It has been said that ‘Athens is not a green city’.
It may be truer that ‘Athens was always a dry city’.
But yet, its streets, parks and squares are lined with flowering, fruiting trees and plants continuously growing.
Balconies hang heavy with potted plants while weeds run riot amongst quiet and forgotten places.
Athens is in fact a very green city.
So why do we fail to see the green at our feet?
Athina Garden City is an exploration of the plants of Athens, a project developed by Catriona Gallagher and Fanis Kafantaris. Undertaken in the backyard of A – DASH project space, the ongoing project proposes the design and planting of a new garden as a host site for responses to the life of plants, in the city and further afield. As the garden grows and develops, further interactions and plants will be introduced. The founding of the garden is a conceptual exercise in horticulture and botany, creating both a testing ground for various responses to plants and a place for people to meet.
Athina Garden City is an ongoing project to develop the garden over several parts. Part 1 was a Propagation Workshop held on 29th and 30th April 2017. On a walk from A – DASH on Asklipiou to Lykavittos Hill, 14 participants explored and discussed the plants growing in the shifting urban landscape in the immediate local area. They took cuttings from the stepped pedestrian ways, the street sides and the hill itself, examining the urban indigenous species of the immediate local area. The cuttings were documented, prepared and planted for propagation back in the garden at A – DASH and are now growing as the first plants of the new garden. Participants were also invited to bring cuttings from their balconies and local areas to support the garden with a wider variety of plants that encapsulate those that grow, and are grown, in our city. In part 2, later in 2017, the new garden will be opened to the public.
(images by Fanis Kafantaris, Catriona Gallagher, Anne-Laure Franchette)