Papa’s Tree

The Oldest Olive Tree at Sandy Oaks

papas_tree_webThe olive trees in Sandy Oaks Olive Orchard™ were planted in 1998, yet one gnarled and twisted olive tree that resides at Sandy’s ranch has weathered more than twenty winters. Originally, Domenico Ulisse, a wonderful man and a dedicated gardener, planted this tree in his garden in Corpus Christi. Domenico, who brought his family to the United States in 1956, planted the tree because it was the custom in his native home in the Abruzzi Region of Italy, and because he had hopes of making his own olive oil. Patiently, he waited for the tree to bear fruit, treasuring it above all the other plants in his garden, and nurturing it with love. The tree, which had become known in the Ulisse family as “Papa’s Tree,” thrived over the years. Yet, despite the pampering it received, it never bore fruit.

papastree_00797 Sadly, “Papa’s Tree” outlived its gardener. To everyone’s surprise, the year that Papa passed away, the tree finally produced. Indeed, countless clusters of olives covered “Papa’s Tree.” Who knows why the old tree finally bore fruit after so many barren years. Perhaps it wanted to please a new angel in Heaven.

With Papa gone, the Ulisse family decided to put his house on the market, but they worried about the fate of his beloved olive tree. His daughter Anna came up with the perfect solution, suggesting that there couldn’t be a better place in Texas for the old olive tree to reside than Sandy Oaks Olive Orchard. Thus, the family donated “Papa’s Tree” to Sandy’s ranch, where she planted it in a place of honor near her house.

Uprooting and transporting the old tree from Corpus Christi to her ranch proved quite a worrisome process, and once it was planted in its new home, Sandy feared that the tree might not survive the ordeal. However, after intensive pruning and tender care, the old tree rooted and once again thrives. And, as it should be, everyone at Sandy Oaks Olive Orchard treasures this special gift and nurtures “Papa’s Tree” with love.

Other Old Olive Trees in Texas

Four beautiful old olive trees, planted in 1983, grow in the Garden at the San Antonio Botanical Gardens. Another old gnarled olive tree graces a local hamburger stand in Dilly. Although we’ve yet to prove them, there are rumors of other old olive groves dating back to World War II and beyond: one outside Uvalde and another near Beeville. We’d love to hear from you if you can verify these rumors or if you know of other old olive trees in Texas.