My apologies for the prolonged silence. In my head, I’ve written five or six blog posts, but it has been challenging to put myself in front of my computer to write them down. However, as news of the devastation and suffering ongoing in Ukraine continues to worsen, I had a tiny notion. Yes, we can send money and supplies via the charities organized to aid those suffering, but as a gardener, I wanted to add my own special prayer.
That’s when I remembered that the sunflower is the national flower of Ukraine. Those bright, happy blooms that bring smiles and pollinators — and always turn to face the sun — seem ideal symbols for the beleaguered but undaunted people of Ukraine.
I always add these flowers to my vegetable garden. This year, I’ll be planting extras. Every seed I sow, every flower that blooms will be another prayer for Ukraine from this gardener. Perhaps my gardening readers would also like to add sunflower prayers to their gardens this year.
Imagine how wonderful it would be if entire neighborhoods planted them — every bloom another prayer for Ukraine. Now is the time, while you are planning your gardens for the new growing season, to acquire seeds of one or more of these bright symbols of hope for Ukraine.
As your prayer sunflowers bloom this upcoming growing season, I suggest you post photos of them on your favorite social media apps. Use a hashtag like #IStandWithUkraine so that Ukrainians will know they are not forgotten. Even after the bloodshed ends (and I pray that’s very soon), the Ukrainian people are going to need our physical and emotional support.
Grow some sunflowers this season. Plant them with your children, your grandchildren. Talk about them with the kids next door. Tell them why, this year especially, sunflowers are symbols of hope.