4 minute read

Garden Centres Aid for Ukraine

G a rd e n c en t re s s te p u p t o t h e m a rk fo r U k ra i ne

From cake sales to flying to Poland, garden centres are doing their bit to help communities in Ukraine.

Across the country garden centres have been working with local communities to raise money, collect donations and deliver essential supplies to help people who have lost so much in the invasion of Ukrainian.

Some such as the Blue Diamond group and ISE Garden Centre in Kettering have shown their support through donating money raised rather aptly through sales of the Peace rose. This cultivar was bred by Francis Meilland in the mid 1930’s and he sent cuttings to growers across Europe and America just before the outbreak of WW2 in a bid to save it for future gardeners. Through all its garden centres and online from Fryers Roses, the Blue Diamond Group has already donated in excess of £10,000 to the British Red Cross Ukraine Crisis Appeal and hopes to send the charity a similar level of donation at the end of April, based on current sales. Blue Diamond has also donated £3500 towards the cost of fueling 8 aircraft packed with medical supplies flying from Southend Airport to Poland. The efforts support the husband of a member of staff who is a doctor and has organized the donations.

Similarly ISE Garden Centre in Kettering donated 100% of the sales of the Peace rose during the month of March to Save the Children UK and the International Committee of the Red Cross. Sian Berrick, ISE Garden Centre Manager, said the garden centre sold all of its Peace roses and is now growing on more plants so it

Robert Milroy, a Guernsey shareholder of The Blue Diamond Group, clocked up 17 hours of flying while piloting a Cirrus SR22 to Lublin.

it can continue to generate funds for the charities later on this season. Sian added the centre’s parent company Harkness Roses generated £16,000 in just 6 hours when the news of the initiative was announced. Staff member Nadine South has also been the conduit for collecting essential aid at the garden centre and so far 4 tonnes, enough to fill five transit vans, has been sent to a site in Luton where it is prepared for transport to Ukraine.

In Kent, Gary Carvosso, Managing Director at Coolings Nurseries has driven a transit filled with essentials such as sleeping bags, baby milk and first aid kits to a drop off point under a bridge in Krakow. Supplies where taken over the border the same day. Gary says: “Driving just under 1000 miles in the continuous rain to get there was tedious to say the least, however in context it was nothing in comparison to the people who have not seen or heard from family and friends and have no idea if their house or flat is on one piece of looted”. Coolings is donating 10p from every customer purchase to fund another trip to Poland and is grateful to continued support from local communities and groups. Supermarket Morrisons has also offered a generous discount on palletised baby milk and food, and nappies.

Customers of Baytree Garden Centre in Spalding rose to the challenge when it came to donations. Working with its local church, the garden centre collected enough to fill two 7.5t lorries plus trailers which were driven to a distribution point in Peterborough. While in Essex, staff and volunteers at Bonnetts Garden Village have sorted through donations to fill several lorries. Using his connections here and abroad the owner’s Chris Bonnett has also secured 40 tonnes of food and 6000 duvets and is close to raising £20,000 via JustGiving to fund trucks driving to Ukraine and Poland with aid.

Supporting the campaign through awareness is Dobbies Garden Centres and Mr Fothergill’s Seeds. The garden

Gary Carvosso from Coolings Nurseries

Supplies being unloaded at a collection point in Krakow

Also supporting Ukraine

*The Secret Shed in Cardiff through a coffee morning. *Cardwell Garden Centre, Inverclyde, which raised £600 for the British Red Cross Ukraine Crisis Appeal through hosting an afternoon with musical entertainment from the local Clyde Coast Fiddlers. *Van Germeren & Co Garden Centre, Chesterfield generated £635 through the sale of yellow and blue decorative bows with a sunflower centre to adorn front doors, cars and fences and has also been a donation drop off centre. *Beechwood Garden Centre, Aberdeenshire has been a drop off point for donations. *Summerhill Garden Centre, Essex has collected financial donations and essential supplies.

centre has worked with the Daily Express to offer a reader-giveaway of Sunflower Giant Single and through local newspapers with customers redeeming a packet of seeds when they visit their local Dobbies.