Favorite or New Plant
The Sweetest Olive
Sweet Olive (Osmanthus fragrans) is one of those plants that isn't native to the South but should be. It fits right in. Writer Neil Odenwald describes its fragrance as "elusive but strong." Over time, this evergreen shrub grows to 10 feet high and wide under fertile, moist, slightly acid soil conditions. It's hardy to warmer areas of USDA zone 8, and our famous quick changes of temperature and moisture send this plant into fits of bloom.
Although sweet olive looks like a native southern belle, it hails from China. Plant it near your back door alongside Eleagnus, and the two of them will knock you down with their fragrance while blooming between now and February.
Real Palm Pilots
The Web site of the International Palm Society (http://palms.org) is a must for anyone deeply interested in the subject. It contains great pictures of palms you may never see in person. This member-based organization puts up a clean, fast site where you can learn everything from the history of palm culture to the latest developments in seed germination techniques. Members post photos and hold chats, and you can link to local palm society chapters all across our Southern Coast region.