Village Life – The Ozanköy Gardeners’ Forum September 2015

Village Life 

The Ozanköy “Gardeners’ Forum”

September 2015 meeting


By Chris Elliott……

It is so nice to take time out from writing and publishing to go along and take part in village activities and this I did during the past week, when I went along to the Ozanköy “Gardeners Forum” which was holding its first meeting at the Rose Garden Restaurant in Ozanköy which is now being managed by Linda and AJ.

When you walk through the garden gate and across the garden full of roses, shrubs and trees you realise what a superb location this is for the Ozanköy “Gardeners Forum” to meet in, as it just creates an atmosphere of calm and wellbeing plus it has all of the natural beauty of so many roses, shrubs and trees.

Having said hello to Barbara Burton the organiser, I sat down with my camera and cup of coffee to observe the opening of the meeting of the forum when Barbara announced that following the closing of the Ozanköy Bookshop, she hoped all of the members of the Gardeners Forum would like this new location and that future meetings would be held here on the last Wednesday of the month starting at 10.15am.

Barbara Burton and David Potter

Following her introduction, the Forum Chairman and local gardening expert, David Potter welcomed everybody and expressed his great delight at seeing so many new faces and expressed the wish for everyone to share their gardening experiences for the benefit of other members. He also talked about seasonal tasks and answered many questions from the members gathered there.

We also had a fascinating presentation and talk by gardening experts Patricia Jordan QEQM and Patrica Jordan and her husband Howardher husband Howard who have regularly travelled over the years from their home in the Republic of Cyprus to attend these meetings. Their knowledge is renowned and the advice and encouragement they gave was so well received by the members who were asking so many questions. Patricia has a fascinating website “The Garden Club of Cyprus” which will entrance any keen gardener and of course those interested in Cyprus gardening. Click here to view.

We also had a surprise visit from Linda Smith from the Society of St Andrews to tell the forum members that approval and permission had been given by the Belediyesi for the construction of the Houston Garden in Kyrenia. This will surround the Houston Cemetery which has been preserved and is currently being renovated as part of the long term plan to preserve this part of the Cyprus Heritage and also be part of the larger Leisure Centre that had been created by the Girne Belediyesi.

Linda Smith and the Houston Garden project

Former Kyrenia Mayor, Sümer Aygin, in having this project designed by his architect, Ali Yapicioglu, wanted to see the pine covered ravine in which the gardens will be placed, turned into a park area and when I reflected back on the report I wrote on the launch of the project, his dream is now coming true. Click here to view.

Looking into the past history of Cyprus I discovered that a wealthy landowner George Houston, a Scottish mine owner had come to live in Kyrenia and during his life here, he was very active in supporting the local community.  He not only gave the land for St Andrews Church, but was also involved in the founding of the hospital, and many other works of a philanthropic nature.

The Houston cemetery was the gift to the British community in Kyrenia by the Houston family, for the burial of British residents in Kyrenia. The title is held by the Jerusalem and East Mission Trust in London. The land was consecrated on 27th May 1963 and it contains a small burial plot for the Houston family, and there are three other interments. In 1968, in view of residential and tourist development taking place in the vicinity, it was decided to discontinue use of this cemetery.

So after all of these years the Houston Cemetery which will form the centrepiece of the Houston Gardens will now be cared for by the Society of St Andrews and the British community for future generations to admire and enjoy.

Houston Garden location

Further news of this project will be released shortly by the Society of St Andrews who are seeking help of a physical, practical and financial nature from interested people or organisations who may want to participate and help the plans for development of the Houston Gardens.

Well what an interesting time I had with these nice folk at their meeting and I was able to speak to many of them and find out a little about them and their interests.

When I can I will go along to another meeting and tell our readers more of what’s happening in our quaint village of Ozanköy.