I grew my myrtle shrub from a softwood cutting taken in summer from a non flowering shoot. After potting on it was kept and grown in pot for two years before being planted in the garden. It is now a shrub 3ft high (1m) and 3ft (1m) wide. It can be grown from the seed, but the seeds must be fresh and take two or more months to germinate, sometimes even longer.
Myrtle originated in the Mediterranean area but it is a frost hardy evergreen shrub. Its flowers are white with golden stamens they have a lovely scent. The leaves also have a wonderful fragrance.. The blue black berries are said to have been one of the favourite fruits of Queen Victoria.
The leaves and berries can be used in stews and soups. The leaves can used instead of bay leaves and the berries can be used as an alternative to juniper berries. Both the flowers and fruit can be used
fresh in salads. The bark from Mature Myrtle Wood was onced in the tanning of leather. Nowadays the wood and leaves are used to give a delicious flavour meat and vegetables on barbeques.
In healing the oil from the berries can be be used externally to help acne. An infusion of the leaves can be used to treat urinary infection.
The leaves make a wonderful fragrant Yule or Christmas wreath and also posies.