Happy May day! (part 2)

After enjoying the Kouros and the excitement of the big May day barbecue, we piled back into the Symenoglous’ car and headed off to an extremely small village nearby to celebrate much more quietly with their extended family. These’s no parking in this village, in fact there isn’t even a road, it’s only accessible by footpath. So, we got out of the car at the top of a pass and began walking into the valley along a well-worn footpath. The path follows the course of a still-functioning, ancient aqueduct. It was extremely fun to be walking next to a babbling brook with occasional waterfall on this normally-arid island.

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About 35 people have gathered further along the path where it opens up to be wide enough for tables and a line of benches along the wall of a house. With my poor Greek skills I can’t tell how everyone is related, but walking through the crowd it obviously doesn’t matter – everyone is merrily greeting each other, talking, and enjoying the food and company. The main event is flower-wreath making, I hiked in with Mrs. Symenoglou’s flowers, fresh-cut from her garden.



After a little while of shaking hands and meeting people but being unable to sustain any real conversations, I decided to dive in and help Mrs. Symenoglou with her wreath.


Just about all of the native flowers and herbs in Greece are deliciously perfumy. Here’s Mrs. Symenoglou introducing me to one of them. I forget the species, but it smelled amazing!



We made mini-bouquets, and then Mrs. Symenoglou, with obviously practiced hands, quickly wove them around a stick frame.IMG_1958



Here’s our finished product:



Little did I know as we were making the wreath that next up was the judging to select best! Johannes and I, as the guests of honor (and really, the only unrelated and potentially impartial judges) were asked to select the winner! After much hemming and hawing we chose this one, as Johannes’ primary criteria was all native species (conservation biologist that he is… but I still liked my roses).


All of the options were beautiful though.


Alright, more science coming soon, but this adventure was so much fun I had to share it. It also led to our meeting the head of the Farmers and Growers Association of Naxos – I’m anxious to talk with him more in the future!

With luck, tomorrow, I’ll be heading to scout out the first of my experimental islets! Fingers crossed!

3 thoughts on “Happy May day! (part 2)

  1. This is definitely my idea of an ideal May Day!!! I never met a flower (or hardly any plant) that I didn’t like, and I even like making wreaths (our grapevines make excellent bases.) Could you slip a few plants into your luggage on the way home? Our climate is probably a great deal like that in Naxos, and I promise to take good care of them!!

    Gloria C.

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