Memories of past AGMs

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John J

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Re: Memories of past AGMs
« Reply #30 on: August 23, 2020, 08:08:51 AM »
Plants from the garden at La Mortella.
Cyprus Branch Head. Gardens in a field 40 m above sea level with reasonably fertile clay soil.
"Aphrodite emerged from the sea and came ashore and at her feet all manner of plants sprang forth" John Deacon (13thC AD)

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John J

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Re: Memories of past AGMs
« Reply #31 on: August 23, 2020, 08:21:42 AM »
The General Assembly was held in the indoor Concert Hall at La Mortella.
We did not join the Optional Days, but on the way back to Rome we stopped off to spend a couple of days with an old friend. We had met up at previous AGMs but failing health had prevented her from attending the more recent ones. Sadly this was the last time we saw her.
The photos show more plants from La Mortella, before we bid a fond, but reluctant farewell to the island of Ischia. Maybe one day we'll be lucky enough to pay a return visit.
Cyprus Branch Head. Gardens in a field 40 m above sea level with reasonably fertile clay soil.
"Aphrodite emerged from the sea and came ashore and at her feet all manner of plants sprang forth" John Deacon (13thC AD)

David Dickinson

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Re: Memories of past AGMs
« Reply #32 on: August 23, 2020, 03:02:59 PM »
Sorry to hear of the sad memory of this visit to Italy brings you John. But if you can link that memory to this quite extraordinary garden then that must bring some consolation. Your posting inspired me to watch the DVD "La Mortella" again - I have no idea how many times I have watched it  but it never fails to calm me down. Having "La Mortella" closer to hand would be one very good reason to leave Rome and move back to Naples. Have you seen the film? Recorded with Susana Walton and some music of William Walton.

Film now over, it is back to reality and starting to paint the bathroom walls. Funnily enough, after all the mention of blue in connection with Susana Walton in the video, the walls will indeed be a powder blue.
I have a small garden in Rome, Italy. Some open soil, some concrete, some paved. Temperatures in winter occasionally down to 0C. Summer temperatures up to 40C in the shade. There are never watering restrictions but, of course, there is little natural water for much of June, July and August.

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John J

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Re: Memories of past AGMs
« Reply #33 on: August 23, 2020, 05:09:30 PM »
I most certainly do have a copy of the DVD, David, must dig it out and watch it again sometime.
Strange as it may seem the memory of that time spent with our friend is not exactly a sad one. We had a very pleasant couple of days with her, going out for a pizza with two of her friends, visiting another of her friends whose son is a garden designer, seeing their garden and talking to him about his work, and so on. I think her passing would have been harder to take if we had not had those happy memories to look back on.
As you say the garden at La Mortella is extraordinary, and it was such an amazing experience to be able to stay there for the duration of the AGM programme. Wandering down to breakfast in the Tea Room each morning before the gates were open to the public, having the run of the garden in the evening after they had all left, magical.
Cyprus Branch Head. Gardens in a field 40 m above sea level with reasonably fertile clay soil.
"Aphrodite emerged from the sea and came ashore and at her feet all manner of plants sprang forth" John Deacon (13thC AD)

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John J

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Re: Memories of past AGMs
« Reply #34 on: August 24, 2020, 08:45:47 AM »
Greece was once more the venue for the 2016 AGM, based in Athens.
The first visit was to the ancient cemetery of Keramikos. This was named after the potters (hence ceramics) who made this area their home. The river Eridanos, which used to flow through here, provided them with clay and the cemetery provided work, burial urns, etc. (The first 3 photos are of this area).
On to MT Hymettus and the Philodassiki Botanical Garden adjacent to the Monastery of Kessariani. This was originally established in 1964 and its stated aims are to provide conservation, education and pleasure. I have visited on a number of occasions and believe they meet all 3 admirably. I don't seem to have deemed it necessary to take any photos this time.
After lunch it was the turn of the Stavros Niarchos Foundation Cultural Centre. This was built to house the National Library of Greece and the Greek National Opera. It was scheduled to open the following year (2017) and we were here to see the gardens, especially the enormous one created on the gigantic sloping roof of the complex. (Photos 4-7 were taken here).
The last 3 photos are general shots of the most iconic areas of Athens, the Acropolis and Lycabettus Hill (the highest point in the modern city).
Cyprus Branch Head. Gardens in a field 40 m above sea level with reasonably fertile clay soil.
"Aphrodite emerged from the sea and came ashore and at her feet all manner of plants sprang forth" John Deacon (13thC AD)

Hilary

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Re: Memories of past AGMs
« Reply #35 on: August 24, 2020, 11:43:01 AM »


Great Photos
MGS member
Living in Korinthos, Greece.
No garden but two balconies, one facing south and the other north.
Most of my plants are succulents which need little care

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John J

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Re: Memories of past AGMs
« Reply #36 on: August 26, 2020, 05:40:19 AM »
Day 2 and we started at the MGS garden, Sparoza. The day was threatening with thunderstorms forecast. I have visited Sparoza more times than I can count so I took no photos this day.
From here we went to the Vorres Museum, founded by Ion Vorres and now administered by 3 of his grandsons. The museum is divided into 2 areas, the ancient part being housed in two old houses and a stable, while the contemporary Greek art is in a modern building. The whole is surrounded by a series of courtyard gardens. I believe the promised rainstorms had arrived by now and that was why I took no photos here.
After lunch, taken in the museum, we had a choice of 2 private gardens. We chose the one in Keratea, designed by Jennifer Gay and Piers Goldson. I can only assume that the lack of photos of this garden was also due to the rain.
The General Assembly was held in the Ionic Centre, in the Plaka area of Athens.
In the late afternoon a group of members were led on a guided walk of Philopappou Hill by Simon Rackham and Elisavette Bargianni. (Here I did take a few photos and have chosen a couple, 1 & 2)
The Optional Days were to be held on Corfu. Having missed the AGM there in 2004 we took advantage of this opportunity to make our first visit to the island.
Having spent the morning flying up from Athens and booking into the hotel, the Corfu Palace, we departed at midday for a guided visit to the Achilleon. Built in the 1800s for Elisabeth, Empress of Austria and Queen of Hungary, she named it after her hero, Achilles. (Photos 3 - 6 show the hotel and the views from it)
(Photos 7 & 8 were taken along the seafront road not far from the hotel) The plaque to Lawrence Durrell was a bit of a surprise as, although he did of course spend time on the island, I thought his brother, Gerald might be more closely associated with it, but no sign of him.
Anyway our second stop was the home of former MGS President, Cali Doxiades, the Gastouri Estate. This property has a long history dating back to the original owners, the Mantzaros family. Nikolaos Mantzaros composed the music of the Greek National Anthem. The current owner has created an ornamental garden around the house that follows the aims of water-wise planting that blends into the natural landscape.
Following an excellent lunch in the house our next port of call was another old house built in the 1800s, Mon Repos. This is significant, especially for the British, as being the birthplace of Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh. (Photo 9)
More to follow.
« Last Edit: August 26, 2020, 05:42:06 AM by John J »
Cyprus Branch Head. Gardens in a field 40 m above sea level with reasonably fertile clay soil.
"Aphrodite emerged from the sea and came ashore and at her feet all manner of plants sprang forth" John Deacon (13thC AD)

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John J

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Re: Memories of past AGMs
« Reply #37 on: August 26, 2020, 05:19:06 PM »
On the second day we travelled to the north of the island to the area of Rou. This is a village of cottages built around 200 years ago to house the workers of a local quarry. They were abandoned in the 1960s and acquired by a British architect around 2008. He set to to renovate the houses, 15 in all, and to restore the terraces on the adjacent hillsides. The work of designing and creating the gardens and public spaces was given to Jennifer Gay and Piers Goldson. Many of the houses are now owned by family and friends of the architect and his wife, but some are rented out as holiday lets. (Photos 1- 5 show some of the gardens, while 6 is a view over the water to the coast of Albania).
Not too far away we saw another private garden created on a steep hillside, this one by Althea Johns.
After lunch we headed to the estate of Kanonas which had once been the home of the Greek painter, Nikos Hadjikyriakos-Ghikas. The artist had designed a number of pebble mosaics for the entrance courtyard, and these had been added to over the years. (The next 4 photos show some of them. The man on the left in the first of the photos is the Estate Manager, Andy Belton).
Lots more to follow.
Cyprus Branch Head. Gardens in a field 40 m above sea level with reasonably fertile clay soil.
"Aphrodite emerged from the sea and came ashore and at her feet all manner of plants sprang forth" John Deacon (13thC AD)

Hilary

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Re: Memories of past AGMs
« Reply #38 on: August 26, 2020, 07:29:33 PM »
I am enjoying all the photos of Corfu
MGS member
Living in Korinthos, Greece.
No garden but two balconies, one facing south and the other north.
Most of my plants are succulents which need little care

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John J

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Re: Memories of past AGMs
« Reply #39 on: August 27, 2020, 06:00:55 AM »
That's good to hear, Hilary. They are bringing back happy memories of a beautiful island that I'd like to revisit one day. Stand by there are more to come.
Cyprus Branch Head. Gardens in a field 40 m above sea level with reasonably fertile clay soil.
"Aphrodite emerged from the sea and came ashore and at her feet all manner of plants sprang forth" John Deacon (13thC AD)

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John J

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Re: Memories of past AGMs
« Reply #40 on: August 27, 2020, 06:26:34 AM »
From here we moved on down through the property past an area where the topsoil had been deliberately removed in order to expose the underlying rock thus creating a most unusual feature. (Photo 1)
Further on there were more rock formations, this time created to form arches, as we moved on down. (Photos 2 & 3)
Suddenly we came upon the most incredible swimming pool I have ever seen. (Photos 4 - 7) ( Excuse the number of shots of it but I am still blown away by the sight even at this distance in time and location)
Photo 8 is the view from the pool out to sea over the top of the waves of clipped rosemary that line the path.
Our last visit of the day was to the garden of Hans Joachim and Eva Wessendorf. The only photo I seem to have taken here is of an ancient olive with a children's play platform.
Still more to come.
Cyprus Branch Head. Gardens in a field 40 m above sea level with reasonably fertile clay soil.
"Aphrodite emerged from the sea and came ashore and at her feet all manner of plants sprang forth" John Deacon (13thC AD)

Hilary

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Re: Memories of past AGMs
« Reply #41 on: August 27, 2020, 10:12:27 AM »
Oh!, for a swim in that pool
MGS member
Living in Korinthos, Greece.
No garden but two balconies, one facing south and the other north.
Most of my plants are succulents which need little care

*

John J

  • Hero Member
Re: Memories of past AGMs
« Reply #42 on: August 27, 2020, 01:49:19 PM »
On our last full day we went to the opposite end of the island, the south, for a visit to the Corfu Environmental Centre, the area of Halikounas and Lake Korission. (Photos 1 - 5)
The landscape here was totally different to that of the day before.
Then it was back to the hotel to prepare for the Farewell Dinner in the evening, but not before we had time for a last look around and to bid a fond farewell to Corfu Town. (Photos 6 -8)
Cyprus Branch Head. Gardens in a field 40 m above sea level with reasonably fertile clay soil.
"Aphrodite emerged from the sea and came ashore and at her feet all manner of plants sprang forth" John Deacon (13thC AD)

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John J

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Re: Memories of past AGMs
« Reply #43 on: August 29, 2020, 12:40:49 PM »
The AGM 2017 was held in California, and once more I didn't make it.
So, on to 2018 and Alicante, Spain, with a pre-tour to Mallorca and a post-tour to Valencia. We attended the first one but not the last.
The pre-tour was in the hands of our good friend and colleague, Sally Beale, and we very much looked forward to it.
We arrived on the Saturday and booked into the Hotel Riu Bonanza Playa, where there was a Welcome Drinks Reception in the evening. (Photos 1-3)
On the Sunday we paid a visit to the garden of Helene and Christian Lindgens. This was, in effect, a return visit as it had been on the Itinerary for the 2011 AGM held on the island. Although still a predominantly White garden it was somewhat different to our last viewing of it, as it now held a permanent exhibition of the work of a local sculptor, Pedro Flores. (Photos 4-9)
After lunch we made another return visit to a previously seen garden, that of Hans and Gritli Leisenhoff. On the posting of the 2011 AGM I put a photo of the dry river bed that is one of the features of their property. It seems there had been some severe rainstorms on the island just prior to our arrival so the photo I have squeezed in here is of that same river bed with a few puddles.
Cyprus Branch Head. Gardens in a field 40 m above sea level with reasonably fertile clay soil.
"Aphrodite emerged from the sea and came ashore and at her feet all manner of plants sprang forth" John Deacon (13thC AD)

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John J

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Re: Memories of past AGMs
« Reply #44 on: August 30, 2020, 05:08:48 AM »
Monday, and a visit that I was especially looking forward to, the garden of special friends, Sally and Graham Beale. The coach dropped us off on the outskirts of their home village of S'arraco and we were led through its picturesque, and largely unspoilt, streets before ascending a steep incline to the gates of the property. (Photo 1)
As we entered all my expectations were exceeded as this was truly a garden that reflected the personalities of its owners. It was welcoming, friendly and fun, attributes that it is difficult to convey in photographs, for me anyway.
Sally had once described it as 'gardening in crampons' and as we climbed the hill from terrace to terrace, with each new level providing something different to admire, it became obvious she had not been exaggerating. (Photos 2,3 & 4 show a couple of terraces, one with the swimming pool and the other with a pond. Photo 5 is a view from the house over the village) Somehow this photo seems to have been tacked on at the end!!
The second garden of the morning provided a complete contrast, being situated in a fertile valley with its own supply of water from a well. (For some reason any photos I took here didn't seem to come out too well)
Lunch at the Hostal Dragonera, in the fishing village of San Telmo, was another reminder of the 2011 AGM when we had visited the island of Dragonera.
The afternoon was taken up by a visit to the village of Santa Maria and the garden of Mateu Morro. Mateu is from a true gardening family, he lives and gardens in his grandparents farm while running the nursery started by his father. His brother works with him as a garden designer and his sister has a propagation nursery. Mateu's numerous plant-hunting trips around the world have resulted in the eclectic collection of plants that grow in his garden. (Photos 6-10)
« Last Edit: August 30, 2020, 05:16:09 AM by John J »
Cyprus Branch Head. Gardens in a field 40 m above sea level with reasonably fertile clay soil.
"Aphrodite emerged from the sea and came ashore and at her feet all manner of plants sprang forth" John Deacon (13thC AD)