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Growing myrtle in your garden

A right royal favourite

myrtle flowerHuman beings (even gardeners) can be fickle creatures of fashion - and let's face it, myrtle just hasn't been very fashionable lately. Before the royal wedding, no one talked about it. But now gardeners are realising (remembering?) that this unshowy plant has a lot to offer both in the garden and in the home.

Since myrtle featured as a sprig in Kate Middleton’s bouquet, it's acquired a kind of celebrity glamour. In fact, though, every royal bouquet since 1840 has featured its fluffy white flowers. When Victoria married Prince Albert, she planted the myrtle from her bouquet in her garden at Osborne House on the Isle of Wight and a sprig has been sent from this garden to royal brides ever since.

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Myrtle can be grown as a garden shrub or a houseplant. It has glossy deep green leaves, which are evergreen, small, and very dense - which means, if you get the urge, that you can clip it into lovely topiary shapes. Very stately home.

Where to plant myrtle

If you place your myrtle plant somewhere light and bright, pretty white fluffy flowerheads will appear. It doesn’t need a lot of feeding; and, if it’s somewhere cool, not too much watering either. Myrtle will tolerate temperatures down to freezing, so you can either bring it in over winter, or if you live in a city area, wrap it up and leave it outside. If you don’t have a garden, you can keep it all year round in your home. Looked after like this, it should give you years of pleasure.