Cactus in Attica? I'm sold!

Greece? Yep!
I know that a sea of golden barrel cacti suggests Mexico, perhaps, or California...but Athens? or more precisely, Kapandriti (a suburb of Athens in Attica)...The climate of Attica is not that different from much of Southern California where there are hundreds of nurseries specializing in cacti and succulents. One may not immediately associate Greece with succulents, but American Century Plants (Agave americana) and Prickly Pears (mostly Opuntia ficus-indica) are a conspicuous feature in much of the Greek countryside. And there are an active group of succulent lovers in Greece, chief among whom is Aristides Poulimenos, the owner of the largest cactus nursery in Greece.

One of the delivery vehicles with a Mexican themed mural...
The family name Πουλημένος (Poulimenos in transliteration) means "being sold"--a rather auspicious name for a business! And it seems as though the business has thrived and is thriving still..You can check out their sales rap on their delightful website.
They do some landscaping around their home with succulents as well...

Here are the current owners, father and son
The father is Aristides: the son, recently graduated from the University, has a similarly classic name I have forgotten: I hope they will fill me in!


I love racks full of plants!


And MORE: my friend Randy Ortega at Nick's has a classic line "I love plants--especially the one that just walked out the door!"


Echeverias galore...


The ubiquitous Greek cat...


More terrific finished succulents of all descriptions...


Prickly pears: some of my favorites...





On the right is Liberto Dario (a.k.a. Eleftherios Dariotis) our host for the day--an outstanding seedsman and botanist.


Random shots around the nursery...


Benches with show specimens...


More...


And more...


And even more...


A handsome Agave victoria-reginae in the garden..


A wall full of accolades and awards on the office wall..


And more succulents!


What I just said..


A blooming agave...


Golden barrels up the wazoo...



More Opuntia (yay!)


Columnar cacti..

And  an enigmatic final shot...

Aristide showed me a powerpoint of the most spectacular succulent gardens he's created on some of the Greek islands--as beautiful as anything I've seen in San Diego or Santa Barbara--only with the haunting seascape of Greece beyond and those gorgeous houses....

This nursery was a delight: Thank you Liberto and Aristide for a wonderful visit!

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