Orchid Season at the British Cemetery
Anyone who visits the British Cemetery in Corfu in early May will be welcomed by a large blossom of tender orchids, the foster children of caretaker George Psailas. British Cemetery has got about 30 varieties of Greek orchids. Caretaker George knows everything about them. He was in fact awarded the British Empire Medal in 1988 for his dedication towards the service of British Cemetery, which was opened during the British Protectorate of the Ionian Islands, 1814-1864. After the departure of the British from the Island, the Cemetery served as the graveyard for the foreign families who stayed on. The earliest legible grave dates back to 1817.
The British Cemetery is located on Kolokotroni Street, about 300 metres south of San Rocco Square, just off the road to the airport. The orchids there bloom by the end of February and disappear in early June. Species Barlia Robertiana is the first to start the orchid season and the Anacamptis Pyramidalis sets the farewell for the season, as George noticed.
George Psailas has dedicated his life to the British Cemetery. For him, the flowers are his foster children. He takes extreme care of them. Apart from orchids, the cemetery garden consists of daisies, hyacinths, cyclamens, tulips, anemones, lilies, snowdrops and a large variety of other garden flowers. The collection of various species of cacti stands out during the summer when the surrounding land dries out. George has been an inseparable part of the cemetery since his birth in 1927 in the house of the cemetery. His father also used to work as a caretaker there, from whom he took over the charge of the Cemetery in 1944, just at the age of 17.