This section is from the book "The Gardener's Monthly And Horticulturist V26", by Thomas Meehan. See also: Four-Season Harvest: Organic Vegetables from Your Home Garden All Year Long.
Several years ago I imported some olive trees from Southern France. They grew off so beautifully that I was encouraged to import a larger lot the next year. These too started off splendidly and I had a most encouraging start of young olive trees of the best varieties. I then ordered a still larger lot from France, and began to offer them for sale from the nursery with much confidence. My first planting was now six to eight feet high, and looked as if they would come into light bearing in another year.
But during that winter there came a very cold breath from the North in the form of a severe "Texas Norther " and bit every tree to the ground. But then when I saw that my new importation of the same winter showed the effect of cold experienced before leaving the Mediterranean, I was yet not discouraged. But my olives have been bitten two or three times since, and none of them are as large as they were several years ago, while the most of them have disappeared from my grounds altogether.
So while I once wrote that I had large faith in olive culture in Southern Texas, I must say that my experience leads me to warn others against similar enterprises. It is quite likely that olives would grow and stand the winters on Padre Island where I have seen gourds blooming in April, and found watermelons of considerable size in the early part of the same month, both having evidently grown all winter. That was in the winter of '62 and '63 - a hard winter. There are probably other islands or protected peninsulas where the same is true. But these low stretches of sand on the Texas coast are not generally so far inviting as to be considered an inducement to the enterprise of our own people.
I am led to write the above by reading the inquiries of your correspondent "B. R.," on page 308 of your October number. If "B. R." will send me his address I will send him my pamphlet (soon to come from the press), which will tell him what fruits will do well in Southern Texas. On page 293 Macartney or Cherokee rose are mentioned in a way that I should understand them to be identical. I think Southern nurserymen understand them to be very distinct. Victoria, Tex. Oct. 5.
"B. R." writes: "I am about moving to Texas, and am told the olive would be a profitable crop to raise there. Can I get trees in this country, or must I get them from abroad?"
[Southern nurserymen can supply them, but unless you can prevent cotton-seed oil from being labeled " olive oil," it will not be profitable. - Ed. G.M].