Flowers and plants were not – I thought, and now I know, wrongly – of a particular interest to me. I am not a botanist, nor an environmentalist, nor have I a specific knowledge of such “scaring” things like the botanical taxonomy, the plants’ families, orders and species. However I enjoy very much exploring nature, observing its marvels and listening to its miracles. Besides, the sever hierarchies of organized knowledge, especially in its encyclopedic and classificatory forms, had always a very appealing effect on me.
It probably all started early, back in my childhood, when I used to follow my grandfather in his long walks around my village, to our olive, vine and almond plots, in the lower promontories encircling from the South the
Mt. Parnassus, in central . During those walks, grandpa used to take his time in showing me plants, explaining their properties, learning me which are edible or otherwise useful, and warning me about those dangerous and poisonous. He never failed to attract my attention too to beautiful flowers, for which he had a sincere and pure admiration, the very existence of which often caused some kind of embarrassment to his tough villager’s spirit. He used to talk out his embarrassment by narrating to me stories about the flowers. I already then suspected that some of those stories were improvised, but I know nowadays, that some other were genuinely stemming from the ancient Greek mythology. I still don’t know how much conscious was grandpa of the ancestry of his stories, and after all, it does not make any difference. Greece
Stories and flowers, science and legends, sweet memories of a very dear figure and bold natural beauty, it all mixed up in my grown-up’s head with the undeniably revitalizing strength one gets from the direct contact with nature. And here we are…
It all restarted in August 2004, when, trying to avoid the city mess caused by the organization of the Olympic Games, I left
Athens just a few days after the opening ceremony and traveled with my friend Yannis O. to , following the suggestion of my friend Alina. Being by education “a culture’s child” I did not use to pay much attention to nature. Most of my traveler’s curiosity and interest were until then directed to culture and civilization achievements, even though I had visited by that time some countries like Sri Lanka Korea, Italy and . But my earlier trips were all city-centered and civilization-concerned. In United States , despite the enormous cultural interest of the country, I’ve been hit by the irresistible exuberance of the nature! I started taking pictures first of “strange” plants and flowers, then of beautiful ones, and finally I started to discover the wealth of an experience, which I would call “nature’s lessons”. I can not tell how much was I taught, but I want more! Sri Lanka
For my pictures I used from 2004 onward a small compact Olympus Camedia C-765 with a 10x optical zoom, which I replaced in April 2011 with a Canon EOS 60D with an EFS 18-
135 mm and a Macro 100 F2.8 D. The dates under the pictures may help in the improbable case of curiosity about the camera used. In a handful of cases, when the beauty caught me unprepared and without my camera handy, I used cameras kindly lent by my friends and co-travelers.
Then more trips came and naturally more pictures of flowers.
Mexico, Guatemala and Honduras with George, Vassilis T. and Yiannis O., Peninsular Malaysia and Borneo with George, Yemen with Magda, Mt. Kilimanjaro and Serengeti National Park in Tanzania with Andreas, Kostas A. and Sofoklis, Thailand with Yannis V., central Bulgaria with Milena, Kolio, Megi, Dani and Katia, Gallicia in Spain with George, Vassilis V. and Yannis V., Colorado, Utah, Nevada and California with George. Simultaneously we organized many shorter or longer excursions within Greece with all the above-mentioned friends and many others, including Alina, Sophia, Morfoula and Kostas M., Vassilis G. and Aleka, Evi, Yiannis K., Rosa and Carlos, Hana and John, Katerina and Thana, George K., Dimitris, Jara and Lenka, Thanasis, Spyros and Mirek, Xavier, Kleopatra, Kostas P., František and Šarka, Aphrodite and Mohamed, Nancy, Maria, Eleni, Xenophon, Gogo and Vasilis T., Lilian, Ilias, Andreas and Dora. This blog is dedicated to them all and many others with whom I shared and enjoyed travels for recreational or professional purposes.
Friendship, like flowers, is an inestimable beauty, but unlike the wild flowers it gets more beautiful when cultivated. I’d like to thank all of you for being with me, sharing the journey of our lives and transforming it to an aesthetic experience!
The Not-So-Constant Gardener