Friday, 15 June 2018

The Botanical Gardens in Fournes Crete



On my recent trip to Crete, I had the opportunity to visit the Botanical Gardens at Fournes. I learnt that the Botanical Park & Gardens of Crete was reborn from the ashes after a devastating fire spread in October 2004. The wild fire started when an  electricity pole was struck by a storm near the village of Skordalou.The fire burnt for more than 24 hours and destroyed the entire surrounding area burning down Orange groves and over 60,000 olive trees some over 400 years old. The charred olive tree still remains standing sad and forlorn in the gardens as a reminder of that tragic day.



The village was ruined both financially and ecologically and many people lost everything they owned. Farm land was burnt to ashes. Petros Marinakis and his two brothers who also lost much of their farmland decided to rebuild the burnt land and turn it into a Botanical garden that would be open to the public for trekking, education and recreation. It would also create jobs for the villagers who lost their livelihood in the fire.



Work began on the Botanical gardens and with lots of research and careful planning it opened its doors in 2010. Petros and his brothers decided to divide the Botanical Gardens into sections; Tropical, Mediterranean, Wine section and the Lake. 



The gardens have 3 different climate zones; Tropical, Sub tropical and Alpine. Within the different zones you will find fruit trees, spices, herbs, medicinal plants, citrus trees, and tropical plants and Alpine shrubs and trees. Crete has a micro climate and all the different variety of plants grow easily in the gardens.The gardens are tended by local gardeners from nearby villages.



The Botanical Gardens also grow their own vegetables that are used for their Cretan restaurant on site. All the produce is organic and seasonal and the chefs create recipes according to what ingredients are available. 




There is a shop on site that sells honey made from the gardens own bees, together with olive oils and other Cretan products, olives, cook books and delicacies. The Gardens are open from March to November.




To generate extra income the gardens host music festival, put on traditional dance shows and local music shows for the public in their amphitheatre overlooking the beautiful gardens and hill tops. 




They also support the smaller farmers, provide employment for the local people and help to bring tourism to Crete.




During our visit to the gardens, we were lucky to have the opportunity to have a Cretan cookery class by one of their resident chefs Emilios Asllanis. Emilios is very passionate about his cooking and makes recipes he has learnt from his mother and grandmother. How lovely it is to see him carry forward the Cretan cooking he has grown up with.





We made Marathopita a fennel pie, Haroupopitaki a carob pastry filled with a spinach and cheese, which we had for our lunch in The Olive Restaurant together with lots of other delicious Cretan dishes.



The restaurant serves delicious local Cretan Cuisine that is freshly prepared daily using the finest home grown produce. I was totally mesmerised by the pots of stew bubbling on outdoor oven that they have. There can't be a more authentic way to cook than this.




It was a wonderful and most enjoyable experience looking around the gardens which were tranquil, spiritual and offered majestic views. We even spotted a peacock resting amongst the trees.




I would highly recommend a visit to the Botanical gardens if you visit Crete. The tour of the gardens is very educational and interesting. You can even take a rest on the benches just to enjoy and savour the peacefulness and hear the peacocks.




To look around the gardens at a leisurely pace and finish off with lunch I would probably allow at least 5-6 hours. Although for the more adventurous people you can spend an entire day just exploring the gardens. It is highly recommended to wear comfortable shoes as some of the paths are rather steep. A bottle of water and a hat are also handy as the walk back up to the Olive Restaurant is tiring as its all up hill climb on the way back.

I was a guest of the Botanical Gardens and I can say that the visit was truly memorable.

Check the links below more posts about my recent trip to Crete: 

Chania and Olea Villas ~Crete
Greek Feast at Olea Vilas Crete
Hand Picked Greece
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Wednesday, 13 June 2018

French Flag ~Tour de France Bostik Challenge




This month the Bostik box is all about Tour de France. The box had a lot of blue, white and red crafting item. Little M my crafting buddy came over to help me create our monthly craft, we were looking through the box but to be honest this month we struggled with what to make. But then Little M and I started talking about France and so we made these cute flags for the theme.

To make the France Flag you will need:


  • 1 sheet white card
  • Blue, white and red funky foam
  • 1 wooden skewer
  • Pencil
  • Ruler
  • Scissors
  • Bostik Glue
  • Sellotape

How to make:

1.On the white card draw rectangle 17 cm x 10cm and cut it out.
2. On the white cut out card, draw a 2cm margine on the right hand side and using the scissors score the line so you can make a fold over it.
3. Place the skewer with the pointed side up on to the fold line and using Bostik glue stick the flap over the stick. You may need to secure it with a small piece of sellotape to hold it in place.


4. Cut out three rectangles 5 cm x 10 cm one from each colour red, white and blue funky foam.
5. Turn the flag over so that the stick is now on the left hand side. Spread Bostik glue all over the surface, and stick the funky foam rectangles Blue, white and red in the correct order.
6. Press down to ensure the foam is stuck properly. The flag is ready.




This craft is suitable for young children although, adult supervision may be required for using scissors. If you like this project check the link below for more art and craft projects, that you can do with your children.

Kids Arts and Craft Videos
Kids Arts and Crafts Projects 

Being part of the Bostik 2018 bloggers with Tots100 and Merrily Crafts, I was sent some craft items in a box to create this project.

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