Bougainvil­leas and Ole­an­der

It was a blessed sea­son this spring of 2018 for bougainvil­leas and ole­an­ders as well.


From my 5th floor bal­cony in Athens, above the vast Alexan­dras av­enue, I have the priv­i­lege of view­ing two old bougainvil­lea ladies and two more ole­an­ders, flour­ish­ing on the op­po­site pave­ment be­hind the rail­ings of lit­tle gar­dens dec­o­rat­ing the front of old apart­ment houses. In the nearby Pe­dion tou Areos Park (Field of Ares), there are no bougainvil­leas. It is full of ole­an­ders. Pink and red (the Rhodo­den­dreos va­ri­ety) but mostly the white va­ri­ety. Those that we meet ar­riv­ing in mag­i­cal ...


But here queen of the climb­ing plants is the Mediter­ranean bougainvil­lea. The kind and va­ri­ety of deep red, pur­ple rather. So here we are, and I pro­pose – if not pro­voke you – to walk around and just look around you. For­get the mag­nif­i­cent vis­tas from high above (you’ll have plenty of time to re-ad­mire the glo­ri­ous sun­set from world-known Oia). Just walk around the towns, the vil­lages, the neigh­bour­hoods, the zigzag­ging pave­ments (for­get­ting, en route, the in­trigu­ing win­dows of tempt­ing shops). Just look around you! Watch the colours: white – all the hu­man made white con­struc­tions – and then blue, how many vari­ants of blue. So dif­fer­ent is the one from above us, the sky, from the deep blue sea, and then as well from the blue of the church domes.

And then sud­denly, in a turn of an al­ley, there she is: queen bougainvil­lea! Re­peat­ing her glo­ri­ous pres­tige at the side of out­door steps, in front of hum­ble houses or old manors, restau­rants, at the en­trance of 5 star ho­tels, rooms to let, stu­dios or apart­ments. But most of all dec­o­rat­ing – as she climbs above the fa­mous “avli” – the court­yards of small pri­vate houses. Salut­ing as she ar­rives at the roof and of­fer­ing a much needed shade. As well as pro­duc­ing a sight of splen­dor and unique­ness, rare in the whole world. The Bougainvil­lea! Come and meet her in San­torini!

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