Mediterranean Garden Society

» Home
» About
» Membership
» Journal
» Sparoza Garden
» Branches
» AGMs
» MGS Forum
» Seed Exchange
» Donations
» MGS Excursions
» Information
» Members' Gardens
» Book Reviews
» News & Views
» Contact
» Search



22nd Annual General Meeting
Athens, Greece
20 to 23 October 2016

General Assembly     Optional Tour     Registration     Books and Book Reviews

AGM Main Programme of Events

Thursday 20 October
19.00 to 22.30 - Registration and Welcome Reception

The programme will begin with registration and a welcoming drink and reception at the Dionysos Zonar’s Restaurant, 43, Rovertou Galli Street, with a spectacular nighttime view of the illuminated Acropolis. Participants may ride to the reception on the Athens Happy Train with pickup points at all recommended hotels.

The Acropolis at night
(Photographed by Jorge Láscar for Wikimedia)

Friday 21 October
Visits to historic sites, gardens and an evening lecture

There will be a morning guided visit to the Keramikos Cemetery, the ancient cemetery of Athens, featuring gravestones and tombs dating from antiquity, ancient walls of the city as well as vestiges of the Eridanos river, today a stream, and the flora and fauna supported by this water source. This is the only visible section of the Eridanos, one of the three rivers that once flowed through Athens; for the remainder of its course from its source at Mount Lycabettos it runs through underground channels.

The Eridanos river flowing through Keramikos
(Photographed by Robin McGrew)

Before lunch there will be a visit to the Philodassiki Botanical Garden and Nursery at Kaisariani. The Philodassiki Society, Friends of the Trees, was founded in 1904 with a mission to reforest the mountain of Hymettos. Today 446 hectares of native trees reflect the success of that mission. The society has also developed an 8,000-square-metre botanical garden featuring hundreds of species of plants indigenous to southern and central Greece, the Aegean islands and Crete. In 1994 the European Union designated the garden and adjacent 11th-century monastery (built on the site of an ancient sanctuary) one of the 58 most important Historic Gardens and Architectural Monuments in Europe

The forest at Kaisariani
(Photographed by Robin McGrew)

Lunch will be at a taverna in the Flisvos Marina

In the afternoon participants will have a guided tour of Philopappou Hill, also called the Hill of the Muses, and two adjacent hills, the Hill of the Pnyx and the Hill of the Nymphs, highlighting features of botanical and archaeological interest. This hilltop area facing the Acropolis was inhabited from prehistoric times to the post-Byzantine area. In addition to affording wonderful views of the Saronic Gulf and the Acropolis, these hills once supported the ancient suburbs of Koili and Meliti. Traces of the 5th-century BC city wall and the foundations of classical houses can still be seen. The Hill of the Pnyx was the site of the original open-air parliament of Athenian democracy where the great orators Pericles, Themistocles and Demosthenes addressed the people. The Church of Agios Dimitrios Loumbardiaris, dating to the 16th century, is known for its fine frescos. On the top of the Philopappou hill are the remains of the 2nd-century AD tomb monument of Gaius Julius Antiochus Epiphanes Philopappus, a prince of Commagene in what is today Turkey, after whom the hill is named. (His name is rather a mouthful, but the last part of it, Philopappus, rather charmingly means “one who loves his grandfather”.)  Thanks to the work of architect Dimitris Pikionis, who laid out the pathways through trees and native shrubs in the 1950s, the site today is an oasis in the centre of the city. Pikionis’ paving is a work of art.

Pikionis’ paving on Philopappou Hill
(Photograph from

At 19:00 there will be a talk by Robin Lane Fox provisionally entitledKyrgyzstan: an unMediterranean flora?’ at the Ionic Centre in Plaka. Mr Lane Fox is an English classicist, ancient historian and gardening writer known for his books on Alexander the Great, Greek seafarers of the 8th century BC and Xenophon’s march of the ten thousand, among many other classical subjects. Lane Fox is an Emeritus Fellow of New College, Oxford and Reader in Ancient History, University of Oxford. Fellow and Tutor in Ancient History at New College from 1977 to 2014, he serves as Garden Master and as Extraordinary Lecturer in Ancient History for both New and Exeter Colleges. Lane Fox is also the gardening correspondent of the Financial Times. Subject matter for this talk will be generated in part by a trip Lane Fox plans to make on horseback through a remote area of Kyrgyzstan this summer. Local members are welcome to attend free of charge

The remainder of the evening will be free; see below for recommended restaurants.

Saturday 22 October
Morning - MGS Garden at Sparoza, Vorres Museum
Afternoon - Private garden in Mesogeia Plain designed by Gay and Goldson, or
Private garden in Drafi designed by the owner and Charles Shoup

There will be a morning visit to the MGS garden at Sparoza where the custodian, Sally Razelou, and MGS volunteer gardeners will guide visitors through the garden and offer coffee and other refreshments.

The nursery at the MGS garden at Sparoza
(Photographed by Robin McGrew)

Before lunch there will be a visit to the Vorres Museum featuring late 20th-century Greek paintings and sculpture as well as two reconstructed village houses displaying household objects from various parts of Greece spanning 2500 years of history. The 18,000-square-metre grounds of this private museum are especially spectacular.

Vorres Museum

Lunch will be served at the Vorres Museum.

In the afternoon there will be a choice of visits to one of two private gardens. The first garden, designed by Jennifer Gay and Piers Goldson, is located in Keratea in the Mesogeia Plain on a 4.5-acre plot in the dry and stony hills of south-east Attica. The landscape and vegetation here is characterized by undulating vine country, streaked with olive groves and dotted with sugarloaf hills. The owner of this garden is committed to the principles of waterwise gardening and the use of climate-appropriate plants. All the shrubs and perennials in this garden have been sourced from Olivier Filippi’s nursery near Montpellier in the South of France, where plants are grown in preparation for a life without summer water. The soil is prepared before planting to ensure good drainage and river sand is incorporated where necessary. This garden was designed with a master plan and has been in development for several years. Today visitors can see sections of mature plantings as well as newly installed areas.

Garden in Keratea
(Photographed by Robin McGrew)

The second garden, designed by the owner with hardscapes by the American architect and artist Charles Shoup, is located in Drafi on an 8.5-acre plot of land on the footslopes of Mount Pendeli with a view south across the Mesogeia plain. The plants are mostly mediterranean-climate plants sourced by the owner from around the world and propagated from seeds collected in Greece. In addition to a great variety of plants and trees and the meticulously crafted hardscapes, there are several water features in the garden adding to the sensory richness of the place. The garden was developed and planted over a ten-year period that ended in 2001. By now it has matured and evolved. Those who have made previous visits to the garden will no doubt see something new as the owner has shifted focus slightly to produce food crops which are shared with family, friends and local food banks.

Photographs taken in 2001 in the garden on the footslopes of Pendeli.

The evening will be free; see below for recommended restaurants.

Sunday 23 October
The General Assembly

The General Assembly will start at 10:00 at the Ionic Centre in Plaka. This Neoclassical building is located in the heart of Plaka, the oldest part of modern Athens and a neighbourhood that has been continuously inhabited since antiquity.

Ionic Centre
(Photograph from Sightseeing)

A Farewell Dinner will be held at 20:00 in a taverna in the historic centre of Athens.

AGM Main Programme of Events – Cost and Important Information
Online registration and payment now open

300 euros per person not including accommodation
This consists of:
40 euros registration fee, non-refundable in case of cancellation. (Not applicable for Branch Heads and AC members.)
260 euros per person for the main AGM programme. This covers the Welcome Reception and transport to the Reception on the Happy Train, entrance fees, lunch and transport on Friday and Saturday, and the Farewell Dinner. 

Local members are invited to join the Welcome Reception on Thursday 20 October, the Vorres Museum visit and lunch on Saturday 22 October and the Farewell Dinner following the General Assembly on the evening of Sunday 23 October. Contact Vivien Psaropoulou for prices and to book.
Local members are welcome to attend the lecture by Robin Lane Fox (see above) free of charge

Please note that the optional Post-AGM Tour in Corfu must be booked and paid for separately from the AGM Programme of Events. Please go to the Optional Tour page.

Cancellation policy for the Main Programme of Events:

  1. 30 to 15 days before event (20 September to 5 October) 50% cancellation fee.
  2. 14 to 3 days   before event (6 to 17 October) 90% cancellation fee.
  3. Less than 3 days no refund.

We strongly recommend that you take out adequate travel and medical insurance. The Organisers and the Mediterranean Garden Society accept no liability for any personal injury, loss or damage of property belonging to or additional expenses incurred by AGM participants, either during the AGM or as result of delays, strikes or any other circumstances.

Participants will be responsible for arranging their own accommodation at one of the recommended hotels listed below.

Members may wish to employ the professional organiser to book a hotel on their behalf.
Contact Patricia Kakounis of Athens Transfers, Tel. +30 210 6141745 or +30 6948872111 (mobile); Fax +30 211 8006173. Athens Transfers can also coordinate airport transfer and local transportation.

Recommended Hotels - click to see map with locations

Indicative prices for most of the recommended hotels can be found by entering check-in/check-out dates at Search under ‘Athens’ then ‘Athens City Centre’.

High price range

The New Hotel
Filellinon 16, Athens, tel. ++ 30 210 3273000

Electra Palace Hotel
Nikodimou 18, Athens, tel. ++ 30 210 3370000

Dionysiou Areopagitou 5, Athens, tel. ++ 30 210 9249954 

Georgiou Sourri 3, Athens, tel. ++ 30 210 3258555

Medium price range

Plaka Hotel
Kapnikareas 7, Athens, tel. ++ 30 210 3222706   

Central Hotel
Apollonos 21, Athens, tel. ++ 30 210 3234357

Hermes Hotel
Apollonos 19, Athens, tel. ++ 30 210 3235514

Adrian Hotel
Adrianou 74, Athens, tel. ++ 30 210 3221553

Lower price range

Hotel Nefeli
Iperidou 16, Athens, tel. ++ 30 210 3228044

Hotel Acropolis House
Kodrou 6, Athens, tel. ++ 30 210 3244143

Athens Studios
Veikou 3, Athens, tel. ++ 30 210 9235811

Hotel Byron
Virona 19, Athens, tel. ++ 30 210 3230327

Suggested Restaurants and Tavernas - click to see map with locations

Acropolis Museum Restaurant 
Dionysiou Areopagitou 15, tel. 210 9000900

Attikos Greek House
Garibaldi 7, tel. 210 9215256

Avocado (exclusively vegetarian)
Nikis 30, tel. 210 3237878

Bakaliarakia Taverna
Kidathineon 41, tel. 210 3225084

Café Abyssinia
Kinetou 7, tel. 210 3217047

Diodos Agoras
Adrianou 19, tel. 210 3212256

Platia Lisikrati 1, tel. 210 3247933

Romvis 9, tel. 210 3250022

Adrianou 9, tel. 210 3240133

Apostolou Pavlou 35, tel. 210 3463844

Adrianou 47, tel. 210 3210181

Mani Mani
Falirou 10, tel. 210 9218180

Palia Athina
Nikis 46, tel. 210 3245777

Diogenous 4, tel. 210 3220666

Rovertou Galli 25, tel. 210 9214130
All content (c) copyrighted by source or author, not to be reproduced without authorization.

website designed and maintained by Hereford Web Design