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I have two sweet olives standing guard at the front entrance of my garden in New Orleans. I am happy to say, they have just begun a blooming cycle. The clusters of delicate flowers are so tiny, I wasn't aware that they had started blooming until I caught a breath of the truly sweet and delightful fragrance wafting through an open window in my home on a recent evening. Their fragrance is a welcome surprise in the winter and early spring here when few other plants are perfuming the air. I have often heard that the sweet olive- among other fragrant flowering plants such as the night blooming cirrus- was originally brought to New Orleans to serve as an odor barrier when the city was first colonized. In those days, open sewerage and domestic animal waste was a common problem for residents of the new French settlement, and a common solution to the odorous issue was to include heavily fragrant plants within the landscape. Sweet olive can be found throughout our historic city, many specimens showing their age by their magnificent size. Many of my neighbors have specimens that appear to have reached their maximum height, standing well over 15 to 20 feet skyward. One can only guess at their age. They are slow growers, but once established, they tend to develop elegant multiple trunks and add a sculptural effect to the landscape. Most gardeners in NOLA hold strongly to the tradition of keeping at least one of these gems in their landscape - how lucky for us!
I'm thinking about now would be a good time. It would have time to establish some new roots before the hot summer gets here. If that is not possible, I'd suggest waiting until next winter when the plant is most dormant.