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Pittosporum tobira - a shapely evergreen with deliciously smelly flowers that loves the sea

  • Pittosporum tobira - a shapely evergreen with deliciously smelly flowers that loves the sea
  • Pittosporum tobira - a shapely evergreen with deliciously smelly flowers that loves the sea
  • Pittosporum tobira - a shapely evergreen with deliciously smelly flowers that loves the sea
  • Pittosporum tobira - a shapely evergreen with deliciously smelly flowers that loves the sea

Many years ago when we had a small town garden in Brighton, I bought a small plant in a 1 Litre pot with tough-looking, glossy green leaves to grow as a standard. I had read that besides being 'shapeable' it had nice scented flowers. I planted this, my first Pittosporum tobira, next to a bench by our backdoor, which got good morning and early afternoon sun.

The plant grew vigorously and, as I trimmed the stem, developed a considerable tilt. But I didn't mind. It leaned in nicely to the bench and a flint wall behind it. Within a few years, it was a substantial standard, 2m high by 1m+ wide and had became just about my favourite plant in the garden. It had structure, character and clusters of creamy white flowers with a scrumptious 'orange-like' scent in late May/early June each year. Bees and other insects loved it too.

It was so good, I gave a number as presents to friends and family who came to our garden and said they would like one. And earlier this summer, remembering it, I planted a new one in our Somerset garden.

Then yesterday, holidaying in Italy, we were in the garden of La Posta Vecchio, the Italian villa on the coast near Rome that used to belong to John Paul Getty, and what did I see? A whole garden full of Pittosporum tobira. Hedges, standards - acres of the plant, shaped in many ways.

Damn it, we'll have to go back in late May/early June next year for the boat-loads of scent all those plants will produce.


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