Published: 07 October 2012
The Olive Tree Arrives
We follow the journey of a 500 year old Olive Tress as it makes its way from the Mediterranean to a landscaped garden in Devon.

Lee McKie and Chris Allen
The Gardening Times team drove across the northern edge of Dartmoor in thick fog and driving rain en route to the South Devon coast. This however was no staff outing to the beach. We were continuing the story of the five hundred year old olive tree as it travelled to its new location in a coastal garden in Devon. 
The landscape team from Urban & Rural Plants, headed up by owner Lee McKie had been working hard for several weeks preparing the site. This involved a lot of hard-landscaping that had to be carried out prior to the tree arriving because of the limited access for machinery and equipment. 
Handling such large specimen plants calls for careful planning to ensure all the different operations are carried out in sequence - otherwise access for the lifting equipment or bulk material deliveries could be severely restricted.

Our video shows the second phase of the ancient olive tree’s journey. We started in Exeter at Urban & Rural Plants’ nursery site and watched the careful wrapping and loading of the tree onto the lorry. After a two hour road journey the unloading and unwrapping had to happen quickly due to the lorry blocking the entire lane. Once safely on the ground Lee and his landscape team, plus a digger and some scaffolding boards, began to move the tree towards its planting position in the garden.
A lot of effort went into this operation and care was taken to position the tree to give maximum visual effect within the design. We will be meeting the designer, Sue Fisher at a later date in the story.

More to be done

 There is still a lot of hard-landscape work to be completed within the garden. A stone wall will be built around the root ball of the olive tree to create a raised bed for planting with other, smaller Mediterranean plant species.  The surrounding area will be paved with natural stone to create a wonderful seating area with views looking out over the estuary.
We are keen to re-visit the site in future to see the finished garden. Keep an eye on the magazine to follow the progress of this ancient olive tree that has spent its life up to now in a commercial olive grove in the Mediterranean. Now it will grow in its ‘retirement’ for the next few hundred years in another beautiful location and earn its keep; not by producing large crops of saleable olives but by being a visually beautiful focal point within the garden and casting light shade for those that sit below it viewing the stunning scenery beyond.  
Reported by Chris Allen  

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