Extend an Olive Branch

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London Mayor Boris Johnson once lamented that the odds of his becoming England’s prime minister are “as good as the chances of finding Elvis on Mars, or my being reincarnated as an olive.”


Elvis and reincarnation aside, I can suggest a holiday gift that Johnson and your favorite organic gardener may enjoy: one’s very own olive tree.

Keep in mind that olives are a Mediterranean specialty, which means the trees will grow well in zones 8–11. You’ll find several options, with varying price points—from the Olea europa 5-inch bonsai pot from Hirt’s Gardens ($11.99) to the larger olive tree from Proflowers ($59.99, which at press time includes a free subscription to Bon Appétit magazine). You can also purchase the seeds to start, quite literally, from the ground up.

And for those who may have brown thumbs, there’s an interesting alternative: The Olive Farm: A Memoir of Life, Love and Olive Oil, actress Carol Drinkwater’s (All Creatures Great & Small) bestseller about her life harvesting olives on a Provence farm.

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