Sparoza is a functioning Mediterranean garden. It has been shaped, over almost 50 years, by patient, dedicated people who understand the requirements of such a particular ecosystem.When Jacky Tyrwhitt first came to the hillside in the 1960s, it was sparse of vegetation and with very poor and shallow soil. Since then the site has changed immensely. The soil has been improved using traditional local media and the landscape has been manipulated and shaped into distinct areas, each of which showcases a facet of Mediterranean climate ecosystems.
Nonetheless, as is natural, the elemental, geologic and geographic position of Sparoza finally determine the image of the garden. Though a fraction of the garden containing plants that may be more demanding, particularly beautiful, of rarity or sentimental value is irrigated on a regular basis, most of Sparoza is left to fend for itself. The plants selected for the unirrigated parts of the garden are natural survivors in the Mediterranean climate which swings from extreme droughty summers that last for months to winters that, though short, replenish the earth and fortify it for the seasons to come.
For the past twenty years Sally Razelou, a founding member of the Mediterranean Garden Society, intuitive gardener and excellent botanist, has lived on the property and acted as custodian and curator of Sparoza. She has had numerous assistants through the years and now it is my turn. My name is Isabel Sanders and though I have lived in Scotland for many years, Greece is my home. While in Scotland I endured a masters in Art History, worked and made a life that always involved plants in one way or another. Last year I began a second course of study at the Royal Botanic Gardens in Edinburgh; Horticulture with Plantsmanship Bsc. After volunteering at Sparoza during a visit home in the spring, Sally and I agreed that I would return in the autumn and take up a nine month apprenticeship at the garden.
This will be a record of my relationship with Sparoza, the Mediterranean Garden Society and Greece as a whole. I hope others will find what I learn in this unique and wonderful situation exciting and helpful.