We went on an excursion with the Mediterranean Garden Society (to which I belong) to the nursery of Yannis Gryllis.
The Mediterranean Garden Society is a charity which has the aim to study, cultivate and spread knowledge about the mediterranean flora more suited to our gardens in Greece. Growing plants in this way means they do not need as much water or suffer from as many diseases as introduced plants in our country.
I have been a member here in Greece for many years and I have noticed that most of the members are foreigners living in Greece, mostly British and very few Greeks… Strange but true. Maybe because the British have a great love of plants and gardens and gardening and have been known for it for centuries.
Anyway.. it is a very interesting organisation and if you are interested in joiningthere is link a the end of the article.
Let’s talk about Yannis now.
He is an incredible person and we are quite friendly. I have known him for many years now and in two different places.
I met him the first time at a flower exhibition in Kifissia (a Northern suburb of Athens) which he has participated in for the last few years, and he has always had one of the best stalls featuring plants for sale but is especially good for the way the plants are displayed.
I also met him through a friend of mine Andonis Skordilis; a landscape gardener who creates stunning gardens all over Greece and beyond and is supplied with many plants by Yannis Gryllis.
Yannis studied horticulture as I did and he also has a post graduate degree in landscaping. He is the person you should go to if you wish to have a pond or small lake on your property and need an expert to set it up for you.
I first went to his nursery a few years ago when he first set it up. I was blown away with the beauty of the plants and so many were strange and of the type your rarely see around in other nurseries. He started off by bringing to Greece the first water plants which drove me crazy! Water Irises, water lilies, decorative water reeds…and it was in a huge nursery about 3 acres in size! “What are you going to put in here Yanni?” I asked him, “isn’t it a bit too large?”
“Maybe a bit small after I’ve finished” he said….
I didn’t believe him and thought he was exaggerating.
The last time I went I understood what he was meant…The nursery is too small and Yannis has created something magical in Marathon. An area that soon will become a theme park with many attractions, many lakes with water lilies and Koi fish, a forest of bamboo, a display section showing how your garden could look if he did it for you and much more!
He cultivates more than 300 species of plants to give you an idea. He has special soil in which the plants grow creating roots that are encased in red earth and are capable of doing well in the arid soil of any garden you may have. The plants are always in their pots ready to be replanted without any problem into your garden.
Apart from the water plants of which there are many compared to when I first visited, Yannis has started to cultivate plants that most of us do not know much about. One example is those plants that prefer the shade. Until now we didn’t have a great variety of these plants in Greece which we could plant in the shade and in dry soil. He has provided us with many solutions to the problem of these areas in our gardens and on our balconies.
Another group of plants which he has grown are decorative grasses that range from the smallest “Briza” to a huge bamboo and with leaf colour which ranges from yellow to black. Wonderful plants especially if you see them moving with the slightest breeze!
Lastly he has a huge collection of Mediterranean plants that are very easy to grow bearing beautiful flowers, some can be kept in bloom for up to nine months per year.The varieties of Salvies are innumerable and you can add to any garden or even a pot giving light and colour to the garden. I forgot to mention the plants he has to grow on roofs. His collection of sedum is monumental and you will find everything from the smallest to the largest you may need. Of course he has other plants that he is trying out and they are not yet for sale- some he gives away to friends to plants in their gardens to try out. But some he doesn’t even share and he keeps them to himself….I can’t even get a look in!
Every time I go to Yannis I end up buying something. You always find something interesting there and he has the patience to teach you a lot. It is worth getting to know him and I’m sure you can get an idea from the pictures!