I met him through a friend Mando, whose sister was a fellow student at the University with him studying Biology.
I knew that he constructed wonderful gardens, as he had completed a doctorate in botany after studying biology and was teaching also and as I had a passion for plants and gardens, I wanted to meet him. In the end we realised that we also had a passion for travelling so spent hours discussing that too. So therefore at this point I should thank Iro and Mando for meeting him.
We started a great friendship and at some point he told me about his dream. He wanted to construct a huge garden on a plot of land on which he would build a small house with access to running water and be relatively close to Athens. Those were the most important requirements but also the hard parts of finding his dream garden..because you can find beautiful spots in Greece, lakes and rivers can be found.. but all that and to be relatively close to Athens that’s not so easy…
So the dream garden of Antonis for years remained a dream.
Afterwards he found himself in Mykonos building the gardens of the rich and famous and there he met the person who was the interior designer to the rich and famous. His name was Martik..and you will read a lot about him in my blog as he is an energetic, total force of nature, talented and wonderful person.
While there when they were talking, Antonis told him about his dream to own a plot of land next to a mountain river..and Martik said to him..Great! I have just the place you are looking for.
Whatever, said Antonis, I have been looking for years and have found nothing ..are you sure?
Of course said Martik as I have a country house in a village below which run two rivers and its stunning and it’s less than 2 hours from Athens and they are selling land there.
Then Antonis said, OK let me go and take a look.. without expecting too much though…
And he got there and he saw the place and he gasped.. because Martik had been there, had cleaned up the proposed plot of land, he set up a wonderful table for Antonis and his friends, so when the people arrived they saw the place and fell in love with it. So Antonis bought the plot of land immediately..a plot of land whose two boundaries are two rivers which meet in one corner of the property and continue down to the sea.
The name of one of the rivers is Krios, and it ends up in a village by the sea called Akrata, in the Peloponnese .
Sinevro is the name of the village and it is 600 metres above sea level 18 kilometres from the beach.. and the amazing plot of Antonis is in the most magical place in the village…
When he returned to Athens he told me about it I could sense his enthusiasm ..and I said to myselfI have to see this place. And I went and I saw it and I was blown away; and I met Martik and realised what wonderful things can happen when people with dreams and vision are around. Antonis built a small stone house of 30 m2.. and started to construct his garden.
After 7 or 8 years his garden is now mature and grown…the plants he first planted have become trees and since then he has planted thousands of other plants too. Bushes, perennials, trees…even a Sequoia ..one of the tallest trees in the world you know..it has reached 4 metres already and continues to grow which is good.
Some things about gardening now. When you construct a garden you have to keep in mind that whatever you put in to it will mature after about 3-5 years. Therefore you need to know about the plants and the best place to place them appropriately. It’s not enough to say, I like that Hydrangea and I will put it in my garden. Hydrangeas need acidic soil which is hard to find in Greece. Also some bushes you may like grow to three metres and others to only a metre. Well, you have to realise this and plant the shorter in front even though when small they are the same size. And there are so many other things to consider.. because a garden changes over time continuously and needs patience and lots of knowledge. And something else. You see the changes with the passing of the seasons. A garden changes by the day..different in winter, in autumn, in spring and in summer. And of course when you plan a garden you must keep all that in mind. You must have plants that create interest all year round. With their flowers with their different coloured leaves, with their branches. How would it be to be all in bloom in April and not the following months? Won’t you be living there, won’t you see it? It’s quite difficult to get it right.
Antonis planted a Sequoia which normally grows to 80 metres in height.. he planted it when it was half a metre tall… are you telling me he will see it when it’s at full height? Of course not..it lives for hundreds of years and will take all that time to reach full height.. but the fact that it’s already 4 metres is amazing..you see the future..the continuation..like something you are leaving to the world, your inheritance.. A Sequoia?…you might say, well yes, it is an inheritance for future generations..
After so many years Antonis’s garden has taken on the look he wanted. Of course there are still small and some large changes but most things are now in place.
The pathways with the gravel, the lakes (3 of them) , a rose garden, the chicken and geese coops and the vegetable patch.. Points of interest are the collection of Japanese Maple trees, the banks of the river, his loved of old variety plants which these days are no longer used in gardens, but just the wonderful atmosphere that a beautiful garden brings.
Unfortunately you cannot visit the garden as it is private although I think it should be visited in the future. This village and the one next door called Seliana have attracted many energetic and interesting people and will soon become an amazing destination… Sinevro has already got a theme park called ‘Area Synest’ owned by Martik and in Seliana there is the community “Re-Green” of Christos, Fleris and Liveloula…
It is always an amazing thing to create a garden even on a balcony with a few pots .. the relationship you have with nature, the time you spend is time you are spending on yourself. And you learn lessons.. and that is the main reason why we should all have a garden or even just plants on a balcony.. or just a lovely pot plant.
I hope I have planted the seed for you to try it too..
You can find Antonis through his company Ecoscapes.
It would be a little difficult for him to create you a garden at the moment because he is booked out completely you know…but keep trying
I must day that Antonis and Ecoscapes constructed our garden which you can findhere...