonderfully aromatic. The fruits hang well on the plant for several weeks around November and December, and make a tasty nibble as the last fresh fruit pickings of the year. They are the size of a small blueberry and have an incredible flavour which is reminiscent of warm Christmas mulling spices or perhaps Christmas pudding!

New cuttings will be available in the spring for anyone who’d like some.

*See “A plant study of Myrtle”