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Planting Information for:

Twelfth Night

APPLEMalus domestica; CODLING

Long-lived tree that grows worldwide, reaching 6 –15 feet, in loamy well-drained rich neutral soil, full sun, on a north or northeast-facing slope in Zones 3 - 8; hardier species do best in northern zones; long-season types in Zones 5 - 8. Apple trees must cross pollinate to develop fruit, so two or more varieties must be planted at the same time, a few feet apart. (A Codling is a young, unripe apple.)


BOXBuxus sempervirens

A slow-growing, compact evergreen tree that can reach nearly 40’ in Hardiness Zones 5 - 8. Many are smaller, mostly used as hedges or to frame a garden; sometimes trained as bonsai or pruned into fanciful shapes. Grown throughout temperate zones, it favors full to part sun in well-drained variable soil. Small pale yellow flowers with a lemony fragrance bloom in late spring.



CAPERCapparis spinosa

A perennial plant, also called Flinders rose, which produces small green buds and berries that are harvested, pickled in brine, & used for seasoning or garnish.

The bush sends very deep roots, grows to about 3’ high, & vines out up to 10’ wide. It requires dry heat & intense sunlight, resists drought, and will not survive in temperatures below 20° F. Like citrus fruits or bay laurel, a caper bush can be cultivated in a pot by gardeners living outside a Mediterranean climate (Zones 8 - 10), but you’ll need to bring it indoors in winter. The seeds can be difficult to grow, requiring soaking & several more steps so the plant is better grown from cuttings.


CHERRY – Prunus avium (sweet); Prunus cerasus (tart)

A stone fruit; it has a “stone” or pit inside & the seed is inside the stone. Sweet cherries are best suited for areas where temperatures are mild & humidity is low, Zones 5 - 7. Fruiting requires cross-pollinating with another tree of a different variety.

Tart, or sour, cherries are much smaller & grow in Zones 4 - 6, where there are 2 months of winter temperatures below 45° F. They are self-fertile.

All cherries require full sun, in light, rather sandy soil that is rich & deep, slightly acidic, with pH levels between 6.0 and 6.8. Regular generous watering is essential.




Various coniferous trees or shrubs of northern temperate regions that grow in a variety of climates, from swampy to desert dry. Although the name derives from their original home, the island of Cyprus, several are native to other areas. Reaching up to 70’ high, most Cypress tolerate the temperate environment of Zones 4 - 10 in light sandy or loamy soil, preferably in full sun; pH requirements vary according to the species. Some are evergreen; others, including those native to North America, are deciduous. Their foliage dries and turns brown, but remains on the branches.



EBONY - Diospyros ebenum

A slow-growing evergreen reaching 75 – 100’ high, with a straight, buttressed trunk expanding to about 3’ in diameter. Noted for attracting wildlife. Requires full sun in Zones 9 - 11, in humid coastal & lowland forests in moist well-draining soil that contains some clay. A hardwood, the bark is darkish brown; the black that Shakespeare refers to is underneath.



FLAXLinum usitatissimum

A perennial plant cultivated since ancient times in Zones 5 - 9 in full sun & well-drained soil containing a goodly amount of organic matter. Valued for its seed & for the textile fiber linen made from its stalks. The plants grow about 4’ high & have pale blue flowers that become fruit containing glossy brown seeds which are ground into meal or processed into oil.



GINGER – Zingiber officinale

A flowering perennial whose root is widely used as a spice & folk medicine. Reedy stalk grows 3 - 4’ tall in warm, humid locations in Zones 9 - 12 in part shade. A few varieties can survive down to Zone 7, but must be protected from strong winds & harvested in the fall. Soil should be loose, rich & loamy, retaining some moisture, but draining well. Benefits from regular light misting.


OLIVEOlea europaea

A very long-lived fruiting tree found from Portugal to the Levant, the Arabian Peninsula, southern Asia, & the Canary Islands.  Zones 6 - 9, where summers are warm & winters are mild, rainy, and with temperatures between 45°F and 20°F, but never lower. Olive trees need full all-day sun, but can tolerate a wide variety of soils, including well-drained clay. They need plentiful frequent watering during their first summer, then very little beyond natural rainfall.


After the 4th year, olive trees must be pruned for shape & form, but also to allow new growth, so flowering & fruiting can happen. That might normally occur only every other year, or alternate between light & heavy crops. Raw olives must be cured in oil, water, brine, lye, or salt to dispel their inherent bitterness; that process must begin within 3 days of harvest then left for several weeks.



PEASCOD – (archaic) The pod of the pea. It develops early & matures as peas grow within. & SQUASH is a young pea plant, easily smushed.

PEAS - Pisum sativum


An annual vine reaching up to six feet in well drained, slightly acid moderately moist loamy soil well supplied with organic matter. The plant produces pods that contain the edible seed – botanically, a fruit. Full sun in cool weather in Zones 2 - 9. They should be planted in very early spring, even while snow still threatens, and again in fall.



PEPPERPiper nigrum

A flowering vine cultivated for its fruit, the peppercorn, which is dried for spice or seasoning, and some traditional medicines. Native to South India & other tropical regions, it is not tolerant of cold or dry conditions, and should be kept well-watered if grown outdoors in Zones 10-11. The fresh, mature fruit is dark red & contains a single seed. Pepper plants prefer partly shaded well-drained variable soil in temperatures between 75 and 85°F. Seeds should be soaked overnight before planting. The plant will not fruit for 2 – 3 years.

The vine, which can be purchased from growers, does very well indoors on an indirectly lit windowsill in an area that is humid and moist—and will flower & fruit year-round with moderate regular watering & light fertilization.



ROSES/DAMASK Rosa × damascena

The Damask rose is a deciduous shrub, a type of Old Rose, growing to about 7’ tall, with fragrant flowers that bloom all season in colors from light pink to red. Requires full sun, with some shade in hot months. Soil types can vary, but must be rich & well drained, containing no chalk. Roses typically grow in warm climates, Zones 6 - 9; cannot withstand freezing temps, but some can survive in colder areas down to Zone 3 or in hot, moist climates.



SQUASH – see Pea


VIOLETViola odorata

Viola and violet are small-flowered annuals or perennials producing lightly fragrant—and tasty—flowers of light purple though some varieties have white or yellow blooms. Most species are in the temperate Northern Hemisphere, Zones 3 - 8.  They can be planted anytime throughout spring & fall, but early spring is preferable as is light shade, but sunny locations can work too. While they tolerate many soil types, wild violets prefer moist, well-drained soil rich in organic matter. They also often self-seed, coming back each year in unexpected locations. The flowers that grow low on the plant do not open, instead housing the seeds, allowing the plant to readily reproduce.



WILLOWSalix caprea

Goat willow grows in moist soil (although will tolerate drier soil than most other willows—there are no weeping willows in Shakespeare), so seeds & young plants need plenty of water—don’t let them dry out! Willow seed is tiny, very light & fluffy so, tricky to collect since there are no berries or nuts to pull off a tree.

FUN: If you’re trying to catch them in the wild, collect the seed in late May or June before the wind blows them away, or seeds them Nature’s way.

Full sun (6 hours of direct light daily); Hardiness Zones 4 - 8, in well-drained soil (can tolerate wet sites & alkaline soil). During the latter part of spring into summer the amount of water to the plants can be reduced. With enough water & regular feeding (a liquid or granular feed every 4– 6 weeks is recommended till mid-July), goat willow can grow quite fast. You could get a 1–2’ plant in one season. Prep your site well, clearing away any weeds or grass. Make a hole big enough to accommodate the root ball. Place the roots carefully in the hole, removing the pot (if it had one & make sure the stem is at the same depth as it was in the pot), then firm back the soil. (Cuttings might be easier; they can be stored for a few weeks as long as they are kept moist.)



YEWTaxus baccata

The European yew or common yew need well-drained soil (no bogs or riversides), but will tolerate any soil that isn’t wet most of the year. They’re quite fond of heavy clay.  Yew grow fairly fast when young, reaching about 10’ or more per year in full sun, Zones 4 - 7. They can handle full shade, but with less vigor. They require sparse watering with the exception of a prolonged drought & just before the ground freezes in late fall or early winter.

Yew is known as the Tree of Life, since they can live for a thousand years or more. But also the Tree of Death, as every part is toxic except the red flesh of the berries that encase the poisonous seeds.

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