Mediterranean Garden Society
The 2019 Annual General Meeting - Programme of Events
The photograph at the top of this page shows a landscape design for the Oliaros development, Antiparos by Thomas Doxiadis who is our guest speaker on Friday 18 October (Photo DoxiadesPlus)
Thursday 17 October, 19.30 - 22.30
The main AGM programme will begin with registration and a welcome reception at Aegli Zappiou. This is located in the National Garden in the heart of Athens adjacent to Syntagma Square and the Greek Parliament. It is a quiet spot in a busy city with beautiful views of the Acropolis and Lycabettus Hill.
Friday 18 October
The coaches will pick us up at one of the two meeting points indicated below at 8.45 a.m. We shall drive to Peania where we shall start the day with a visit to the MGS garden at Sparoza – the spiritual heart of the MGS – and join Sally Razelou and some of the volunteers for tea, coffee and cakes. From here we shall visit the two beautiful and inspiring gardens of MGS member Lefteris Dariotis. His ‘Goat Garden’, planted five years ago, contains more than 350 species many of which are Greek natives and from its third year has received no summer watering at all. His main working garden is filled with salvias and a huge number of other plants, most of which are mediterranean. Lefteris will be on site to tell us all about them and will be happy to answer your questions.
We shall have lunch at the Vorres Museum, also in Peania.
After lunch there will be a guided tour of the gallery which features the largest collection of modern Greek art works, two reconstructed village houses displaying household objects from various parts of Greece spanning 2,500 years of history as well as a number of beautiful courtyard gardens.
At 19.30 the world-renowned landscape designer Thomas Doxiadis will give a talk entitled "The snake in the Garden: Designing for Symbiosis." The talk will be held at the Ionic Centre, 11 Lysiou Street Plaka, following which the rest of the evening is free for you to explore the heart of Athens and enjoy the atmosphere of an Athens evening. We shall be recommending a few of the many traditional tavernas and places just to sit and enjoy a drink and watch the world go by.
Saturday 19 October
We start the day with a visit to the Pyrgos Vasilissis, The Queen’s Tower, which is situated in the neighbourhood of Ilion, not far from the centre of Athens. Queen Amalia had a summer villa built on lands that she came across in 1838 while exploring areas around Athens on horseback. Having fallen in love with the site she bought the land from two Englishmen who had already planted fruit trees and a vineyard with the intention of creating a model agricultural unit using the most up to date farming methods. Thirty hectares of this site remain today and include landscaped gardens, romantic-style fountains, statues, a vineyard producing organic wines, stables with horses and farmed land including olive groves, fruit trees and herbs. The Gothic-style castle was inspired by the Hohenschwangau Castle in King Otto’s native Bavaria and was designed by the French architect François-Louis-Florimond Boulanger. We shall be given a guided tour around the lands, the stables, the wine-making facilities and the castle itself, and a tasting of wines produced on site. This will be followed by a lunch in buildings owned by the estate.
In the afternoon we are offering you a choice of visits:
Choice A: A guided tour by Helli Pangalou of the Mediterranean parklands surrounding the Stavros Niarchos Foundation buildings. She is one of the landscape architects who created this amazing site. Designed by the architectural firm Renzo Piano Building Workshop (RPBW) and completed in 2016, it is one of the world’s most sustainable building complexes of its size which includes facilities for the National Library of Greece and the Greek National Opera all located in the Stavros Niarchos Park. The park stretches over an area of 21 hectares and is home to a variety of mediterranean plants including a variety of Greek natives. There are more than 25,000 square metres of green roofing on the complex. Standing on it, it is hard to believe that you are on a roof in a busy city. The parklands include a labyrinth, a kitchen garden used for the education of adults and children and a variety of playgrounds and spaces which are enjoyed by the young, and not so young, of Athens.
Choice B: A visit to the nursery of MGS member Ioannis Gryllis. Ioannis has had a lifelong interest in plants and his magnificent 27,000-square-metre nursery is situated just outside Marathon. This nursery is an ongoing project and includes show beds of grasses, mediterranean plants, various ponds filled with water-lilies, koi carp and more than 700 species of plants. Under construction at the moment is an area that is a small botanical garden with themes of ecosystems from around the world. The purpose of this garden is to educate children about these systems and bring them closer to the amazing world of plants. Ioannis will give us a guided tour of the nursery and will be happy to answer any questions.
The evening will be free for you to enjoy the sights and sounds of central Athens. We shall be recommending restaurants and more traditional tavernas within easy walking distance of the Ionic Centre.
Sunday 20 October at 10.00 – 14.00
The General Assembly will be held in the auditorium of the Ionic Cultural Centre in Plaka at 10 a.m. During this Assembly the new Administrative Committee for the following three-year period will be elected.
The Athens programme will close with a Farewell Dinner to be held at the five-star Electra Metropolis Hotel, 15 Mitropoleos St., Athens, located next to Syntagma Square. The basement of the building houses the remains of the Themistoclean Wall which surrounded ancient Athens, while on the ground floor the tiny 16th-century Agia Dynami chapel is literally part of the hotel building. The restaurant is situated on the tenth floor and you will be able to enjoy one of the most spectacular views of the Acropolis as you join us for a fitting end to a few days in Athens.
Cost and accommodation
There is a 40 euro registration fee non-refundable in case of cancellation.
For the main AGM programme, the cost per person will be 380 euros - not including accommodation. Local members are warmly encouraged to join the Welcome Reception on Thursday 17 October, the Vorres museum visit and lunch on Friday 18 October, the visit to Pyrgos Vasilissis and lunch (subject to availability of places) and the Farewell Dinner at the Electra Metropolis Hotel overlooking the Acropolis. (Prices to be advised at a later date.)
For details of accommodation in Athens see the suggestions below of hotels located near the two coach pick-up points; otherwise please contact Patricia Kakounis, Align Events & Travel, email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org, telephone +30 210614 1745 (landline), +30 6948 872 111 (mobile). Please note that Athens is an extremely popular tourist destination these days and it is highly recommended that you book your accommodation as soon as possible. There is also a wide variety of accommodation in Athens which you can find in the normal way.
Participants are recommended to stay at hotels in the centre of Athens close to the Acropolis and within walking distance of the Ionic Centre, the Welcome Reception, the Farewell Dinner and the pick-up points for the coaches for the visits in and around Athens. The venues are also accessible by taxi.
Please note: the pick-up points for the coaches will be:
Will start on 10 May. To book your place at the AGM and on the tours in the programme click here.
The hotels listed below are all located near to the 1st COACH Pick up / Drop off Point on the corner of PHILLELINON & N. NIKODIMOU Streets, Athens. They are also a 2 to 10 minute walk from the Ionic Centre; Aegli where the Welcome Reception will be held and the Electra Metropolis Hotel, venue for the Farewell Dinner.
AMALIA Hotel - 4 ****
Double room with breakfast - 180€ per night
CENTRAL Hotel - 3 ***
Double room with breakfast - 135€ per night
The hotels listed below are all located near to the 2nd COACH Pick up / Drop off Point on the corner of MELINA MEKOURI MONUMENT - 54 Vasilissis Sofias Avenue, Plaka. They are also a 2 to 15 minute walk from the Ionic Centre; Aegli where the Welcome Reception will be held and the Electra Metropolis Hotel, venue for the Farewell Dinner.
ADRIAN Hotel - 3 ***
Double room with breakfast - 120€ per night
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