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Crete, Greece
Married to the lovely Geoffrey, my soulmate. I have two fantastic big kids,both married, whom I love and miss every day I'm not with them, but I know they're living and loving their lives and we make up for time when we get together.I now have three granddaughters too...

Thursday, 19 February 2009

Wild Flowers and Essential Oils

I ventured out last night with my friend Chris to a meeting of 'Flowers of Crete', which, in brief is a group trying to protect the endangered orchids and plants of Crete. The meeting was held in a distillery... of essential oils.
The BioAroma Essential Oils Distillery is on the outskirts of Aghios Nikolaos. It opened last year, and as well as drying and distilling the wild herbs in the large new building, there's a small museum area, to attract visitors. In the Spring and Summer months, flowers and herbs are grown outside.
This small still was working, producing lavendar oil essence.

There were many dried leaves, teas and herbs to be sold for all our ailments...

Sorry, flash reflection on this photogragh but I think you can get the main idea.
Cretans drink an assortment of mountain herbs as teas. Dittany, sage, Winter Savory, they believe that most ailments can be cured by them.....



Of course, there was all the essential oils too, professing to rid us of wrinkles, cellulite, dandruff, bad breath, headaches......




Julia, of 'Flowers of Crete' waiting for people to arrive for the meeting. It was rather chilly, I must admit.
Eventually, we had a very contructive meeting, regarding future events and ways of raising funds.
We also talked about a nature reserve that we're trying to construct, the aim of which is to provide a safe haven for transplanted orchids and other endangered plants, which would otherwise be threatened by indescriminate development. I've already blogged regarding this problem, I know, but it is a subject close to my heart.






Sakis, who is the owner of the distillery, is a chemist. He gave us a tour of the small museum pieces. Very helpful young chap and, unlike a great deal of greek men, is very interested in preserving the Cretan landscape. On the whole, I would recommend a visit if you are ever in this part of the island.






I loved these cutouts of the cattle pulling the wooden plough.

There was a large display of the woven and sewn work. Also, the loom, which not so long ago, could be found in virtually every house. Now, sadly, they are left to deteriorate or used as fire wood.
Many of the flowers and plants were used for dying the fabrics.

Sakis told us the ladies in the photograghs were all relatives, grandmother, aunts.

13 comments:

sukipoet said...

I love this post about herbs and essential oils and preserving the beauties of Crete. I use herbs for healing myself, and have studied a bit in medicinal uses of herbs. Also worked briefly on an herb farm. I use essential oils too. AND at one point used plants to dye my handmade papers. Great post. In my dreams--the visit to Crete. I had to chuckle. There would be so many places to visit.

sukipoet said...

Really just the place itself would be incredible--island.

Pondside said...

I'd love to have been there. I'll bet it smelled heavenly.
I had a look around your recent posts as well - gorgeous flowers!
You live in paradise!

bindu said...

How interesting! I wish I could join your group too ... good luck! It's a very good cause. Fascinating to see the old pictures and the looms. It's sad how all cultures are slowly losing their uniqueness and merging into one.

seashell cosmos said...

Me too, I'd love to visit there! Pond, pick me up on your way. *winks* And here I am again, speechless staring at the screen-this is amazing and thank you for posting such a beautiful blog! xxx seashell :)

Lynn said...

So interesting. I especially enjoyed seeing the loom and the fabrics created on it. A lost art? Not entirely, I see women doing this in yarn shops in our travels across country last summer...in Oregon I think...yes.

Genie said...

Thanks for sharing your visit
i can smell the lavender!!
You never know having a tantrum may get you photoshop.
you can do Double exposures on picasa for free.
Have a great weekend

Terry Busse said...

I too enjoyed this post, one of my dreams used to be having a lavender farm and making essential oils and soaps. The dream is still there but I have other dreams that are ahead of that one now. :)

Suffolkmum said...

Stumbled onto your blog via Purplecoo - how lovely to read about Crete on a February day in Britain. I grow herbs in my cottage garden and use them medicinally - am just learning how to make soaps. Great read.

Wild Somerset Child said...

Absolutely fascinating. I love using essential oils and anything herbal ; most of my garden is devoted to herbs of one sort or another. Hope the preservation plans succeed; so important to protect and conserve our heritage.

Lydia said...

Hello Jude, thankyou for visiting me. Your posting is lovely - I can almost smell the lavender... Think I will show you post to my little man - he will be fascinated.

Love Lydiaxx

Jackie said...

Its funny you mentioning the loom being left to rot..when we were in symi there was a warping frame in the street but I just thought it out for space reasons..I wonder if it was thrown out? What a shame. Lovely post.

janina said...

Crete is an amazing place for botanists.. more than 2000 plant species live here, around 10% of them are enemics, growing nowhere else but here in the entire world.. Crete is blessed with still pure, undisturbed biotopes of aromatic plants.. we have been collecting and distilling essential oils from wild growing populations in Crete for over 16 years.. have a look at our website www.wildherbsofcrete.com ... you are wellcome to contact us personally as well, by mail or phone, visit as well, we are always happy to share our knowledge and love for cretan nature and aromatic plants...