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Support for Ukraine blooms with flag planted in Fernwood

This Ukrainian flag has 5,000 blooms
With the help of his Fernwood neighbours, Sahasi Erven planted a flower garden on the corner of Chambers and Princess Avenue to show support for Ukrainians. ADRIAN LAM, TIMES COLONIST

You could say it was just an idea that blossomed — into a 5,000-bloom flag of Ukraine.

Sahasi Erven went to bed Saturday night focused on the beauty of Ukraine’s independence, rather than the ugliness of Russia’s invasion, and when he awoke Sunday morning, “I had a vision of doing the Ukraine flag in flowers.”

The 64-year-old Victoria man wasted no time acting on that vision. He gathered together a few neighbours and visited a few nurseries. “We just went out and bought them where we could,” said Erven.

Together, they arranged 5,000 yellow, white and blue-ish primula blooms — or 500 plants — into a large Ukrainian flag in a raised bed by the sidewalk of a residential and commercial building in Fernwood. The word Ukraine is spelled out in white flowers within the flag.

“For myself and for the neighbours, we all said, ‘Now that was a thrilling experience of joy,’ ” Erven said. “It’s just a thing of joy to make something beautiful, something that sends out good vibes.”

Erven, a carpenter born in Victoria, had someone at the nursery pull up the Ukrainian flag on his phone to help find the corresponding colours in flowers. “I thought they matched up pretty darn good.”

In Victoria, people are so fortunate that it’s “absurd” that some people still don’t get along, he said.

Amid all the sorrow of a senseless war, we can honour the people of Ukraine by having gratitude and acting with positivity and kindness, he said. “We can do something, we are not hopeless, we can have good thoughts — first of all — and treat all our own neighbours better,” he said. “We can do something and we did something on Sunday.”

And while people must stay informed about what’s happening in Ukraine, it’s equally important to find joy to maintain our mental and physical health, he said.

The Ukraine flower bed planted to honour the people of the embattled eastern European country is beautiful and that’s making people who pass by happy, he said.

“Everybody who walks by says: ‘Oh my God, that’s good,’ ” he said.

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