The 2019 Annual General Meeting – Recommended Reading
The photo at the top of this page shows Mandrake (mandragora autumnalis) which we expect to find in bloom during our AGM visits (Photo Caroline Davies)
Here is a selection of books which Members attending the 2019 AGM may find of interest. These have chosen by the local Branches and by President Caroline Davies who is leading the Corfu tour.
Flora of Greece
With regard to wild flowers in Greece (whether Athens, Corfu or Pelion) it is perhaps hard to improve on Wild Flowers of the Mediterranean by Marjorie Blamey and Christopher Grey-Wilson (1998). Grey-Wilson is also responsible for one of the best books on bulbs in Greece: A Field Guide to the Bulbs of Greece by Christopher Grey-Wilson (2010) which has really great illustrations annotated as to where they were photographed and when.
These guides to the flora are also recommended:
- Flowers of Greece (in two volumes) by Tristan Lafranchis and George Sfikas (2009)
- Flowers of Greece and the Balkans by Oleg Polunin (1987)
- Wild Flowers of Attica by Shirley Clifford Atchley (1938). Out of print but used copies are available on Amazon, also from AbeBooks. In his article about three men associated with the flora of Greece in TMG Journal 50, John Rendall gives a brief biography of Shirley Atchley and mentions that a copy of this book was donated to the MGS library by member Cynthia Hill whose uncle was a friend of Atchley. Members can consult the copy on their visit to the MGS garden at Sparoza.
- Greek Wild Flowers and Plant Lore in Ancient Greece by Hellmut Baumann (1993) available used from Amazon.
There are many books on classical Greece and Athens; here are just a few to get you started.
Caroline Davies writes:
- I recommend Rachel Weaving’s new book Gardens of Corfu, which was also reviewed in the TMG Journal 93. We will visit her superb contemporary garden at Zetouna in the Kassiopi area on the first day of the Corfu tour.
- A must are both the Durrells’ books. As well as My Family and other Animals by Gerald, I always recommend Prospero’s Cell by Lawrence Durrell. Subtitled “Guide to the Landscape and Manners of the Island of Corfu”, this is an enchanting description of his time in Corfu before World War II.
- On the theme of Prospero, I also recommend reading Prospero’s Kitchen: Mediterranean Cooking of the Ionian Islands from Corfu to Kythera by Diana Farr Louis and June Marinos (new edition 2012). This is a beautifully researched book featuring local recipes from the Ionian Islands plus interesting background on traditions, history and lifestyle. I was so thrilled to meet Diana recently, who is an MGS member and former co-Branch Head in Greece.
- Another recommended book is Corfu: The Garden Isle presented by Spiro Flamburiari, edited by Frank Giles (1994) An account of the island’s rich history, with the likes of John Julius Norwich contributing, lavishly illustrated and still for sale at the Cavalieri Hotel in Corfu, as Spiro Flamburiari owns the hotel with his sister. Before the war it was the family’s town residence.
Two more books to set the scene:
- A House in Corfu by Emma Tennant (2001) the story of the enchantment of Corfu attracting her parents to build a house there in the early 1960s
- Corfu Banquet: a memoir with seasonal recipes by Emma Tennant with Maria Mazis (2004) filled with loving memories of Corfu and an abundance of recipes for each season along with wildflower descriptions.
- I would also mention The Rain Tree by Mirabel Osler (2011) where a chapter is devoted to her family’s life at Gastouri – the estate which is now owned by Cali Doxiadis, whose garden we will visit on the third day of our Corfu tour.
Sue Wake writes: There isn't a great deal that I have found which is specifically for Pelion but here are a couple of sources. (We are building up quite a library of diverse books, including gardening and botany, which guests can read or note whilst here at Lagou Raxi. )
There is a website which gives a short (mythological) history of the area and also the VolosPelion website.
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