The olives in commercial groves may also be grown in a garden. "Sevillano" is originally from Spain, and its oak-like form may reach 35 feet in height. "Ascolana," introduced from Italy, grows to 30 feet and produces a large fruit. Both varieties are sometimes called Queen olives. "Swan Hill" is fruitless and reaches 30 feet. "Little Ollie" is a large shrub up to 12 feet, excellent as a hedge or screen, and nearly fruitless.
Black Scale is the major pest that afflicts olives in Laguna. The insect can usually be controlled by spraying horticultural oils like Ultra Fine during the summer. Knots or swelling may appear as the result of a bacterial disease. Although not usually fatal to the tree, these knots should be removed.
I have always found that a beverage or meal is enhanced by an olive — or 20. It was with great delight that I discovered that Catharine's parents served their own home-grown olives during the holidays. Those olives have ensured that I haven't missed a meal at the Wrights' for nearly 20 years. See you next time.