Horticulturists plan mercy missions to Ukraine - plea made for industry to get involved

Gardening Express is sending aid to Ukraine after the outbreak of war with Russia, with Thompson & Morgan supporting the online business to get help to refugees.


In a coordinated effort by competitor companies to work together for the greater good,T&M is supporting Gardening Express' Chris Bonnett is his efforts to help Ukraine and is working with him on logistics and fundraising to transport medicine, food, nappies, duvets and baby milk from the UK.

The plan is to bring the horticulture industry together to raise money to fill trucks and pay for fuel with the mail order/ecommerce companies using their packing operations to get the products coordinated and loaded. T&M is also doubling donations up to a set point as it seeks to support Bonnett in his mission for the "horticulture industry to come together in a coordinated way to raise serious funds". T&M told HW: "We are supporting Chris Bonnett in his efforts and it would be great if other companies can do the same."

Bonnett (ukraineaid@gardeningexpress.co.uk) made a rallying call to the industry: "I have contacts in Poland to ensure this all goes to the right place. I would like to make up boxes/packages filled with hope and essentials to help those most in need fleeing the conflict and make them feel human again. My team will get these packed to ship off. We have people to deal with the export docs etc and make this happen. There are some complications with certain food items, but we are working behind the scenes right now to ensure an open corridor for aid straight through.

"Next week our friends in Poland will also be taking their own trucks of food in to Ukraine itself, and they’re in the process of getting the licenses to do this from where they are. It’s starting to sound desperate and like food is running out.
"When my children grow up and ask me what I did to help, I’ll able to look them in the eye and tell them. Now I call on all my contacts to share this far and wide on linkedin and beyond to help in anyway they can and make this happen!! If we get more than one truck full - we will get more! All reading this I am sure will be fortunate enough to have somewhere safe to sleep tonight and something to eat – this is for those that now have nothing, so please anyone that can help this effort get in touch."

The first truck is set to leave this weekend. Contact ukraineaid@gardeningexpress.co.uk

And Franchi Seeds of Italy also plans to ship aid to the wartorn region following the Russian invasion in late February.

Franchi's Paolo Arrigo said: "I am booked leaving toward Ukraine for Poland driving aid over, all off my own back and bringing back refugees to Germany or Belgium. 

"As it happens, I find loads of others doing the same from the UK. This is a war in Europe and I am a proud EUropean and these desperate people have lost everything. This is a Dunkirk moment and I have to do this, it cannot wait.

"This is serious and my trip is humanitarian. Wish me luck. Many have asked if they can contribute toward some fuel, its not necessary but if I do get more than I need, I will send it to the Ukrainian Red Cross or organise a convoy in a few weeks."

London College of Garden Design on 8 March (5pm, £7) will raise money for medical charities in Ukraine through its InfoBurst featuring designer Kate Gould. https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/lcgd-spring-info-bursts-beyond-the-concept-what-happens-next-tickets-238364403347?aff=erelpanelorg

Harkness Roses/Planet Gardening is launching a fundraising rose to help Ukraine too.

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