Gardening Lessons from Ukraine | THE JOLT News Organization, A WASHINGTON NONPROFIT Organization

By Jill Severn

A startling graphic appeared on Tv set information past 7 days: in the foreground a patch of excellent pink tulips bloomed just guiding them a Ukrainian home lay in ruins. In the aftermath of brutal violence, the tulips stayed serene and carried on, as dazzling and charming as ever.

A number of times later, the New York Occasions noted that “The markets in Saltivka ended up closely strike . . . But some elements have reopened, which include flower stands, the place one particular resident, Olga Pavlienko, who was out purchasing with her sister, purchased armloads of brightly colored plants past week.

“These bouquets, they recover our souls,” she mentioned. “We have endured a whole lot and I pray for peace as soon as possible.”

Olga Pavlienko reminds us of the link concerning flowers and the point out of our souls – not our souls as they could be in some unknowable afterlife, but the souls alive inside us proper now – the souls that are nourished by magnificence, not bread.

It’s beautiful to see how the require for the natural beauty of residing flowers is magnified by the presence of loss of life and chaos. You might think the reverse would be correct. But catastrophes like war deliver out each the cheapest and the best instincts of our peculiar human species.

Below in our very own communities, we saw that in the pandemic: Rancor above masks and mandates was about evenly matched with acts of extraordinary kindness and compassion – and a spectacular uptick in gardening that left seed racks approximately empty in April 2020. We wanted bouquets to heal our souls as well.

This 12 months, as we witness the war from afar, far more of us are planting sunflowers to clearly show solidarity with the persons of Ukraine. Prior to the Russian invasion, their fields of sunflowers created 46 percent of the world-wide offer of sunflower oil, but possibly even a lot more essential than we thought, they ended up ravishingly wonderful.

But we can do a lot more than plant sunflowers. Lacey has a sister city in Poland called Minsk-Mazowiecki. That town has an additional sister city – Borodyanka – in Ukraine. It is now in ruins, and a lot of of its folks had been the victims of Russian war crimes. The mayors of these a few metropolitan areas have turn into mates, and Lacey Mayor Andy Ryder is in Minsk-Mazowiecki appropriate now for its celebration of its 600th anniversary.

The Lacey-Minsk-Mazowiecki Sister Metropolis Association (a registered nonprofit corporation) has been increasing revenue to aid its sister metropolis with the influx of more than a thousand Ukrainian refugees, a lot of of whom are residing in local properties.

These 1,000-plus refugees have arrived at this town of 41,000, a place smaller sized than Lacey. They need food, outfits, extended-term housing, career training, and tutoring in Polish so they can perform and their young children can go to faculty. Unnecessary to say, their existence has overcome this little city’s sources.

If you’d like to assistance, donations can be sent to the Lacey-Minsk-Mazowiecki Sister Metropolis Association (LMMSCA) at PO Box 5992, Lacey, WA 98509-5992. They do not however have a way to donate on the internet – the connection is to their Facebook webpage. Contributions are tax deductible. They’ve raised $9,000 so far, but the will need will go on for as very long as the war goes on, and right up until Ukraine recovers from it.

We require to do all we can to enable all the men and women like Olga Pavlienko, who has almost certainly currently planted that armload of flowers – bouquets that will assist mend the souls of all who see them, and refresh their hope for peace.

A Notice to Drutty

A faithful but mysterious reader whose pen title is Drutty questioned previous 7 days if it’s legitimate that peonies need ants to bloom. The brief solution is no. The lengthy remedy is that peony buds are covered with a slightly sticky material that ants like to eat (Or do they lick it off? Do ants have tongues? This we really do not know.) Also, we are advised that the ants really don’t often depart when they’ve completed, so some individuals who pick peonies complain about ants crawling out of their bouquets. The solution to this issue is to choose the peonies when the buds are large and fat, but just before they open up.

Jill Severn writes from her dwelling in Olympia, in which she grows vegetables, flowers and a tiny flock of chickens. She loves conversation amongst gardeners. Get started a single by emailing her at

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