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Ukrainian flag of flowers grows in Beacon Hill Park

Ukrainian flag being built with yellow, blue and purple flowers at Beacon Hill park

Four months after arriving in Canada, Ukrainian Nadiia ­Mishchenko is taking part in a community project — helping to create Ukraine’s flag out of flowers.

Mishchenko, who was among a dozen or so volunteers working on the flag of flowers in Beacon Hill Park on Friday, said she read about the project on Facebook. “Because it was about the Ukrainian flag I wanted to do it.”

The goal is to collect up to 100,000 flower pots in the form of a flag by July 24. It’s the brainchild of Sahasi Erven, who has completed two previous flags of flowers to honour Ukraine — one in March and one two weeks ago, next to his home at Princess Avenue and Chambers Street. Flowers from the most recent one are being added to the one in Beacon Hill Park.

The flag, which is expected to be 10 by 30 metres in size and is being assembled at one of the all-weather playing fields in the park, will be made up of mostly yellow and blue flowers, although it may include some purple blooms, which are readily available.

For the most part, the darker-coloured flowers are petunias, along with some lobelia, and the yellow are marigolds, Erven said.

Donations of plants are ­welcome from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. daily.

There were about 7,000 pots at the site on Friday, most of which Erven purchased himself, although he is hoping to get donations to offset the expense.

Flowers are being arranged on a layer of plastic covered with peat moss for water retention, and will have some root growth in the coming days before being given away to the public.

“Maybe they can make mini-flags somewhere in Victoria,” Erven said.

Volunteer Paul Williams, a friend of Erven’s, said he enjoys gardening and supports a cause that’s all about peace.

Volunteer Judi Black, also a friend, said Erven put the word out about the project a few months ago and she has been planning to help. “I’ve got all my gardening done for this week and it’s a bonus to be out here.”

Erven said he wanted to do something in response to the horrors of the war in Ukraine, and the concept of the flag of flowers just came to him. “The idea is that all of southern Vancouver Island will come together and make the flag,” he said. “Hopefully with a little bit of publicity, people and their families will come for enjoyment and recreation down here, and add to it.”

Erven said he would also like the public to come by and soak up the feelings being generated at the site.

“It’s just love and peace,” he said. “And to show our oneness. Peace is not just the absence of war. Peace is oneness where we all come together.”

A carpenter by trade, Erven created his first flower formation 15 years ago on the boulevard outside his home, calling it Oneness Heart Park.

“The idea was to make the most intensely beautiful place on Earth.”

jbell@timescolonist.com

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