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Frigana Fields of Death Picture Special from the Greek Hovel

Tom Winnifrith
Thursday 25 September 2014

As promised I bring you a summer’s work, the destruction of 2,000 square metres of frigana, a bright green holly/thorn bush that scarred the land around the Greek Hovel and was a great home for snakes. It is all gone.

The first picture is some of the first frigana cut, the bushes that covered the wall that surrounds the garden. It is now a deep golden brown, ready for a dose of petrol and a match in November.

It sits in an area which is surrounded by a stone circle. One visitor suggested that it had once been a threshing circle. The stones were covered by frigana but have now emerged blinking into the sunlight.

Moving past the circle here is a 150 yard slope down to the edge of the property. It was thick with frigana but it was chopped last week, the leaves are now a light green and heading for brown. This area I feared to be snake infested as the bushes were once thick. Now old paths have emerged and you can walk down among the rocks.

Frigana grows on the flat, on top of walls and in walls. It is vile and tenacious. Across the land the stone walls which support the olive terraces have now been uncovered. Seeing a wall that has long been covered by bushes is a wonderful sight

About 500 yards from the main hovel there is a ruin. I plan to turn that eventually into a 2.5 bedroom house.  The shot below shows the browning frigana on the way from the hovel to the ruin which you can see in the distance. This was an early killing field.

Beyond the ruin the land extends for another 800 yards and it was in the far corners of the land that the most brutal battles were fought, largely – I should say by my Greek assistant Vangelis – not me. For here he frigana had in some cases turned into trees. My little cutter was out of its depth. The bushes were also so thick that only a fearless local would wade in, knowing what might be lurking inside.

The frigana here lies deep and still green. The massacre only happened this week

Come November it will all be dry and golden brown. And with a bit of fuel and a match whoosh it will disappear. Should there be any wildlife diversity hibernating underneath it..that would be a bonus.

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About Tom Winnifrith
Tom Winnifrith is the editor of When he is not harvesting olives in Greece, he is (planning to) raise goats in Wales.
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