British Columbia: olive trees in Vancouver

Discussion in 'Outdoor Gardening in the Pacific Northwest' started by Carolyne Montgomery, Sep 30, 2004.

  1. Carolyne Montgomery

    Carolyne Montgomery Member

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    can you obtain and grow an olive variety on a south facing lot in Vancouver?
     
  2. Ron B

    Ron B Paragon of Plants 10 Years

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    An olive tree has grown in a botanical garden in England for a long time. Nurseries stock them in the Seattle area. One Green World/Northwood nursery in Oregon offers a dwarf cultivar that fruits in a small size. Perhaps a garden centre up there brings in stock from them or would be willing to order from them if approached.
     
  3. gobo

    gobo Active Member

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    i've wondered about that same question myself, but have never tried growing one in vancouver. would it get warm enough in summer to ripen the fruit? i don't believe winter cold would be a problem. i recently saw two separate rooftops using them in tokyo, where the minimum temperatures are comparable, and the owner of one was quite proud of the prodigious crop. please post again if you find a local source.
     
  4. Kevinm

    Kevinm Member

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    Apparently someone is cultivating olives on Pender Island. I thought that I heard that he had produced his first batch of olive oil this year.
     
  5. calicojack

    calicojack Member

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    olives

    I found a large Arbosanna olive tree at Dinter's nursery near Duncan, you can also order Frantoio olive trees online from ediblelandscaping.com.
     
  6. olive trees

    i believe mandevilles' (now garden works) in burnaby sells olive trees.
     
  7. donnacanadensis

    donnacanadensis Member

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    I've also seen them at Southlands Nursery in Vancouver.
     
  8. molyons1

    molyons1 Member

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    If olive trees are sold in Vancouver, does this mean that they will be all right in the ground all year round? I ask because I have two three-year-old Arbequina olives that I bought from Gardenworks in Burnaby a couple of years ago and have been bringing them in during the winter. Should I put them in the ground instead? I am not concerned about fruit production--I just think they are beautiful trees! Would they survive the winters here (especially the one we just had!)?
    Thank you for any information!
     
  9. woodschmoe

    woodschmoe Active Member 10 Years

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    Location, location, location...They will survive and fruit in the northwest in the right location: the olive grove on Pender Island is thriving, and ripening crops in a very warm slope on the waterfront. On the other hand, I've got 12 Arbequinas in the ground, south facing, on stony soil but away from the waterfront on a more northerly island, and 9 of them have perished in this last cold/wet snap, with the stems rupturing. So....location matters most, followed by the fact that some individual trees will be hardier than others. If your location seems provident, I'd hedge (no pun intended) my bets and plant one in the ground, and keep one in a pot.
     
    Last edited: Feb 15, 2009
  10. Ron B

    Ron B Paragon of Plants 10 Years

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    According to the Sunset WESTERN GARDEN BOOK (2007, Sunset Publishing, Menlo Park):

    "Olive trees look best when grown in deep, rich soil, but they will also grow in shallow, alkaline, or stony soil and with little fertilizer. They thrive in areas with hot, dry summers but also perform adequately in coastal areas. They take temperatures down to 15F/-9C"

    The critical last point would be why mildest waterfront microclimates could grow them - at least for awhile - but large, long-established specimens are not generally known anywhere in this region.

    Possibly the old one at the Cambridge Botanic Garden is hardier than usual, or it just doesn't get that cold in that part of England. I believe I once read Christopher Lloyd stating that he was gardening in a "cold" area (at Great Dixter) because it sometimes got down to 20F(!). A location with an effective 20F floor here would be considered the mildest of the Banana Belt - even way down in Brookings, OR, zoned by Sunset as being in the same climate as San Francisco a low of 18F has been recorded in the past. I don't know what part of the British Isles Lloyd was living in (or how close Cambridge is to the Gulf Stream) but the west coast is as mild as California.
     
    Last edited: Feb 15, 2009
  11. molyons1

    molyons1 Member

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    Thank you for your advice! I appreciate it.
    I think I will probably keep my olives in their pots and keep bringing them in for the winters. It sounds like it would probably be the safest thing, afterall.
     
  12. LPN

    LPN Well-Known Member 10 Years

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    Ron B ... you (or sunset publications) can't classify all olive trees the same. Ceratinly a good point to start but not the last word.
    Here's 'Arbequina' in my garden today (Feb 19-09) after sustaining -11°C (12°F) on the night of Dec 19 past. This tree needs to be explored further and tried in sunny, well drainage situations.

    Cheers, LPN.
     

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  13. Ron B

    Ron B Paragon of Plants 10 Years

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  14. K Baron

    K Baron Well-Known Member

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    Molyons, there are a few Olive specimens on East Hastings(North side) near Holdum in Burnaby, fronting a Greek restaurant... they have been there for a few years, and are still thriving... though I have yet to see any fruit set.
    They don't look as vibrant as LPNs...drainage is key here, not moist rich soil as Ron B mentioned, as they will freeze out for sure... bin there done that too! Depending where in Coquitlam that you live, and your exposure, SW Coquitlam is safer than Westwood Plateau , Mundy or East Coquitlam.
     
  15. woodschmoe

    woodschmoe Active Member 10 Years

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    As I recall, those olives on Hastings back up against a south facing white wall, surrounded by pavement, asphalt and other buildings...In other words, a micro-climate with significant thermal mass and an urban heat island effect that might be hard to replicate in one's yard. Mind you, I've seen a fair number of homes that fit this description....point being, however, that the base fact of an olive tree growing in Burnaby is secondary to the particulars of its site, and success will be related to replicating/taking advantage of some of these effects, if possible.
     
  16. Ron B

    Ron B Paragon of Plants 10 Years

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    Sunset said "deep, rich" and did not say "moist". They will of course be writing mostly about California as that is primarily where conditions in the West will be suitable.

    Bottomlands here with good soil will also have hard frosts, fog etc. preventing success with plants wanting warm and dry conditions much of the time. A sunny hillside with sandy soil supporting native Arbutus menziesii and similar indicator plants would be the best situation for other Mediterranean climate species with grayish leaves - such as olive trees.

    Except with bluish forms of some moist climate or situation conifers grayish or silvery leaves being produced by garden plants is a pretty consistent signal that these want a hot and dry location.

    Especially if these are also aromatic. Think of lavender, rosemary and thyme.
     
  17. molyons1

    molyons1 Member

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    Wow! Thank you all so much for all this information. I really appreciate how knowledgeable everyone is here, and how helpful.
    My two little trees are going to be well taken care of thanks to your advice!
    They have done fairly well inside this winter, so I think that I will continue to bring them in for the winters--I do not think that I will take the risk of trying to keep them alive outside, especially the way that the weather has been this time around.
    LPN--hopefully my trees will look like that one day! Yours is lovely!
    And thanks Ron B for the hint about greyish leaves--I had never noticed that before, but it makes good sense.
    I will have to take a look at those trees on Hastings. It would be interesting to see them in situ. (and maybe I could find someone to ask about how they take care of them too!)

    Thanks again, everyone!
     

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