Number 46   January - February 2006

Jim and Dottie Becker of Goodwin Creek Gardens and editors of Goodwin Creek Newsletter have once again allowed us to share the following article on the shrub myrtle with our readers.


Myrtle is a fragrant, evergreen shrub, found throughout the Mediterranean and northern Africa. All the civilizations in this area treasured it in cosmetics, medicines, and for its beauty. A popular Egyptian scented oil, Sampsuchum, was made by crushing thyme, southernwood, cassia, and myrtle leaves in olive oil. Assyrians used myrtle in beverages and poultices.

The plant was likewise admired in biblical times, and its Hebrew name, hadas, was given to both men (Assa) and women (Hadassah). In ancient Greece it was dedicated to Aphrodite and was worn by a bride on her wedding day, a custom that still persists in many areas and cultures. It is considered by all as an herb of peace and tranquility. 

Its dense branching makes it an ideal hedging plant. Though it is only hardy to USDA Zone 8/9, it is easy to grow in a pot and can be trimmed into topiaries, including a traditional "Christmas Tree" shape. It is a wonderful plant to bring indoors for the holidays or for the entire winter season.

Best wishes and peace to all,

Jim & Dotti Becker
Goodwin Creek Gardens


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