Blue and Yellow Ukraine Flag Flower Wall

The Rally For Ukraine

Big Love For Ukraine From Victoria, BC

Wednesday, January 4, 2023
By Nick Hepner
Photography By Myrtle and Moss

We’ve all seen the news. I don’t think any of us really have words for what is happening in Ukraine right now. I don’t think that any of us really have the tools to process what this country and her people are going through. This weight sits on all of us, and as we struggle to empathize with a plight we can’t completely comprehend, we are scrambling to find any meaningful thing that we can do to hopefully make some sort of tangible difference.

In March of 2022, we reached out to the Ukrainian Congress of Canada (UCC) to see if we might be able to do something. After some back and forth, we had come up with an idea to donate a flower wall that we would install at their next rally, but with a bit of a twist. Instead of doing the complete installation, we wanted to invite the community to participate and create something of their own.

The day before the rally, we truly weren’t sure how this was going to be received. We trekked out to the Parliament Building in downtown Victoria and installed our flower wall in an 8’ x 12’ configuration. We bought and painted as many blue and yellow flowers as we could get our hands on and installed a base layer of greenery on the wall in the colours of the Ukrainian flag. This gave a basic cover to our wood and chicken wire apparatus, but you could still see bits of the framework through the leaves.

It’s hard to describe what the rally was like. It’s not the Parliament lawn that was packed with people and a sea of yellow and blue that is difficult, nor the speakers and performers who opened us up to a small taste of a beautiful national culture. It was the intangible and surreal sense of community and connection that the people of Victoria brought with them. We were humbled by the passion and outreach of the crowd, and it was clear that even though it wasn’t their homes that were under attack that Victoria cared deeply about the world, and they too wanted to do everything they knew how to do to help.

We had set up shop next to our flower wall with a small table and a sign. A donation of any size was enough to purchase a flower to place in the wall. We saw people from all walks of life, all ages, all races donating money to take part and to leave their mark of support, however small. As the day pressed on, the wall became more and more filled out and began to come together. As it did, we noticed how imperfect it was. It was not a design made by designers, but by a community. Most people placed their flower at eye height, or to the left or right depending on which hand was dominant. It was these imperfections that truly showed that this project was transcendent beyond just us. This wall became a tapestry of who we are as a community and what we’re capable of. 

In the end, we were able to donate more than $4000 to the UCC because of contributions from the people of Vancouver Island. That money, along with other donations they have collected goes towards housing, food, clothing and relocation costs for refugees of the Ukrainian conflict living here in Canada. It’s a drop in the bucket towards what their needs are, but it was a real, tangible showing that Canada cares. 

We’re a flower company. We can’t pretend that a floral installation is going to undo the horrible things that have occurred in this conflict or solve the world’s problems. Our ability to affect change at the scale of this war is so small that it’s nearly inconsequential. If anything though, this has shown us that if everyone does what they can, these problems can be approached in a real and material way and that we have an obligation to try.

All photography for this event by Myrtle and Moss Photography