SKopelos

Magnificent myrtle

By Sofia, Jul 18 2020 07:12PM

This season's project is the cultivation of a common myrtle! In nature, this is an evergreen, lightly-scented shrub with a profusion of white, scented flowers which turn into blue berries when ripe. In ancient times, myrtle symbolized love and beauty: in Greek mythology it was a tree, sacred to Aphrodite for example. The Romans are also said to have held the myrtle in reverence and propagated it widely in all the areas of their conquests. This evergreen shrub is still revered in Greece and, on religious holidays and weddings, churches are decorated with branches of it.


In nature the myrtle is a shrub, but I have spotted myrtle in a Skopelos Old Town shrine, growing freely as a tree (maybe a self-seeded occurrence of a berry dropping off the decoration branches?).


In the autumn, I dug out cuttings from close to the root of a shrub and - happily - they have taken. One I planted freely in the soil against the wall, hopefully to slowly grow into a tree similar to the ones in the chapel yards. The second I planted in a pot, hopefully to be trained into a potted small tree, to move about in the garden or even to take indoors in the winter months.


So far, both have done well having flowered profusely, attracting bees, butterflies and other insects. They are now full of green berries for the birds to enjoy.


Myrtle in the first stages of potting
Myrtle in the first stages of potting
Potted myrtle tree in bloom
Potted myrtle tree in bloom
Myrtle tree in the chiurch yard of Ag. Mercurios (Skopelos Old Town)
Myrtle tree in the chiurch yard of Ag. Mercurios (Skopelos Old Town)
Wetland at Loutsa with myrtle gracing the small lake full of water lillies
Wetland at Loutsa with myrtle gracing the small lake full of water lillies
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I'm Sofia, 39 Steps' owner and host. This is an occasional blog to keep in touch with my regular guests, give a taste of Skopeliti life and share my experiences of foraging through the summer season

 

Sofia

 

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