This Sicilian villa is at the heart of a productive olive estate. MPG member Alison Richards has recently restored garden areas, shown here looking gorgeous with a mass of Salvia officinalis in the foreground, a flavour of the reinvigorated Mediterranean plantings throughout. The Oxford Botanic Garden and the villa will have a mutually useful involvement as the development of the garden continues. This is a stunning area of Sicily with old windmills and salt flats beside the sea below.
Mediterranean flowers, islands and France
Guest speaker Michael Myers this week gave an illustrated talk on Zoom about Mediterranean wild flowers. He talked mainly about Crete, his favourite island, and also about Corfu, Cyprus and the lower slopes of the mountains of the Alpes Maritimes behind Nice in the south of France. The image shows Ophrys lutea growing amongst Ranunculus asiatica. The audience included members in Greece, Italy, New York, southern California, France, Belgium and the UK. The recording and video of the talk may now be viewed by clicking on this link.
First westerner to see massive rare plant
Few people in the world and nobody from the west had seen the extremely rare Rafflesia banaoana with its huge flower until Chris Thorogood fought his way through Philippine jungle last month. Author of many botany books and plant guides, he is an authority on the Mediterranean with his Field Guide to Flowers of the Western Mediterranean, Field Guide to Flowers of the Eastern Mediterranean and Wild Flowers of the Algarve. He is also an excellent botanical artist. His latest book, When Plants Took Over the Planet, is aimed at 7- to 11-year-olds. Chris, head of science and deputy director of the Oxford Botanic Garden, welcomed MPG members enthusiastically at the start of last summer’s visit to Oxford.
Mona and her Corokia
MPG member Mona Abboud holds the National Collection of Corokia and is featured in the March issue of the RHS’s magazine, The Garden, discussing the joys of her garden in the winter season. The article cites the combination of northern and southern hemisphere plants with rarities to create a garden that looks good in all seasons.
More than 100 London gardens: open weekend
Tickets are on sale now for the London Square Open Gardens weekend of Saturday 11 and Sunday 12 June 2022. Most of the gardens are not normally open to the public and one of the most personal and private is MPG member Mona Abboud’s long narrow garden in Highgate with gorgeous exotics and a collection of Corokia. Tickets can be booked at https://londongardenstrust.eventcube.io/. Our picture shows Pembridge Square, created between 1856 and 1864, captured by Barrie Stead. This garden near Notting Hill Gate has a rose garden, long herbaceous border, woodland and wild flower areas and children’s play space.
MPG committee news
Briony Marriott (pictured) formally joined the tours committee on 7 March 2022, having attended it previously as an observer. Briony is an active gardener at home in West Sussex and has a soft spot for Pelion, the Sporades and Evia, also visiting gardens in any location, “preferably in warm sunshine,” she adds. Contributions from members are welcomed by committees of which there are three: the bursary committee chaired by Cathy Rollinson, the tours committee (responsible for overseas trips and residential events within UK) chaired by Maddy Hughes and a recently approved membership committee, led by Heather Martin, for which volunteers are sought.