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Sparoza is an experimental waterwise garden on the outskirts of Athens created and developed by two extraordinary women - the renowned urban planner Jacky Tyrwhitt (1905-1983) and, subsequently, the artist and plantswoman Sally Razelou (1931-2021).
Jacky built the house at Sparoza in the mid 1960s and created a drought-tolerant garden that mixed Greek natives with plants from other mediterranean climate zones, anything that could cope with the extreme conditions of the site. Drawing on her experience at Sparoza she wrote one of the first books on Mediterranean gardening,
Making a Garden on a Greek Hillside, which is a beautiful account of life, the seasons and the successes and failures in the garden.
Right; The Cacti and Succulent bed, looking towards the South Veranda
Photographs of Sparoza in the mid-1960s and early 1970s
Jacky died in February 1983, whilst she was finishing her book. In her will she left the property to the Goulandris Natural History Museum for the preservation and conservation of the flora of Attica. Sally Razelou arrived at Sparoza in the summer of 1992 as a tenant of the Goulandris and set about reinvigorating and developing the garden and the plant collection.
In 1994 Sally created the Mediterranean Garden Society along with Derek Toms and Caroline Harbouri, their aim being to help gardeners struggling to garden in summer dry climates. Sally was the first President of the society and Sparoza became its headquarters. Sally was the custodian at Sparoza for nearly thirty years building on what Jacky had started, creating an unconventional and deeply inspiring organic garden full of beauty and surprises. Since Sally’s death in March 2021 at the age of 90, her last garden assistant, Lucie Willan, stayed on to look after the garden and has been at Sparoza ever since.
Top; The Dancing Olives
Bottom; Lucie and Sally on the East Terrace at Sparoza
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