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Thanks to the Journal, I have accompanied the MGS's miraculous progress
and seen how carefully business is handled by all involved. Although
the presidency will rotate from country to country, day to day
administration will continue in Greece. We are lucky that Sally
Razelou, the former President, will continue to live at Sparoza, the
home of the MGS, where her enthusiastic dedication to the cause of
the MGS will continue. Caroline Harbouri ought to be thanked for
each carefully produced journal, embellished by Derek Toms'
admirable drawings. From Barbara Diamantides, the Secretary, I
have just heard that the Society has rounded the cape of 600 members,
some of whom are actively shaping the MGS and its future.
Duncan Avery and Hamish Warren continue to provide a valuable
personalized service to members who do not have access to a Plantfinder.
They will be pleased to let you know where to find the plants you
require (see [the journal, The Mediterranean Garden] No. 9, p.46
[A Database of Plant Nurseries for MGS Members]).
Derrick Donnison-Morgan generously offers to
place his time at the service of the MGS and is currently arranging
for a Seed Exchange between members. He will put forward his ideas
in the Spring issue of the journal.
Personally, I see it as a priority to work
towards string local groups in all countries around the Mediterranean
(why not all countries with a Mediterranean climate? I hear you
ask), which is entirely in the hands of the members. Such groups
would have programmes and newsletters in their own language (in
addition to receiving the journal), but would always liaise with the
central MGS. Sally, for example,plans to continue giving her
attention to the ever-growing Greek Local Group. In other
countries, all depends un members' willingness to get involved.
Joanna Millar has already outlined a few ideas for the French Local
Group, although at the time she had one foot in the plane on her way
to India. Interest in a Spanish Group has been expressed by a range
of experienced Spanish gardeners, while Joan Tesei, at La Landriana
has promised to share her expertise with the Italian Group. If you
have any suggestions for such groups, please do not tuck them under
your pillow, but let me know about them. They ay be just what is
needed to get a stone rolling.
Once Dana Zangas, our 'minister of finance',
feels that the expense of a printed Membership Directory is within
the MGS's possibilities, members can look forward to a copy. Those
who already require their countries membership list as a tool for
setting up a local group should write to the Secretary.
Day excursions to wild flower sites will be part of the
local groups' activities and will promote interest in and
knowledge of the colourful native Mediterranean plants. In Greece
such excursions have been taking place for some time and John Rendall
proposes a short weekend in Monemvasia in April.May 1998
(accommodation in the old castro, reasonable fee). The
well-known French horticulturist Olivier Filippi has promised to
lead members to a site where Cistus hybridize. Look for
particulars in the Spring issue.
Besides organizing an exchange of plants, a lecture or a
visit to a member's garden, it will be in the hands of enterprising
and creative Local Groups to represent the MGS at garden fairs such as
La Landriana near Rome or Courson near Paris. The MGS has already
been offered a free stand. Both events are of outstanding quality
and a wonderful opportunity for members to show their own
achievements, see what other propose or simply meet like-minded gardeners.
During the 1997 AGM at Sparoza, an invitation
arrived for the MGS to participate in the BBC Gardeners' World Live
in Birmingham (10-14 June 1998). A prominent UK member was
consulted who thought this a gift from heaven. The MGS has over 80
UK members, many of whom might enjoy participating in this
fascinating event and making known to a wide public the MGS and its
aims: conservation of native plants, water and soil, as well as
education. A stand of around 15sq.m. has generously been offered.
Manning it over a week will give many members the opportunity to
participate. Members from the Mediterranean would give that
'Mediterranean touch' and may want to plant their next visit to the
UK accordingly. Will you let the MGS Secretary or myself know at
the earliest is you are able to generously offer your help, even if it is
part-time of tentative? No expertise is required - only what we all
share: enthusiasm for Mediterranean gardening matters.
Short features on current research could be
included in the future Journals. If we are lucky, somebody will see
to this. In the meantime, why not send in any material that comes
your way? It can be copied from journals or newspapers, but has
to state the source and the date. Since most gardeners today drift
away from chemicals, best provide information which is in line with
today's ecological insights.
I would also, the in the future, wish to
involve children (a children's page?). Children with gardenwise
parents usually have their small plot and may want to let
participate in their exciting experiences or theirs may be an inspiring
The word 'Mediterranean' is in everyone's
mouth, but who actually knows what it means? One facet, however,
seems to be certain: times are gone when gushing sprinklers
distributed water evenly over a colourful expanse. With water
getting scarcer and more expensive by the year, today's
Mediterranean gardeners investigate how to garden in harmony
with the Mediterranean climate, with its humid winters and long dry
summers, by exploring the landscaping potential of the Mediterranean
native flora. They can create new garden styles, using plants
which like the terrain they are intended for. Such gardeners may
want to let others know how they manage to achieve harmony with the
local landscape and conserve the world's most vital resource -
water. A few failures are invariably part of it. Among the Society's
members will be experienced ones, to encourage and support those who
feel that conditions are difficult and harsh - and let them see that
'there is always a way'.
I thank those who dedicate themselves - or will
do so in future - to the well-being of the Society and I wish all