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BRANCH HEAD


Christina Lambert
(Biography)

 

Information and resources for Greece

Ελληνικό ιστότοπος του MGS



The Greek Branch of the MGS

Past Events   2016   2015    2014    2013    2012    Older

April 2018
Visits to gardens in Peania

This was our best-attended visit of the spring. About 35 members met up at one of Lefteris Dariotis’ gardens in Peania where we were given coffee and biscuits. In this particular garden he grows many salvias, bulbs and other plants too numerous to mention by name. He has recently created a bed of alpine plants with a mulch of fine gravel which is looking fabulous.


Gravel mulch in Lefteris’ garden

We then moved on to his ‘Goat Garden’. Here he has over 360 plants that are now grown with no water except for what they get from the sky. He started the garden four years ago. For the first year he watered the plants once every 10-20 days during the hot summer months. The second year he cut this down to every 20-30 days and for the last two years he has not watered these plants at all. The majority of the plants are native to Greece and the garden looked fantastic with many of them being in flower. He said that he has not added any compost or soil improver to the garden, but he has added a thin layer of gravel mulch on top. This garden generated much interest from all the members.


Lefteris’ ‘Goat Garden’

Finally, we visited the Vorres Museum where Lefteris has been involved in replanting some of the beds and pots with the aim of using less water. It was all looking wonderful, as always, and we were very interested to see the changes that have been made.


Vorres Museum garden

In true MGS style we finished the visit in a fabulous taverna in Peania with lots of delicious Greek food. Thank you from all of us to Lefteris for such an interesting visit.

Text and photos by Rosey Boehm

March 2018
Botanic Walk at Kaisariani


Botanic walk

Once again it was a beautiful morning when a number of MGS members and their guests met under the magnificent plane tree next to the monastery at Kaisariani on Mount Hymettos.


Headquarters of the Friends of the Forest


Asphodelus
close-up


Spring flowers


Orchid (Ophrys sp.)

We were led by Sophia who told us much about the plants and about what she and her colleagues are doing in the botanical part of this forest. We also visited their new garden, which they opened less than a year ago. It has grown a lot since we last saw it in the autumn of last year and it is looking really wonderful. Many of us couldn’t resist the urge to buy some unusual plants from their nursery.

Text and photos by Rosey Boehm

March 2018
Plant and Seed Exchange at Sparoza

We were lucky to have a beautiful sunny day for the spring plant and seed exchange. Many of the volunteers were there early with sandwiches, biscuits and cakes for the visitors.

Throughout the morning we had a steady trickle of people who came to see the garden, meet up with friends and, of course, get plants and seeds from the nursery to try in their own gardens. It was a great morning and quite a number of people really enjoyed their refreshments on the back veranda of the house.


Some of the visitors in the nursery


The garden at Sparoza

The plant exchange is held twice a year, in spring and autumn. The next event will probably be in November.

Text and photos by Rosey Boehm

March 2018
Visit to a community planting project on Tourkovounia, Athens

On a beautiful day a few MGS members met up with Jane Taniskidou, who arranged this visit, on a mountainside in Athens. We walked down a steep and rocky path to meet up with two men whom Jane had brought to Sparoza a few days before. They were very enthusiastic about what has been achieved at Sparoza with minimum water use as they have set up a community project to replant and develop the forest on Tourkovounia, a mountain in the Athens area that has very limited access to water. Like many mountains in and around Athens, it was once forested but it has suffered from fire and human interference.     

Since 2004, when Stelios Bakalis retired and decided that he did not want to spend his time in a kafenio, he is to be found almost every day on this mountain, replanting trees and shrubs. He says his knowledge is minimal, but his enthusiasm is boundless. He has since been joined in this project by a very old friend, Dimitris, when they met up, quite by chance after many years with no contact, and a group of volunteers who join in whenever they can.     


Dimitris and Stelios (left to right)

We spent the morning being shown around the project by these two wonderful men. There are now many healthy trees which were planted many years ago and which are now getting pretty big.  In some of the trees there are bird boxes which have been given to the project by schools all over Greece. We were told that there has been a noticeable increase in the number of birds since the replanting began. They have planted a herb garden and they are experimenting with growing vegetables - not from seed, but from things which re-sprout from the base when they are thrown away as kitchen waste, such as leeks and onions. Recently they have started a composting project, the production of which all goes back on to the land. We could easily see that their work and dedication to this project, and consequently, the area of replanting is continually expanding.


Stelios showing us his compost


Dimitris in a part of the garden they have created

Following this visit we drove to a wonderful mezedes taverna in Neo Psychiko where we
shared some great food, excellent tsipouro and good conversation.

Text and photos by Rosey Boehm

October 2017
A visit to the Attiko Fytoriako Parko

Our group met on Monday, 2 October at the Attiko Fytoriako Parko in Vari at 11.00. We were welcomed into a magical world of trees, shrubs and plants, spanning 61 stremmata or roughly 15 acres, organised like a botanical garden with love and much thought. Only 11 dedicated and very hard-working people run and maintain this extraordinary achievement, which includes a nursery open to the public, a market garden, in addition to the eighty themed sections or modules outlined in the leaflet, and a Ministry-approved educational department for school groups and student visits.


A magnificent olive tree in the gardens; she has stood here for 1039 years

The Attica Nursery Plant Park, as it is called in English, is an interconnecting group of botanical gardens which houses and promotes human activities. The park comprises a varied landscape and the conversion of a large nursery into a botanical garden containing a great many common species as well as some rare collector’s species of the plant world.

The eighty themed plant modules are part of the environmental education offered by the Park. These include, among others, the indigenous plants of Hymettos, plants for local gardens, herbs and pharmaceutical plants, poisonous plants, a cactus garden, subtropical plants, plants for honey bees, pharmaceutical aloes, shade-loving plants, bonsai plants, paper- and fabric-producing plants, windbreak plants etc.


The cactus garden at the side of the education center

Thanos Vaiopoulos, the owner, spoke for a brief 45 minutes and could have continued all day, as far as I am concerned. He spoke to us in the ‘Biblical Garden’ surrounded by trees, shrubs and plants which are mentioned in the Bible and the Koran. He painstakingly outlined why each of these was present and why they had survived the test of time for Mediterranean people.


Thanos speaking in the 'Biblical' garden

He listed, among others, the following trees: olive, fig, mulberry (which needs neither sugar nor preservatives to remain an edible jam), carob (animal feed), Laurus nobilis (he mentioned that Sunday ‘των Βαϊων’ in Greek Easter celebrations was probably actually celebrated with palm fronds as on Palm Sunday), cypress (trunks used as masts for fishing boats), pepper trees (Schinus molle), and henna: the Koran mentions an additional species of henna tree, the others being identical to those referred to in the Bible.


Vitex trifolia 'Purpurea', just one of many wonderful plants in the gardens


Notes made by Thanos for our visit; too much for one visit - we shall have to come back

He mentioned aromatics and herbs for their nutritional, medicinal and culinary use and spoke of the importance of supporting the ecosystem by avoiding pesticides and herbicides at all costs, as well as describing a 90-minute trail through the hill above the park in which to observe indigenous plants and shrubs. He also discussed longevity and health in direct relation to activities and nutrition and he expressed concern about climate changes which had an apple tree fruiting on August 1st and wild cyclamen growing in September on a trail where they normally flower in January and February.


The pond where plants with water-filtering properties are grown

Again, thank you, Christina, and thank you, Thanos!

Text and photos by Lilian Lorenz


Christina Lambert – Greek branch head writes
My name is Christina Lambert. I am British but I have lived in Greece for nearly 24 years. For about 18 of these I lived in a house just outside Markopoulo, close to Athens’ international airport. The house had five stremmata of land which, when we got there, was a complete wilderness. Over time I transformed this land into a productive small-holding with a large walled vegetable garden, an orchard, stables for four horses and a pony, and an area for entertaining with a pool. Due to various circumstances that period of my life ended and for a couple of years I rented a house in Agia Marina. With not quite so much to do, I joined the MGS, which I already knew of. I joined the volunteers at Sparoza one Thursday morning and immediately loved the garden. I asked Sally if I could perhaps help her more in the garden, and I have been lucky enough to have been working with her on two mornings a week ever since. In June of this year I was asked whether I’d be interested in taking on the job of Greek Branch Head. I am now living in central Athens and ready to take on the challenge.


 

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