The World holds its breath
On 24th February 2022 the unthinkable happened, Ukraine was invaded by Russia. Unannounced and uninvited, thousands of Russian troops swept across the border and went to war.
The rest of the world looked on in shock as images of Russian convoys encroached upon the suburbs of Kiev. The news had scenes of havoc and destruction, old ladies being chaperoned from burning buildings, babies being born in basements and smouldering Russian tanks left to burn out at the side of the road.
It shocked a lot of people. In fact, it shocked the world.
Sympathy shines through
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Worldwide support and love showered the Ukraine and it’s friendly population, whereas condemnation and hate fell firmly on the Russian side of the border. Countries from across the world seemed to forget their differences and come together in an amazing show of support for the Ukraine and it’s plight.
Not just the military mighty of the world supplying weapons, and the larger charities jumping into action, but the smaller, more selfless acts that went unmentioned. The countless British families that have opened their doors and invited recently homeless Ukrainian’s into their homes. The school fundraisers and food drives, the clothes donations and office whip rounds all go to help these lost souls.
European countries dropped border controls to let these poor displaced people take refuge, charities sprouted up all over the place and many plucky Brits even filled their vans with supplies and took off for Ukraine’s borders to welcome these newest of refugees. It was truly heart-warming to witness humanity in its finest hour.
What does war have to do with sunflowers?
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The title of this article mentions the simple sunflower, but what does that have to do with the atrocities of war? Well in this case…..lots.
As with many conflicts, wars and altercations around the world it is often the most simple gesture, striking photo or wise word that can capture a moment in history and become an iconic image of the times. This was the case with the invasion of Ukraine.
When Russian troops invaded her town, an old Ukrainian lady was seen giving these fresh-faced, fascist soldiers sunflower seeds to put in their pockets. When asked why, she said….
“at least sunflowers will grow where you lie down in this land.”
From that moment on the sunflower became a symbol of hope and a sign of resistance for the Ukrainian people. Since that day sunflowers have been popping up all over the world as a show of support for the strong, proud Ukrainian people. They are outside embassies, woven into barbed wire at checkpoints and displayed with a defiance to the Russian occupation in windows and homes across the globe.
How can I show my support?
At Flower Shops Network we want to do our bit for Ukraine too. We have created a sunflower bouquet dedicated to the cause and will be donating 100% of the proceeds to The British Red Cross Ukraine Crisis Appeal. Our aim being to help them get the medicine and supplies to where they are needed most.
If you’re not sure where or how to donate to the Ukrainian crisis, we just made it very easy for you. By purchasing our sunflower and iris bouquet you are donating, the only difference is we won’t give you a blue and yellow sticker, instead you'll get a gorgeous sunflower bouquet to proudly display in your home to show your solidarity and support for Ukraine to the world.
Why the Sunflower?
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The Sunflower is the national flower of Ukraine and between Russia and the Ukraine they produce over 70% of the worlds sunflower oil. The moist, fertile steppe plains of Eurasia are an ideal location to grow this fantastic flower and local farmers have taken full advantage of this over the years until today, where Sunflower oil is one of the Ukraine’s major exports.
Not only is the sunflower a sign of resistance and hope but it is also an amazing flower. The tallest on record had a height of over 9 metres. That’s nearly 30 foot tall! The seed alignment alone is one of the wonders of the natural world and contains aspects of the golden ratio, Fermat’s spiral and the Fibonacci sequence in its stunning seed structure, which has had mathematicians scratching their heads for millennia and making the strongest minds in science question their beliefs due to its perfectly precise mathematical display.
Thought to be used by native Americans and Incas as medicine, the sunflower has been around for a long time, associated with cleansing and healing. It has an amazing ability to absorb toxins from the soil and was used at accident sites such as Chernobyl and Fukushima in an attempt to purify the top soil.
The sunflower also moves.
Not in a scary Triffid way, but whilst still young, the sunflower heads will track the sun in the daytime ensuring a nice healthy tan, but the plants lose this ability when fully mature, yet usually always choose to face east and the rising sun for the rest of their lives. This plant movement is called “heliotropism” named after the Greek word, Helios, meaning sun.
Many, many uses…
The sunflower has so many important applications for so many diverse cultures that it is almost a wonder crop. Seeds are crushed for their oils, the finest grade being better than extra virgin olive oil and priced to match! Down to the local fish and chip shop where it is bought by the barrel, sunflower oil is used in the preparation and cooking of a lot of different delicacies.
Seeds are also eaten whole, ground into flour, used as a garnish, made into a main course, they can be spicy, sweet or savoury dishes …..the sunflower seed is indeed a friend in the kitchen.
There are of course other oils out there on the market but many have very unethical farming practices and destroy huge swathes of prime jungle in their production and manufacture, so should be avoided at all costs if at all possible.
Time to take action
With the ongoing invasion of Ukraine, and both parties being huge sunflower producers, if you are partial to using sunflower oil in your kitchen, it may be a good time to stock up. Who knows how long this conflict will last and what the price of sunflower oil may reach if no one is producing any….Just a thought.
By purchasing Ukrainian sunflower oil, seeds and other locally produced items you are giving back to their community and by ordering Flower Shops Network Ukraine Appeal Bouquet, you are really helping out in a meaningful, manageable way to support the victims of this awful invasion.
Please consider our sunflower and iris bouquet when browsing and feel free to share this article with like-minded individuals. Hopefully we can all do our bit for those that really need it in their most desperate hours.