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Home Blog The {Farmer} & the Florist Interview: Alla Olkhovska
December 12th 2023

The {Farmer} & the Florist Interview: Alla Olkhovska

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Floret

This spring when I was researching clematis varieties for the cutting garden, I stumbled upon an interview on Grace Alexander’s blog with a Ukrainian grower named Alla Olkhovska. I then started following Alla on Instagram and was completely taken aback by her beautiful photography, her unusual seed offerings, and most of all her story. 

Alla, her husband Vitaliy, and her family live in the eastern part of Ukraine, about 20 miles south of the Russia-Ukraine border. When the war started in February of 2022, Alla was unable to leave the country due to Vitaliy’s severe health issues and being the primary caregiver for her elderly grandmother and mother-in-law. 

After learning about Alla and continuing to follow her journey, I realized just how special her story was and knew it needed to be shared with the world. Over the past few months, Alla sat for numerous interviews, shared hundreds of photographs, filmed nearly 200 videos with her old iPhone, and we even found a talented local cinematographer to spend a few days with her in the garden. It’s a bit of a miracle that it all came together like it did, and it feels very much meant to be. 

All of this footage came together in the most beautiful and poignant documentary film called Gardening in a War Zone. I highly encourage you to set aside some time in the next few days to watch this special story rooted in beauty, inspiration, and hope. 

For more of the backstory on how I came to know Alla, her passion for sharing beauty, and why this project matters so much, be sure to watch this special First Look. I recommend starting with this video first before watching the full film. 

We also had the opportunity to interview Alla (which you can read below) about her garden, her love of clematis, and her new book, Clematis, which dives deep into this special group of plants. At the bottom of this interview, you’ll find all the ways to support Alla and enter a wonderful giveaway to win a copy of her book and some of her magical clematis seeds.

This interview has been edited for clarity and brevity.

 Alla, thank you so much for taking the time to share more about your flower journey. You live in Kharkiv in the Eastern part of Ukraine, and your garden is located in the heart of the city. Can you tell us what it’s like? What kind of plants do you grow? 

My garden is my lifelong love. 

It’s imperfect, but I’m constantly thinking whether I really would like it to be perfect and I think the answer is no. 

When you enter through the very old wooden gate made by my great-grandfather 50 years ago you will see the first half of the garden. It is divided into two almost equal parts. The first part is somewhat lower and has standing water in the spring. As a result, it can be dangerous for many rare plants. So, in this space, I grow easy-care plants that will withstand the conditions. 

In the place where the water doesn’t reach, I made a big peony flower bed. There are lots of modern varieties which I managed to get from other gardeners, and old varieties which were planted by my great grandmother! They are the biggest treasures for me. The bushes were old and weak, so I divided them and took care of them and now they are covered with big double, scented flowers every year—what a joy!

Walking along the house you enter the second part of the garden which is much more exquisite. I tried to follow a natural planting style so my clematis are often vining over the bushes and up into the trees, and there are rare perennials growing under several old apple trees that were planted by my great-grandfather. I’m especially proud of the pine trees which I grew from seed and now they are twice as tall as me! I can say that my garden is a paradise for me. It’s an oasis of serenity and positive emotions in a desert of hostilities and missile attacks. When I work in the garden and there are no terrible air alert sounds, I forget for a while all the horrors of the war in which we live.

You have so many rare and interesting plants growing in your garden, but your specialty is clematis. What do you love about these plants in particular?

Oh, clematis is my special love! This is no ordinary flower; it is a vast and intricate genus comprised of lots of species from all over the world! Of course, it is composed of mostly vigorous, woody, climbing vines. But some varieties like Clematis integrifolia are shrubby, like an herbaceous perennial.

The sizes vary tremendously as well, starting from dwarfs such as creeping Clematis marmoraria or Clematis columbiana var. tenuiloba ‘Ylva’ and finishing with the gigantic vines such as Clematis montana or Clematis armandii, which easily reach 7 m (23 ft) high or more! 

If you plant species and cultivars of various groups, you will receive continuous clematis flowering from mid-spring up until frosts, which is really impressive!

Another fascinating aspect is the intricate dance of colors and shapes that clematis exhibit. The flowers range from delicate bells to impressive big starbursts, and the color palette spans the entire spectrum. It’s a living kaleidoscope that transforms the garden into a captivating work of art. I am absolutely amazed by the versatility and adaptability of clematis.

There are nearly 400 unique species of clematis but as I understand from your book, they fall into three main groups. Can you talk a bit more about the different groups, their bloom time, and their pruning needs? 

Clematis are subdivided into three main groups which have similar characteristics and requirements, so when you buy your clematis you should pay attention to what botanical group it belongs to. By knowing the group, you will be able to determine the conditions the plant needs, including planting and growing tips, and you will be able to determine its habit and approximate height.

There are three main groups—Group 1, Group 2, and Group 3—and each one is pruned differently: 

Group 1: No Pruning or Light Pruning. This group includes early-flowering clematis varieties that bloom on the previous season’s growth and typically flower in spring. Pruning needs are minimal, usually limited to the removal of dead or damaged wood and light shaping. The primary objective is to maintain the plant’s natural form and remove any unwanted growth. Pruning is typically done after flowering, around late spring or early summer.

Group 2: Light Pruning. This group consists of large-flowered hybrids that bloom both on the previous season’s growth and on new growth. These clematis produce an initial flush of flowers in late spring or early summer on old wood, followed by a second flush in summer on new growth. Usually, if the variety is double, the first flowering on old wood will be double while the second wave of flowering on new growth will be single. Pruning in this group involves removing dead or weak stems, controlling size, and shaping the plant. The best time to prune is in late winter or early spring before new growth starts, but you can also do light pruning after the first flush of flowers to encourage more blooms later.

Group 3: Hard Pruning. This group is comprised of late-flowering clematis that bloom exclusively on new growth. These clematis varieties flower from mid- to late summer. Pruning for Group 3 clematis involves more drastic measures to stimulate vigorous growth and abundant flowering. In late winter or early spring, cut all the stems back to a pair of strong buds around 30 cm (12 in) above ground level. This severe pruning promotes new growth and ensures the best display of flowers during the summer. The shoots of some varieties may die down to their base during winter, in this case, you can completely remove them in early spring. 

If people are interested in growing clematis, what do they need to know? Are there any varieties that you’d recommend for beginners? 

First of all, gardeners shouldn’t be anxious about planting clematis because there are lots of varieties that will grow with little care. The most common mistake many new gardeners make is planting large-flowered varieties from Group 2. I have very few of these varieties in the garden because they are difficult and inclined to wilt. 

If you plant varieties from Group 1 and Group 3, you will be able to enjoy your plants without struggling with them constantly. I just adore the bell-shaped varieties, which have turned out to be very stable in the garden. 

I also highly recommend all Clematis integrifolia varieties and deriving hybrids (‘Fascination’, ‘Jan Fopma’ [pictured above], ‘Josie’s Midnight Blue’, and many others), and bushy clematis such as Clematis stans, Clematis heracleifolia, and their hybrids. Atragene is my early spring love which I just can’t imagine my garden without!

Until very recently, I was unaware that so many clematis varieties could be started from seed. Can you share more about this process? 

My favourite way of sowing clematis seeds is the natural way. I do not like sowing in pots because it requires too much time and additional care, and you need to constantly check if they are too wet or too dry. Since I do not live where the garden is located, sticking to all these procedures is next to impossible, so I normally sow them directly into the garden. Of course, in this way, they take longer to germinate, but for me, this method remains the most effective.

You can also start seeds in small pots using a stimulant called gibberellic acid (GA3). This acid is a natural growth hormone, and since it promotes seed germination, it is used to increase the percentage of germination. Here are instructions on how to sow clematis seeds using gibberellic acid:

  1. Place the seeds in a tea bag. 
  2. Optional: Treat the seeds with a fungicide for 24 hours (I use Bayer, Syngenta, etc.). 
  3. Rinse the seeds with water 3 to 4 times. 
  4. Soak the seeds in water for 1 to 2 days. 
  5. Carefully peel off the outer hard shell of the seeds (you can use, for example, nail scissors). Treat the seeds with a solution of 125–250 ppm gibberellic acid (I found that 1 ppm = 1 mg/kg). If you use a concentration of 250 ppm treat them for 6 hours or if you use a concentration of 125 ppm treat them for 12 hours at room temperature. 
  6. Wrap the seeds in a damp paper tea towel and place them in a ziplock bag.
  7. Store the bag at room temperature from 2 weeks to 2 months.
  8. Check the contents of the package every 3 days.
  9. As soon as you notice the appearance of the root, plant the seeds in pots or a small container. 
  10. Do not forget to water the planted seeds regularly. Shoots in pots will appear approximately 2 months after planting. The percentage of seed germination when using gibberellic acid ranges from 40 to 100%.
  11. Once the seedlings have developed several true leaves, they can be transplanted into larger containers. Be sure to handle the seedlings carefully to avoid damaging the delicate roots. 
  12. Clematis vines need a support structure to climb on from the very beginning of their life, so be sure to provide a trellis or other support for the seedlings as they grow. 

You have a huge offering of seeds that you grow and also sell. How many varieties of clematis do you currently have in your garden, and can you share some favorites? 

You know, I never counted the exact number of the clematis I grow, but my collection continues to expand because I sow more and more seeds every year. I definitely have more than 80 clematis varieties in the garden now.

Naming my favourite varieties is a really challenging task, as I love them all! If we talk about vining clematis, I just adore all the bell-shaped varieties. Clematis ‘Princess Red’ (pictured above, top left), which has a pleasant fragrance, Clematis glaucophylla (pictured above, top right), Clematis viorna, Clematis viorna ‘Liviana’, Clematis pitcheri, Clematis versicolor, Clematis ‘Peveril Peach’ (also known as ‘Sonnette’), Clematis ‘Fascination’, Clematis ‘Jan Fopma’, Clematis ‘Josie’s Midnight Blue’, Clematis crispa, Clematis crispa ‘Titipu’ … I just can’t stop listing them. The main thing is that all of these varieties flower throughout the summer, and some even bloom up until the first frosts. 

If we talk about non-vining, bushy varieties, I just adore Clematis stans and Clematis ‘I am Stanislaus’. Both of them flower abundantly in autumn with blue flowers. They are extremely easy to grow—you just plant them and forget, but in autumn you have all this beauty!

Clematis ‘Sundance’ (pictured above, bottom) is also my autumn favorite! It’s so abundant, but the main beauty is its seed heads, which are just extra gorgeous.

I love incorporating clematis vines into arrangements, especially larger statement pieces. What are your favorite varieties for arranging with? Do you have any tricks for maximizing vase life? 

I just adore garden arrangements and I make them all the time as soon as the first flowers start blooming in the garden! The only thing I do to prolong the vase life is regularly changing the water. 

Using clematis as a cut flower is a very interesting topic! Bell-shaped clematis are among the best for arranging as they have a very good vase life. Clematis versicolor, Clematis texensis, Clematis viorna, Clematis viorna ‘Liviana’, and Clematis ‘Kaiu’ are all good performers as cut flowers.

It may be surprising, but I love using clematis seed heads in my arrangements. They always add a touch of elegance and look so good with other flowers!

When incorporating clematis seed heads into floral designs, it is important to consider their placement and complementing elements. Their delicate nature requires careful handling to prevent damage, and they should be positioned in a way that highlights their unique forms and textures. Pairing them with other dried elements, such as branches, berries, or dried flowers, can create a harmonious composition that evokes a sense of timeless beauty.

By the way, the most beautiful seed heads are on Clematis ‘Sundance’ (pictured above, bottom), they are just amazing and a staple in any arrangement!

You are such a talented photographer and clearly have a passion for this work. How did you get your start?

It all started in childhood with my father’s old Zenith camera. I wanted to take a picture of every flower and every grass, but due to the limitations that the film imposed, I had to take only family shots. It was an old Soviet camera and all the settings were manual, so it was really difficult to use and I didn’t always get beautiful photos.

I will never forget the delight that I experienced when my friend brought back from her internship in the U.S. the first digital camera with an LCD and an unlimited ability to shoot anything and everything—and even instantly see the result on the screen—just miraculously wonderful and unbelievable! 

And soon such a camera was gifted to me by my father. Though it was a cheap point-and-shoot camera, it was an extremely expensive purchase for our family and my happiness had no limits! I was inspired so much! 

At the same time, I had started gardening and someone told me about Facebook, and I started sharing my flower photos there and received many warm comments. Then I learned about Instagram and immediately liked it, photography was at its core. I started posting photos there and received more and more wonderful comments.

Because of this, my husband Vitaliy (pictured above) encouraged me to buy a better camera. I was against it for a long time as the purchase was too expensive for us and would make a hole in our budget, but finally, we took a loan and bought a Nikon D750 with a 105mm macro lens. Oh those wonderful peaceful times before the war when you could take a loan for a camera! 

The new camera was difficult for me to use because it was really heavy and it had lots of settings which I didn’t understand easily. But when I saw the results and the photos were of such amazing quality, I decided I would learn how to take photos with this camera, and eventually, I succeeded! You can do anything when you have a strict aim and are inspired!

My Instagram followers ask me all the time to make a course on flower photography. So right now I’m working on a series of workshops dedicated to flower photography for those eager to take beautiful flower photos. As soon as I’m ready, I will make an announcement on my Instagram account. 

Ukraine is a very young country when it comes to gardening and has only recently been influenced by the Western world. What do you see for the future of Ukrainian gardens? 

I believe that the evolution and the future of Ukrainian gardening will be marked by a harmonious blend of both local traditions and influences from Western gardening culture. 

When I started growing rare plants, I was among the first Ukrainian gardeners to explore and introduce new species. I’m sure that rare plants and beautiful landscape design will develop as soon as the war finishes and people are able to live in peace and enjoy gardening again. 

Many foreign gardeners just adore sowing seeds while my compatriots weren’t even aware that such a possibility existed until recently! I think the trend of growing plants from seeds will definitely become stronger. Growing from seeds is a journey that involves patience and care, and there is so much joy in witnessing life unfold. It adds a whole new dimension to the gardening experience, helps to preserve rare endangered species, and makes gardening more cost-effective, as seeds are generally more affordable than buying mature plants.

Thank you Alla for sharing your story and love for clematis with us. I am so excited for people to learn about your important work and sow your beautiful seeds in their gardens. 

To honor Alla’s story and encourage more gardeners to try their hand at growing clematis from seed, we’re giving away 12 special collections that we ordered from her. Each collection includes seeds from seven of her favorite varieties, a note from Alla, and a copy of her wonderful new e-book, Clematis

For a chance to win, please share what part of Alla’s story impacted you the most. Winners will be announced on Thursday, December 21. Please note: This giveaway is open to residents in the U.S. and Canada only. 

Update: A huge congratulations to our winners: Katrina Scala, Kate Hollander, Joanna Glud, Erin Jenkins, Mary Holowach, Katherine Ball, Suzanne H.,  Kim Finger, Colleen Martin, Katelyn Wissinger, April Whiston and Debra


If you’re interested in learning more about Alla and supporting her work, here are all of the important details: 

Purchase a copy of Alla’s book

If you want to learn all about clematis, Alla wrote a wonderful e-book all about them. This 124-page book includes her beautiful photography, growing advice based on her personal experience, plus her favorite varieties (organized by bloom time), and instructions on how to propagate clematis through cuttings and layering, and from seed. 

We’ve just added Alla’s new e-book all about clematis to the Floret Shop if you would like to order a copy. Since it is a digital product, it will be delivered by email right away. 100% of the proceeds from Alla’s book sales through our shop will go directly to her—purchase your copy here.

Make a donation 

If you’re not interested in seeds or a book and would like another way to help, you can simply send money. The exchange rate is very much in Alla’s favor, and what might seem like a small amount will go a long way for her and her family. 

Funds can be sent via PayPal to [email protected]. All donations go directly to Alla, and if you enter HUMANITARIAN AID into the “What’s this payment for” field, fees and taxes will be waived.

Subscribe to Patreon

Alla just started a Patreon account with three monthly subscription levels: snowdrop ($5 USD/month) clematis ($10 USD/month), and peony ($25 USD/month). These subscriptions will allow Alla to continue her seed-saving efforts and will support her family during the upcoming winter months. For more information, click here.

Order seeds

Please note: Alla is currently sold out of seeds because of your incredible support. After she processes all of the orders, she may be able to restock a few varieties. She will be posting updates on her Instagram account. 

Alla sells seeds for clematis, peonies, phlox, and rare plants and ships worldwide. To place an order, visit her online catalogs here and here.

Follow Alla on social media

Alla has a wonderful Instagram account where she shares beautiful pictures from the garden, interesting videos of her work, and updates from Ukraine. She also has a Facebook page that you can follow and a YouTube channel that you can subscribe to. Be sure to leave her a comment and some encouraging words.


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531 Comments

  1. Jackie Patrick on

    Truly inspirational! May God bless all your family.

    Reply
  2. Janine Peak on

    All the Hope for Peace she is holding onto. Despite all the war, she still is finding a way to share all her garden beauties as a means to support her family.

    Reply
  3. Bonnie Rae Resor on

    I enjoyed reading all the information on you! You are an inspiration to all of us and we will continue to keep an update on how things are going for you. Thank you for taking care of your family and we will help in anyway we can. God will see you through!

    Reply
  4. Bev Ray on

    Her enthusiasm and eagerness to learn new things, even if they are hard while simultaneously holding on to traditions and sweet memories handed down from her grandparents ❤️

    Reply
  5. Caroline on

    First of all, her name is inspirational. I’m half Swedish & half Ukrainian. In Swedish Alla means all. Gardening is really for all. All people can benefit from the therapeutic nature of gardening. Since I’m half Ukrainian, I’m inspired by her resilience. Despite the hardships of war, she can still see light and joy with gardening. I have my own daily struggles but I can look forward and plan for Spring. I can sow the seeds, God will provide the sunshine and the rain. I will have hope to see those glorious flowers face to face!

    Reply
  6. Traci Wilcox on

    I must write you what’s on my heart. There are many things that most inspired me about Alla’s story. Please give me a few minutes to explain.

    Growing plants are to my soul what oxygen is to my lungs. Jefferson or someone once said, I can’t live in a world with out books. While I agree wholeheartedly, it is plants that take greater precedence because they are a living creature.

    I fell madly, passionately in love with flowers and plants when I married a landscape student. He worked one year in the field and never returned unfortunately. When first discovering the glorious varieties of flowers, I spent winter months in the bathtub, learning every facet and botanical knowledge from A to Z in a gifted Rodales Organic Gardening Encyclopedia. The knowledge thrilled me in ways words can’t begin to convey and opened up a world of passion, discovery and shepherding (but for plants). I started a small veg garden when my babies were small and couldn’t understand the lack of pollinators. I researched pollinator friendly plants, Ruth Stout garden methods and the horrors of GMO’s, Glyosphate, Round Up and monoculture. My degree is in fashion which I heartily abandoned to be a stay at home mom.

    I read everything I could get my hands on, was gifted my first set of seeds at a plant swap and was off and running. We bought an old property that proved to be a fine fixer upper and discovered magical prophets of trees telling us of the history of the previous owners. We researched to discover we had an old quince tree and two cedar trees among the glories still standingin New York State I might add. It was nice to have a few bones left, but the quince no longer stands.

    I soon learned annual borage was an excellent pollinator draw and enjoyed eating the flower heads as I shared with the bees that would soon come. An uncle gifted me their beebox and I researched for two years to learn all I could. My son developed anaphylaxis to bee venom, so we never filled the box. I passed it on to a girlfriend.

    Along the way, the garden spoke to me, taught me what to do and not do, but most of all showered me with more bounty, beauty and peace to the soul than I could ever imagine. My marriage struggled and I was accused of spending too much time in the garden. But, it was the garden that sustained me in my hardest times. When depression hit, I was drawn to my garden, to walk barefoot upon the earth and let my soul delight in all mother nature offered. Working in the garden always yielded quite reflection wisdom and solace, a balm to my soul. Randomly at times, I would pray quietly, or be inspired to sing simply because my soul refused to stay quiet in such an oasis of comfort.

    Two elderly ladies who I love dearly took me under there wing and mentored me in old methods, plants and encouragement. They shared plants which still stand in my garden and provide a living memorial to their love, guidance and steadfastness. They were my bosom friends. My grandmother passed around that time and long after affairs were settled and her property sold, I raced back to the property one last time. I walked the tiny property nestled in the woods and marvelled at my grandma’s old peonies, daffodils and bleeding heart. With my daughter in town, I went to the local garden store and bought a shovel. That would be the last time I would travel without one. Back at the property, I dug tiny pieces of my Grandma’s treasureasures and brought them back home to my house. I tended them carefully and soon they were happy and thriving. I remember grandma everytime I see each one of her plants.

    This soon became a pattern. I left the butter cups to grow because they were dads favorite; he even named his first dog buttercup. He died when I was ten, but I remember dad when I see the buttercups pronouncing their smiley faces. The pattern soon repeated and I asked my dearest family member and friends to share a tiny bit of their favorite plant from their garden, so I could add “them”to my symphony. Everywhere I walk in my garden I remember exactly who gave them to me and the memories attached. I smile, I laugh, I cry and I give thanks.

    Some of the greatest joys I have had is dividing perennials, sharing and coaxing others to start a garden, even maybe pressing the issue too far at times. I just wanted others to have the same joy, serenity and passion I have discovered. I’ve given thousands of plants away and built entire flower gardens for others trying to eliminate any roadblocks they may encounter. I had a case of the, “couldn’t help its”.

    I learned time stopped in the garden, the hurried pace of life disappeared and one could learn so much by observing and just watching nature be operated by spirit law. How glorious it tends inspires me! (This offered good lessons in humility as well). Sitting quiet as the orchestra starts in early spring with snowbells, crocus, bloodroot, daffodils, hellebore and hyacinth. These declare spring is arriving and before I know it, new parts of the orchestra play their glorious part; the violets, forget me knots, crabapple, redbud, bleeding hearts and forsythia add to the tune. Won’t be long before peony dazzle, rhubarb offers up her tasty treats. Lilac, weigela, feverfew declare summer is soon to arrive. Iris stand tall in brief moments of glory, the fruit trees are nearly done sharing their lovely petals and nothing is so magical as the time when it rains blossom petals and dots the earth in perfect polka dots. Nature dresses itself in finer attire that any human I have ever seen.

    Siberian iris soon join this symphony of beauty, with hosta and fern unraveling her gorgeous coils as if to unfurl melodies of texture and grace. Asparagus soon demand cutting, and the birds beckon for fresh water or a bite to eat. Squirrels dance from tree to tree to the tune of the symphony. The vinca supports with its unpretentious abidence and spring phlox make way to summer phlox. Feverfew remains constant and poppies delight with sudden bursts of color. Soon, garlic will be harvested and hung to dry.

    It is the half way point, the intermission if you will, in the orchestra each year. Golden Glow burst announcing their arrival, while larkspur softly Grace the stage, trumpet vine has stretched her winter arms and will soon show her rings of orange to feed the hungry Hummers. Yarrow steadies herself soon to play her part while even primrose shares a moment too. Echinacea, zinnia and Dahlia trumpet loudly that summer has gone and fall approaches fast. Rose of Sharon soon bloom and ready themselves for the busy pollinators to work their magic. It won’t be longer before the years symphony ends, one last burst of bright and beautiful color before it is time to rest and sleep through winter.

    A garden is not only a symphony, it is a sanctuary where Yahweh declares his glorious gospel in repetition in every blade of grass and cycle of plant. There is life after death! Even sunflowers were made in such a fascinating way to turn their head and follow the sun, and bows it’s head in perfect reverence after having it’s head filled with seed. A famous person once said, never are we closer to God than in a garden. It’s true. He set up the first garden to feed man and sustain him in every way possible. My garden is a reminder of all this. It has nurtured, sustained, fed and taught me so much. It accepted my tears, and keeps its constant pattern when life made my head spin.

    When my husband left after twenty five years of marriage, I kept the house. I needed my garden more than ever. The roof needed replacing, the garage foundation was crumbling and the bare minimum updates were now stretched at the seams. I didn’t care. I needed my one constant and abiding sanctuary. The giving tree? I had 3/4 of an acre of heaven that would feed me, give me something to stay focused on when I thought my heart would break over my fractured family. My garden taught me forgiveness. She came back to perform her orchestra year after year inspite of me. I’m not the conductor just a servant. Where would I go? My grandma was here and dear friends who have passed and far too memories to leave behind. I want to keep this at least as long as I am allowed. I want my now married children to buy places of their own and come back and take as much as they can to their place. Let the symphony play on. Let the music and joy continue and carry the memories adding new as they grow. I simply couldn’t leave this behind. All of nature cycles. Plants produce seed and continue and perennials often live on longer than the gardeners and Shepards of plants and botany.

    I have been very sick the last few years with Lyme’s and more. I’ve not been able to work or really work in my garden, but I’ve been blessed to sit and admire her beauty. I pay good deals of money to keep the minimum managed for it is all I can do. My heart is grateful and I pray to possibly work in it again. I pray that the kids buy a house and come for car fulls of plants before I run out of money to live on and have to sell the place. Disability process takes time and I find moments of joy in painting watercolor, flowers of course! The first one I ever painted sold for $50 just by word of mouth. I don’t have talent. I paint from passion and long abiding love for plants.

    It would be wrong of me to ask to be considered to receive the seeds and book from Alla. I could be here less than two years who knows, but I had to tell you what inspired me about Alla. Her nonstop and abiding love for her plants in the middle of complete chaos in her life in the midst of a warzone. She has ” love in the midst” (nigella flower). That ancient and constant true love that transcends time and challenges. It was born in her, her parents sacrificed to feed her passion with the camera as well as her husband and she cultivated her very own sanctuary and orchestra. If she doesn’t save the antique plants who will? It is similar in principle to when collectors of art tended and hid paintings to be saved from destruction during wartime so others could enjoy in the future. Sometimes these sacrifices caused lives, but we mesmerize at the beauty preserved and displayed years before.

    Many animals are extinct, rainforests are pillaged and I never really realized that plants could become extinct as well. When I watched your show, This soon became tangible when I saw your team helping you to collect heirloom roses from collectors. Someone must Shepard these and keep them going. I see you doing this with the roses and I see Alla doing this with Clematis. She is sending the seeds out into the world to keep it alive and share that innate passion and joy. To do all this in the midst of war and being a caretaker to sick family is noble and beautiful beyond words. She, is manefesting “love in the midst”. I don’t expect to be considered or chosen, but wondered if I could send you some seed from my love in the midst nigella so you could mail it to her for me. Or, if you are able to share her address, I will mail her a letter and some of my seed, telling her she has bosom friends she has never met. I would send love and encouragement for her bravery and compassion. I would tell her she has inspired me.

    Thank you for listening to my letter and my reasons why Alla inspired me. Part of me wanted to send pictures of my humble garden, so you could see my heart. It is a wonderful thing you are doing Erin. You are a bosom friend. If I ever regain my health and strength, I want to take your course. I live vicariously in your cutting garden. Thank you for sharing it

    Truly,
    Traci

    Reply
  7. Anne Jensen on

    I loved seeing her gramma waving in the window. 🥲 So much beauty in Alla’s garden, Alla and her family! Her father’s gift of a camera and her husband encouraging her to”take” a loan for her digital camera. Her knowledge & enthusiasm with heir encouragement has brought Alla & her gardens to your attention, our attention, to the attention of the world. How fortunate are we to have Alla & her family become a part of our lives. Wishing Alla, her loved ones & her country a rapid end to the war and peace in her gardens .

    Reply
  8. Jodie Brierley on

    Alla is truly an inspiration. Her dedication and love of clematis in her garden is how a parent cares for and encourages a child to grow, nurturing them, protecting them while learning what each one needs to succeed. She continues to do all of this in a country that is currently under siege. Her selflessness really stood out to me, and the story behind her photography was heart warming and true to who she is, a protector of all she holds so dear.

    Reply
  9. Katie Scheirman on

    I’m a teacher and have a student who is a war refugee from Ukraine. Seeing and hearing Alla’s story touched me and gave me such empathic for my sweet 6 year old who sits in my class everyday with joy and hope in her eyes. She is a ray of sunshine!

    Reply
  10. Natalie Radion on

    Love how Alla is passionate about what she’s doing 🙌 80 clematis varieties in the garden! Amazing! I can only imagine…

    Reply
  11. April Whiston on

    There are so many things that inspire me about Alla. The flowers and plants are so beautiful but I feel that she has such a deep connection to her plants that it makes her photographs absolutely extraordinary. Her photographs of the garden look like paintings to me. Alla has so much love for flowers and plants that she seems to be glowing in the documentary.

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  12. Rebecca Spencer on

    I value the abundance of information shared and, moreover, delighted to be reminded of the universal language, passion and joy shared by gardeners everywhere!

    Reply
  13. Lynne m on

    Grow what you can, where you can, with what you have, and feeling blessed the whole time. What an inspiration to me!

    Reply
  14. Claire Aldersong on

    A very inspiring story, I appreciate her practical knowledge earned by love of plants, time, and experience

    Reply
  15. Kelly on

    Alla’s gardens are absolutely awe inspiring. Her talent goes beyond her gardens and the lens of her camera, she is a compelling story teller and compassionate caregiver to her family. Thank you for making her story heard and shared around the world. A good friend of mine has been in the process of getting his seven year old daughter from Kharkiv to the states, it is no easy feat. I have seen the beauty of Kharkiv in good times and the harrowing photos of his child fearing for her life in a bomb shelter, it is heart shattering, such a helpless feeling. I hope we can help Alla get through this war and see her thriving again.

    Reply
  16. Zhanna on

    What a beautiful and inspiring story of love and passion no matter what is happening around you.

    Reply
  17. Celia on

    I fell in love with clematis as a young gardener. After many years of living where they wouldn’t grow well, I had all but forgotten about them. Thank you so much for getting Alla’s story out to us. It has inspired me to do research to find varieties that I can grow in my new home. I will definitely be watching your documentary. Thanks again!!

    Reply
  18. Kim Erickson on

    Alla’s determination to provide for her family and to preserve their family garden is such a beautiful example of self-sacrifice for the benefit of others.

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  19. gail Weatherall on

    Alla has the courage in a war zone to see beauty in growing her Clematis. I am not able to walk at this time but she has inspired me to look at what I can do with my limitations. I just loved reading about her story and I am so happy Erin you introduced us to her.

    Reply
  20. Meridith Ridington on

    Beauty from Ashes! The hope and courage Alla exudes through her passion for photography and natural gardening is an inspiration. Through growing her seeds, I will have a reminder / a placeholder in my garden of strength and hope.

    Reply
  21. Nichola on

    I’m so inspired by her determination to see beauty in life and to provide for her family.

    Reply
  22. Sheila Barker on

    Alla’s courage and love of plants and family is deeply touching and inspiring. I cannot begin to imagine the challenges she has had and continues to face every day. I did not know about some of the lovely clematis varieties and am excited to try to grow some of them. Thank you Alla and Erin for sharing!

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  23. Diane Piemonte on

    I am totally in awe of this woman…her bravery and tenacity are truly inspiring and her garden is literally miraculous under the circumstances of her life in the midst of war. She is blessed to have such a love and passion for plants that can feed her soul and keep her from despair as well as help her family. I applaud you, Erin, for telling her story and using your own talent and resources to get it out to the world to help amplify and support her. I am sure her followers and customers will grow enormously as a result. You have just recruited me!!! Happy Holidays🎄❤️

    Reply
  24. KC on

    Alla’s courage is remarkable. The love and care she shows for her family as well as her gardens, especially in wartme, will stay with me for a long time.

    Reply
  25. Debra on

    At first I thinking how overgrown Alla’s garden was and then as I watched more of the video I could see her vision for and admired how she used her spaces according to the growth patterns of her flowers. It was wonderful to see how thoroughly she knows and understands how to get full use of her spaces to get maximum benefit and even to enhance the enjoyment from the inside looking out the windows such as at her grandmother’s. I especially liked how she has a found different ways to direct-seed her gardens. Alla’s strength and love in all she does for herself and her family to survive are truly an inspiration for anyone, no matter what their situation. She is a beautiful roll model for all of us and I pray for her continued success in such a truly difficult time.
    .

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  26. Sue L'Hommedieu on

    Thank you for sharing Alla’s story. The love of gardening is universal. I’m so pleased she has access to the internet so she can share hers with us.

    Reply
  27. Ruth Bollman on

    I am inspired by Alla’s fortitude and perseverance to move forward when all around her resides a garden of chaos. In her yard, she pursues her passion to grow, share her beauty, and to inspire others with what she captures on film.
    Thank you, Alla, for being a guiding light to all of humanity. May God continue to bless you and shine His light through you!

    Reply
  28. Shaundra Robinson on

    Alla’s love and passion for her family is so inspiring. She is choosing to be selfless and stay in a very hard and scary setting when she could just choose herself and leave everyone behind. I love that through it all she focuses on the beauty and life of her garden. Choosing joy every day, choosing to be grateful for each day she gets with the people she loves and gets to spend in her beautiful garden. Lastly I find it inspiring that she has found a way to support her family with her passion of gardening, using her beautiful flowers to not only bring light and joy to her and her family but is now impacting others around the world with the same beauty she cultivates.

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  29. Larissa on

    I was struck by Alla’s dedication to learning photography in spite of her financial limitations for equipment. Living in a country where it seems like every child carries an iPhone with a fancy camera baked in, the contrast to Alla’s life is striking. She and her amazing garden are such an inspiration and I hope that she gets her wish: war to end and Ukrainians building beautiful gardens again.

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  30. Anne Masury on

    Gardening has always been a refuge from all that is wrong in our lives. It is wonderful that Alla is able to be recognized for a passion we can all appreciate. Thankyou Floret for making this happen.

    Reply
  31. Linda Craig on

    Alla’s ability to reflect beauty and light in her garden is truly inspirational. That she continues to do what she loves despite the war that rages around her can only motivate others to move forward.

    Reply
  32. Tammy Grieder on

    It all inspires me! It is real life that is so limited and yet so alive and now flourishing! Her sweet spirit and perseverance even through the hardest of times. Many blessings to you Alla.

    Reply
  33. Connie Morter on

    I am impressed with her knowledge and astonished by her ability to maintain her beautiful garden in the midst of such terrible chaos. Her devotion to her flowers and her photography is truly inspiring.

    Reply
  34. Laurie Broome on

    Alla’s strength and love of the magic held in every seed is an inspiration to all of us. May our combined energy continue to support her and her family.

    Reply
  35. Evan on

    Her perseverance is amazing! Inspiring!

    Reply
  36. Debra Booe on

    I was most impacted by her ability to find life and healing in her Climatis garden in spite of the war raging around her! This continues to warm and comfort her and her family in spite of bombs and missles around her.

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  37. Kim on

    Alla, your story further proves the difference one person can make in the world. I so admire your strength and perseverance it is remarkable and your garden is so beautiful. When times are darkest, I hope the words and support the gardeners around the world offer to you help in a small way in keeping you strong and resilient. Many prayers to you and your family

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  38. Debra Booe on

    I was most impacted by the way her garden was a source of peace and healing in the midst of war,. Surrounded by missiles and bombs, and all that threatens life, she is bringing forth the life of plants to soothe and comfort her and her family and also to be a source of income.

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  39. Brenda Morr on

    I’m so impressed with Alla’s tenacity. She is an amazing woman who is farmer and flower breeder, and caring for her family in extremely difficult circumstances.
    Erin, thanks for sharing her story.

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  40. Alida aka Missdaisy on

    This is the highlight interview of the year. Thank you Erin for making me aware of Alla’s story. Wow… to look back at times of peace… taking a loan for a camera. My heart goes out to her. I have found a new Ukraine friend in Calgary… and I will share your interview with her. It is sooo encouraging! Thank you Alla: I will begin to incorporate clematis into my flower arrangements. There is so much beauty to be found in all the details of life…

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  41. Kim Finger on

    I think that there is a kind of sisterhood between women who love to garden, which is part of what made me feel an immediate connection to Alla but, when I learned her wartime gardening story, that connection strengthened and my admiration grew for her steadfast courage, undaunted passion, and pluck! Alla just keeps putting one foot in front of the other because, I think, it is what love does: love for her family, her family of plants, and love of life and beauty. I am filled with admiration for Alla and, if she is able to send me the clematis seeds I have ordered, I love the possibility that the little seed which she lovingly grew, harvested and packaged by hand, and sent halfway around the world will find a new home here in Bellingham, Washington, and our sisterhood will have new roots.

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  42. Karen Beach on

    I am in awe of how beauty, her beauty, perseveres in a place of conflict and hardship I can not even imagine. To have been given a glimpse into her life helps us all understand-whether we garden or not- how similar we all are in this world. And how much joy and peace flowers can bring to our own personal struggles. I’m so glad I was introduced to her and can’t wait to follow along and learn from Alla’s example. Clematis have become a new addition to my small backyard urban garden and now I’ll think of her when I try growing more of these beautiful plants.

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  43. Laura Luque on

    What a woman! The fear of being unable to leave with her family, and then moving beyond that fear and doing something; and on top of all that, remaining hopeful and tenacious even with all the air raids.

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  44. Nancy on

    It touched me that a garden can become a sanctuary and a place to forget about your troubles, even in a place where a war is going on. What a strong woman she is, and I hope she can continue sharing her knowledge and love for clematis for many more years.

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  45. Karen Turner on

    I feel like Alla is part of my extended family. My Grandfather was born and raised in Estonia which was taken over then finally released by the Soviet Union. His family was so poor they couldn’t afford vegetable seeds to grow their food. At the young age of 23 his parents somehow paid for him to come to the US, knowing they would probably never see him again. He married my Grandmother and they lived a happy life mostly in Washington DC, him working as a union carpenter on our Capital, the White House and the National Cathedral. They helped raise me and my 5 siblings thruout their lives. Upon retiring they moved to SW Va and bought a small farm, taught us how to garden and farm. Once I married they gave me their prized flowers, 3 peonies. We now grow 70 varieties and 250 plants, veggies, fruits for our grandchildren, herbs and even 3-4 varieties of clematis here at Peony Park. My family wants to help support Alla and her family, our Christmas gift to her. I ordered 2 copies of her book and seeds. AND today I received her email saying she got my order. It made my Christmas…I’m full of thanksgiving for you and your team! Thank you for your kind and loving heart. Karen Turner

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  46. Kathy Palmateer on

    Thank you for bringing Alla’s story to all of us. Honestly, it took me a few days before I could bring myself to make a comment. My heart has been breaking for this entire country since this all began. I guess what impacted me the most was how in the face of war, with bombs in the distance, sirens going off, and power randomly cut, Alla pushes forward. Bringing beauty into her world and to others around her. With what seems like the weight of the world on her shoulders she walks through her garden, eyes becoming wide when she spots a particular bloom. A smell, a smile, a relief from fear, if for just that one moment. This is what I have carried with me for days now. Crying now and then ( because that’s who I am) thinking about the state of the world. Then I think of Alla’s courage, her bravery, and her strength. How in the face of war, she is not just surviving, she is thriving!! How ? Flowers!!! Alla, I pray for peace, for you, your family , your country and the world!! Erin, once again , thank you for bringing light to someone in need.

    Reply
  47. Amanda DaSilva on

    Alla’s story is truly inspiring. It reflects the resilience of the human spirit even in the darkest of times. It gives me hope for the future of our world. Thank you for the beautiful storytelling and bringing us the beauty of Ukraine while in the midst of being torn apart by war. Sharing Alla’s journey brings us all a bit closer through the love and healing of flowers.

    Reply
  48. Ami K on

    Alla is the pure example of hope. She is so positive, despite her dreary seeming atmosphere and the unknown of her future. Her garden is so beautiful, you see her face light up when she enters it.

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  49. Stephanie Poppa on

    This story really touched me. For Alla to find such peace and beauty in what is no doubt a very dark time, is nothing short of miraculous. It really made me stop and think about the positives in my life. I also really appreciated her embracing the imperfections of her garden. That is something I wished I had a better grasp of in many aspects of my life. Thanks so much for sharing!

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  50. Lori S on

    What a beautiful thing to be doing in the midst of war. She is such a bright spot of light for her country and the world. Truly inspiring!

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  51. Linda Massey on

    I am inspired by Alla’s love for her garden and continuing to grow and collect seeds during such a difficult time with the war raging on so close by. I love her statement ” My garden is my lifelong love”. Her passion comes through with all her answers. I can start to visualize her garden through her words and would love to be able to visit it.

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  52. Lisa Byxbe on

    I am not someone who cries easily but this story brought tears to my eyes. All of her story just pulled on my heart strings. Her love and passion for her garden is just undeniable. I loved that she stated;
    “My garden is my lifelong love.
    It’s imperfect, but I’m constantly thinking whether I really would like it to be perfect and I think the answer is no.”

    “I can say that my garden is a paradise for me. It’s an oasis of serenity and positive emotions in a desert of hostilities and missile attacks. When I work in the garden and there are no terrible air alert sounds, I forget for a while all the horrors of the war in which we live.”

    I believe that all people need an imperfect paradise/oasis in their lives. I think the world would be a better place and humankind would be better off.
    I missed the seed sale so I am off to purchase her e-book. God bless

    Lisa

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  53. Leah Cueva on

    I am so inspired and touched by Alla’s love of gardening during a very difficult time. She truly is a bright light in this world. Her story brought tears to my eyes. I immediately ordered some Clematis seeds to help support her. I hope she knows that that all the way from Washington State, there is someone thinking of her. Thank you Floret for sharing her story. It made me realize how fortunate we are to not be living in a war zone. The Clematis seeds will definitely be a new journey for me. I have never grown them before. I look forward to spreading beauty, peace and love, just like Alla.

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  54. Mylène on

    I was deeply touched by Alla’s story. Her kindness (we exchanged a couple emails), perseverance, passion for flowers and resilience is inspiring and her story is a powerful reminder of how fragile each moment is. I am embarking on my 4th season growing and selling flowers and this interview and the documentary is helping me shape my vision for how I want to pursue this journey moving forward. Thank you team Floret for sharing Alla’s story. I hope it will reach many. XO

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  55. Catherine Stewart on

    Words cannot describe the importance of Alla’s story. The way she speaks of the plants/flowers. The excitement in her voice. The tenacity to continue growing & sharing beauty in the face of war. All these things inspire me so much. My heart really resonates with how committed she is to caring for her husband, her mother-in-law and her sweet granny. Alla’s heart is immense and this is what touched me most about her story.

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  56. Kathryn Burgess on

    I love her story. The part that stands out to me is, growing plants and flowers from seed takes time, patience, and care. But is so fulfilling to see your work blossom and flourish. They are like your own little babes. She brings hope to a broken world. But growing anything is an act of faith and hope and brings peace to your soul.

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  57. Caroline on

    All parts of the interview are special in their own way. For me “Growing from seeds is a journey that involves patience and care, and there is so much joy in witnessing life unfold.” has touched me the most. It speaks of real life. Not only growing seeds, real life is an everyday journey that involves patience and care. That needs to be nurtured and handled to succeed in joy and beauty. Alla, what a brave and strong woman you are!

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  58. Charlotte Litton on

    She has such a positive attitude and outlook. Her photos are just gorgeous.

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  59. Connie on

    I mean, how can you pick one part of Alla’s story? Focusing on flowers as a calming force while being a caregiver for 3 people with bombs falling on fellow humans and sometimes taking out loved ones. Yet Alla persists. This war needs to end, and we need to continue helping until it does. What a compelling story. Thank you to everyone involved in bringing forward this compelling story!

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  60. Shelby Rinker on

    Alla staying behind in a war zone to care for those who need her as well as investing her time into a beautiful and delicate garden is inspiring and shines a light in a dark time.

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  61. Liz Boyce on

    Erin, Thank you for sharing Alla’s journey as she goes through this life of uncertainty. You can feel her love of growing and the excitement of the special varieties she has tended
    and has shown in her photos. The “Sundance” clematis is spectacular and I better find a way to grow that here. I loved the section on seeds, varieties and favorites especially the bell-shaped and the seed heads. She is a model of perserverance with a gentle spirit!

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  62. Josie on

    Thank you so much for bringing her story to light! The part that inspired me the most is how even though she must stay in Ukraine during this time she has made the absolute best of it through FLOWERS!!

    Reply
  63. Colleen Martin on

    What I love is the connection that binds gardeners thousands of miles away from each other. Through your introduction of Alla to us, an incredible woman we would have never been able to know, we now have a bond, a connection through love of growing flowers. How great is that? And, further, your documentary and interview of her created a life line of revenue for family support in a war environment. As I sit here today in my safe place, I can’t imagine all she is going through with no choice to leave. Most importantly, she found through selling seeds a way and means for life support doing what she loves. She found the answer when life was the hardest. So impressive and a lesson to all who are struggling. Wishing her every good thing.

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  64. Dawn R. Hamilton on

    I watched with tender AWE, as this brave woman on so many levels continued her path of Beauty. She has very little beauty in her existing surroundings, plus a husband that is not well. Yet she finds the Glow of Grace, in her Clematis, and their own perseverance of producing seed! Alla and her Clematis are ONE in the creative silence of what is left ‘good’ in the world, allowing calmness and inner stamina within each other to enhance their dailies. Even more inspiring is her mustered bravery of funding a camera in order to capture the moments of her waking hours , with such a brutal outside world with possible interference! Alla gave us ALL, a humility and stillness to connect with her across the miles, to reevaluate our own ‘plethora’.
    After the video, the lingering of love she has for her piece of Paradise, is like a ‘Serenade for the Soul’! It reminded me of Anne Frank, who hid in the attic for 2 years while hiding from the Germans, and in Anne’s own words: ‘I don’t think of all the misery, but the beauty that still remains”.
    Alla has taught us that, with her own expression without fail!

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  65. Sherrie on

    Alla’s perseverance and hope are truly inspiring. We cannot actually fathom what she and her fellow Ukrainians have and are enduring, and yet she has developed the rarest of qualities – finding beauty in the midst of unspeakable horror – in her garden and in her life. Her love and passion are uplifting and I so appreciate getting this opportunity to learn of her incredible spirit, her work, and her family. I am reminded of Vitkor Frankl’s Man’s Search for Meaning and how he was able to find beauty in another set of unspeakable circumstances and endure life in a concentration camp. Alla has that same unparalled and rare quality. The world needs more Allas. May she and her family be protected from harm and thrive in the months ahead. Thank you for sharing her story.

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  66. Shannon Carr on

    What inspires me the most about Alla’s story is her resolve in a dire situation to continue doing what she loves. How amazing is that! She is an inspiration to all! <3

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  67. Megan Clinch on

    “I’m especially proud of the pine trees which I grew from seed and now they are twice as tall as me! I can say that my garden is a paradise for me. It’s an oasis of serenity and positive emotions in a desert of hostilities and missile attacks. When I work in the garden and there are no terrible air alert sounds, I forget for a while all the horrors of the war in which we live.” Both the documentary & the interview reminded us strongly of Jean Giono’s The Man Who Planted Trees (an annual Advent read-aloud in our home.) Also the seed shape reminded us of tadpoles!

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  68. Carol Sammons on

    Alla’s story is so inspirational. She has so much resilience and hope for the future. She finds joy in such a horrible situation. I love her comment “Growing from seeds is a journey that involves patience and care, and there is so much joy in witnessing life unfold.”

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  69. Lisa on

    I loved reading this whole thing, but if I had to pick, my favorite part of the interview is about her journey into flower photography. I’m looking forward to hearing about her upcoming course/workshops!

    Reply
  70. Polly on

    What a joy to give directly to a person and not just a vague group and hope your contribution really gets to where you intend to support. A special joy for me… I see my funds will be available to Alla on Dec 25. Merry Merry Christmas Alla. You truly are making beauty from ashes. May you and your family be safe from harm. You have inspired me to expand my own gardening style. You are Brave & Beautiful and your dimples are ever so precious!

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  71. Katie on

    I love the joy that she is finding in the garden amidst such trying times. I love that hard work can bring that joy and fulfillment.

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  72. Patricia Ovington on

    I spent 6 weeks in Ukraine shortly after the war started and when I would get a chance to go for a walk I loved looking at what was growing in the yards I passed. Beautiful cottage gardens! I even brought some seeds home with me that are now blooming in my garden!
    Alla’s story took me back there. Seeing her battle the air raids, black outs and cold breaks my heart. She shows the great resilience of the Ukrainian people!
    So very thankful that you are sharing her story. Thank you!

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  73. Emily Weaver on

    I loved the commitment to hope for Ukraine’s future and how flowers will be a big part of that future. We have been flying the Ukraine flag since day 2 of the conflict and it will fly at our home in downtown Bellingham WA until peace is happening. Gardeners practice hope every time we plant a seed and we win hope will prevail.

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  74. Tasha on

    This whole interview was so great to read. The part that stood out to me the most was when she said;
    “My garden is my lifelong love.
    It’s imperfect, but I’m constantly thinking whether I really would like it to be perfect and I think the answer is no.”
    I feel this way about my garden also, sometimes I think maybe it needs to be more orderly, then I look at it and think about how much I love its wild and unpolished style.

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  75. Stacy Hollingsworth-Barnett on

    Her story reminds me that we are all connected. What we focus on shines and grows. There is awe and wonder in the most dire circumstances outside of our control. Yet we still have the choice to love, plant, grow, nurture and touch soul to soul. Her courage and love is expressed through her actions and the striking beauty she spreads through her seeds is contagious. May we stand together with Alla and focus on the sacred moments of knowing we are not alone. May we stretch our skills and plant her precious seeds and manifest more love and beauty of flowers.

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  76. Allison M. on

    This story is so beautiful in a myriad of ways. I am so touched by how much her garden means to her as a place of safety and escape. “When I work in the garden and there are no terrible air alert sounds, I forget for a while all the horrors of the war in which we live.” That just stunned me. Absolutely beautiful. And then the sacrifice she made just to buy a nicer camera to photograph her flowers. If there is passion and love for something inside of you, there is always some way to pursue it. That resonated very strongly in me. This is such an incredible story.

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  77. Pam Blackwood on

    I’m thankful you shared Alla’s story. I purchased her ebook and I loved the way she laid out the charts on the different varieties of clematis. She is a hard working woman who is very brave. I would love to get some of her seed but it looks like she is limited on the options of payment.

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  78. Patricia Glavin on

    Ali’s story impacted me the most. Flowers are important to me as well Erin, because they also provide a connection to really important moments with very special people like my parents love for gardening and to my dads love for growing flowers as a gardener as he too brought more beauty into the world that motivated him to work creating a calm and peaceful sanctuary to melt worries away. The garden missed my dad when my parents died.

    All has shown great strength and courage living in a country of memories from a a previous generation of family who lived through the Second World War who were unable to leave the country .

    Ali us unable to leave her country due to Vitaliy’s severe health issues and being the primary caregiver for her elderly grandmother and mother-in-law.

    She has shown the most powerful person is someone who decides their self worth does not come from a groups decisions to create terror and war, but from the ability to be motivated to write a book, work and to create a livelihood that supports an income to pay for the necessities in life and to stay alive and care for her family and find peace in her garden, a place of calm and normalcy living during turbulent times, gardening in a war zone.

    Ali is being seen and so are you Erin as flowers creates that invisible bond as they also provide a connection to really important moments with very special people. Pressed but unbroken.

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  79. Lesli Simon on

    What an empowering story. It makes me count my blessings even more and realize just how lucky we are to live in freedom. In Oklahoma, we have storm sirens that sound every Saturday at noon. I find myself thinking how annoying they are when I’m outside and the loud shrill fills the air. Alla’s passion for her garden and her love for her family is truly inspirational. Her story will now forever make me think and be grateful when I hear the sirens on Saturday afternoons!!!!

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  80. Brooke James on

    I love that she shared how her garden included so many items from the past – including the gate upon entrance and some heirloom peonies. I love when the old and new are combined! Thank you for sharing Alla’s story – I’m looking forward to watching the documentary!

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  81. Jan Trent on

    What struck me was how she does not have the choice of others (money to move away) to live in safety, and that despite the circumstances she is finding a way to support her family with what she has. I love her pride in her family heritage, her love for her mother-in-law and grandmother, and her spirit to survive in her new harsh reality. She is a woman with an amazing internal strength…surviving and not giving up hope. She, like her flowers, is beautiful – she has a beautiful soul.

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  82. Kaitlyn on

    I love that she is a forerunner, inspiring her new-to-gardening country (and the world) with these beautiful rare plants.

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  83. DK on

    What an incredible story, thank you for making it possible for us to see/hear it. My birth country was occupied by the Russian (then Soviet) forces for over 40 years, so all of what is happening is triggering and, of course, makes me want to help in any way I can. Thank you for letting us how to do that.

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  84. Debbie Wright on

    Alla’s bravery and her passion for flowers is an inspiration. It is an honor to support her in a small way by purchasing her book!

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  85. Amy on

    What a powerful story. Thank you so much for sharing her story with the world. As I cried through some parts, I just kept clapping for her courage and love for her family and garden. As the documentary ended, I just kept thinking of how resilient and determined she is. She fights hard to keep her spirit up despite her current circumstances. What a joyful person to showcase such great qualities. Thanks again! The seeds were sold out before I got to them, but I’ll keep watching for a restock.

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  86. Della Burruss on

    Thank you for sharing her story!! The morning I watched it I just cried! Even as I ponder it all right now, I just feel her courage and love! Courage beyond my comprehension and so much love!! Love of family, and of her garden all so completely beautiful. Della

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  87. Vicki Tayloe on

    Alla’s gorgeous photography captures the beauty she is nurturing in the midst of war and difficulties. Her story shows her love for family and creating beauty regardless of life’s struggles. The amazing array of her clematis garden is so inspiring and beautiful. I love how she captures the beauty of life and how she shares it with everyone. Alla is a very special lady and I’m so glad you shared her story with all of us.

    Reply
  88. Val Taylor on

    I think for me the most inspirational part of Alla’s story is her love for nature and beauty and of her family. She is a true nurturing caregiver of her plants and her family. This must be challenging in a war zone. I also was inspired that her father bought her a camera. She is able to capture the beauty she creates and share it with the world. I bought my first camera with money I earned picking strawberries in Mt Vernon when I was 11. Now my son is learning to be a professional photographer. I love it when he photographs my flowers and hummingbirds that visit them. It brings me great joy. I am grateful that Alla has a professional camera and that you, Erin shared her story. that is the greatest inspiration!

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  89. Kaibah on

    First of all I love clematis, they are so delicate looking. Even when one of mine looks dead it will surprise me with with new shoots. I can’t even imagine what it is like to live in a country at war, but I hope she finds peace while gardening.

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  90. Semaj Thomas on

    I cannot fathom the challenges of living in such a place, yet the beauty that has emerged from her gardens, it serves as a profound source of solace.
    My heart expands for the chance to delve into Alla’s life and witness her unwavering commitment to nature and the pursuit of beauty. Particularly moving is her tender care for her granny and mother-in-law, a testament to the depth of her compassionate soul.
    The layers of her story evoke a profound sense of gratitude within me, making me more appreciative of the abundance in my own life.

    Reply
  91. Joy on

    Alla has a beautiful story… But it didn’t just happen. She chose courage and creativity and joy instead of fear and that inspires me tremendously. I am challenged to do the same! That you have used your platform to bless her life, Erin, is incredible as well. Thank you for introducing us to such a gem!

    Reply
  92. Janie Hansen on

    I was so touched by Alla’s determination to continue her passion despite the incredible challenges facing her and her family. What I admire most was her resourcefulness in finding a way to support her family during wartime when there were no ‘paying jobs’ as we know them. This is humbling and makes me try harder to contribute to my volunteer gardening efforts.

    Reply
  93. Cathy Satterwhite on

    What incredible strength Alla shows in her daily life. Her beautiful garden is a sanctuary in a war zone. A beacon that brings beauty, solace and joy to a gray canvas. I am so inspired by her story. Thank you Floret for sharing her story with the world. 🌻

    Reply
  94. Joanne Hudock on

    I am so inspired to try more clematis, I didn’t realize there were so many varieties and the pruning differences. I loved watching her in her video and it’s so hard to imagine what that country is going through. I have ordered her book and hope to have her seeds someday down the road. I’m in no hurry.
    God bless Alla and her country.

    Reply
  95. Katie Asher on

    Alla knows the truth about life, that all things need loving tender care. For me the most inspirational part of her story is that she is a caregiver for her loved ones who depend on her, along with the hope and joy she gives them by dreaming and creating beauty and life for everyone around her. Like Alla, flowers were my life even as a child. Then I lost everything and life was only surviving, being the sole provider for my 5 kids, and keeping my severely disabled child alive. To have a garden again it’s like I’ve been given a second life. I saw so much of my heart in Alla, the incredible love of flowers from a young age, the resilience that is required to hope in tragedy, and her love and care for those who need her. I loved her hope.

    Reply
  96. Kaye McGehee on

    What a wonderful story. I’m so glad to learn about Alla and immediately followed her Instagram page. I hope to be in time for some seeds next fall!

    She must be so busy with her caregiving for family members all while tending her garden and developing her online sites. I think most poignant was the story about her cameras. As a privileged American, it’s hard to imagine having the purchase of a camera require a loan or be a financial hardship. Or, making such excellent use of that camera as both a means of capturing beauty and a business tool.

    Thank you also for the link to the film. I hope to watch it tonight.

    Reply
  97. Joy Collazzi on

    Alla’s story is amazing, I love that she is still able to be surrounded by beauty made and planted by her great grandmother and great grandfather, as well as her focus to keep interweaving her life – making and planting interwoven with theirs. She has made a way to feel love and peace that grounds her and her family while providing for them in such terrible and uncertain conditions. Her story and life reminds me to cherish every single moment of the day, and every breath, along with those around me, how vital it is to be thankful, grateful, as everything can change so suddenly, in an instant. Thank you Alla, sending love and hugs to you and your family.

    Reply
  98. Carla Dombowsky on

    My husband and I watched the documentary last week and then I thoroughly enjoyed reading the interview you shared here with Alla. Alla’s perseverance and dedication to her gardens in the face of multiple levels of adversity and difficulty (all beyond her control) are an inspiration to say the least. Her gardens and business both which she continues to grow in the midst of a devastating war are a powerful reminder to my young family that we can choose to cultivate beauty, grow beauty and share beauty with those around us regardless of our circumstances. Even in the darkest most broken times of our lives (or the lives of those around us), it is amazing to me how sharing beauty spreads hope and joy.

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  99. Mary Hewlett on

    A beautiful story. So wonderful she has her garden to help her through such a difficult time for her family and country.

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  100. Suzanne Brown on

    I love her perspective about trying to think about flowers and not the war – it brought tears to my eyes and a smile to my face at the same time. Shouldn’t we all try to think about flowers and not war?? I also appreciate her love for clematis – it’s not a flower I think of when I think of gardeners who specialize in one thing (dahlias, roses, irises, etc.) – but it’s the first flower name I recall learning in my mom’s garden so Alla’s passion for them resonates with me. Thank you for sharing Alla with us!

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  101. Tricia on

    Alla is able to create beauty all around her in the toughest of conditions and share her love of gardening with the world. She is truly inspiring!

    Thank you for sharing her story.

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  102. Abby on

    “I try to think of flowers” instead of the war and what is going on with the war. What an amazing way to frame how to live day to day for what matters to you despite the things you can’t control. What if we all applied that to our lives everyday. It would change everything. It’s a metaphor for so much more than flowers. It’s a way of life. Then to look at seeds as “all the future life”. It’s such a wholesome truth for such a tiny object. That life goes far beyond just the flowers. Well done Alla!

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  103. Shawn Schumacher on

    Wow! I just read the article and look forward to following her and seeing the documentary. I am inspired that gardening is helping her through a war torn community. The gift of the garden has helped her find peace. It is also a gift from her great grandparents and I feel like her roots on the land are part of what makes it so touching

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  104. Katheryn S. on

    I’m impressed with her attitude of figuring it out. When she didn’t know the ins and outs of her new camera she dove in and learned.
    The impressive number of species of clematis that she has cultivated is astounding.

    Reply
  105. Laura on

    Her whole story is inspiring! Thank you for sharing it!

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  106. Roz on

    Such an amazing woman, being able to see the beauty in simple things in life, the beauty in all of nature, all the while in the midst of the horrors of war.

    Reply
  107. Ina Leahy on

    Alla is the true definition of an entrepreneur . In the toughest of conditions she continues onward. I love her garden! I love her personality!

    Reply
  108. Bethany Empert Guenther on

    I love that Alla’s love for flowers started in her childhood and gave her inspiration and gardening gives her respite from hard times. I am inspired by Alla’s passion for flowers that lead her to planting and gardening with rare plants in a way that is new to her country, leading the way for other Ukrainian gardeners to discover new plants and ways of gardening. I can’t imagine living in a war zone, let alone gardening and running an amazing business while life is so challenging. I hope that Alla’s garden and business continue to grow and thrive through the difficult times and she can help other Ukranians grow beautiful and healing gardens once the war is over.

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  109. Marlena Hirsch on

    Alla goes to the garden for solace and inspiration, as she has since she was a child. In the film, I could hear the tones of delight in her voice as she came upon a clematis in flower or in seed. I could feel the love we share for these natural designs. Like me, Alla has loved flowers since she was a child. Hearing about how she lives with bombing, lack of heat, little electricity, and dependent family while caring for her garden, made my heart go out to her. I am thrilled that Floret connected Alla to the larger gardening community where she is getting much needed support.

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  110. Susan on

    Alla’s story is beautiful and heart-piercing at the same time. Puts my own easy life in perspective and challenges me to find the beauty in every moment. I am thrilled that her seeds were sold out when I tried to order. I look forward to an eventual purchase. Thank you for sharing about her. I am hopeful that her family needs will be met by those of us who know her story.

    Reply
  111. Cynthia Shone on

    I love her deep appreciation for the simple but beautiful things in life like her family and the outdoors, the ability to grow such beauties and share with others. Her devotion to her family is priceless!

    Reply
  112. Laura on

    Alla is an inspiration. My heart breaks for her and her family and at the same time I am amazed by her ability to find beauty in such terrible circumstances.

    I hope to purchase some of her seeds. I absolutely love Clemitis and have plans for a few in my garden this year!

    Reply
  113. Cindy Hoenig on

    Alla’s lifelong love of her garden, the hope and life she gives and receives from it, and the generations that connect her to it are deeply inspiring to me. Her perseverance in a land of war in Ukraine and her steadfastness are an example to all of us. I also come from a long connection to land through my father and grandfather, for 6 generations, and in the midst of life’s hardships, the land and beauty it produces, runs deeply through my veins to anchor me when I need it the most. I frequently walk the ground on the farm, getting plants (like my grandma’s snowdrops, lilacs and daffodils) to start in my own garden so that I remain connected to their lives. On my mother’s side, I am of Ukrainian ancestry with my great-great grandparents coming to America in the 1880’s. I am rooted even there, by genetics, to a people who are a part of my life. I appreciated learning more about clematis plants from the interview. Clematis plants have always fascinated me with their beauty, and the wonder of all: the seed pods! I have only seen one bell shaped clematis in my life and fell in love with it but as yet, I do not have one. I have one deep ruby colored clematis now and plan to plant more in the future, hopefully a bell shaped one. Alla’s photos of her clematis are amazing!

    Reply
  114. Lisa B on

    The sacrifices her family made…not once, but twice…in buying her a camera so that she may follow her passion…something she was keenly aware of…is truly humbling…a reminder of how truly blessed I am to live in the US and a reminder to not take things for granted.

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  115. Micki Palpant on

    I am moved by the faith she has in herself and in her garden. Thank you for finding her and reminding us that beauty and passion can preserver despite difficult and horrific circumstances.

    Reply
  116. Stephanie Rose on

    Seeds are the very definition of hope, aren’t they? Amid all the conflict, grief, and despair, the story of Alla and her seeds gives me the tiniest bit of hope that I can make it through what I am facing, that we can all make it through whatever we are facing.

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  117. Lori S. on

    This story demonstrates that the combination of strength and nature’s beauty is unstoppable.

    Reply
  118. Katelyn Wissinger on

    I think what impacted me most about Alla and her story was her ability to not let her situation define her. Instead of dwelling on all the negatives because of the Ukrainian war and the fact that there was no one else to provide for her and her family, she took action. Not only that but, she didn’t let the war stop her from enjoying being in the garden and her love of clematis. She was able to use her talent and love for the flowers to better her situation. Even though she’s dealing with blackouts and other issues, she still has the time to bring joy to other people’s lives. SO inspiring!

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  119. Jude on

    I have always found “the garden” to be a place of refuge. I am ashamed that I complain about the music from local breweries invading my garden space. Yet here is Alla having air raid sirens invading hers. I am humbled.
    A realistic view of the symbiotic resilience of plants and the human spirit, thank you Alla and Floret.

    Reply
  120. Vicki on

    I always love stories about gardeners who love there gardens, and it’s very obvious how much Alla loves her garden. I am also touched that her garden is from her grandfather. I’ve always loved clematis, so I am happy to see so many varieties she grows. I look forward to getting some of her seeds and starting some of her plants, continuing the journey.

    Reply
  121. Kylee on

    Such a beautiful story and garden – brought tears to my eyes! Thank you for creating beauty!

    Reply
  122. Deb Moss on

    One of her last comments about gardeners not knowing they could plant from seeds is just amazing to me. Her gardens are so beautiful. I love the way her garden looks so “wild”. I plant my flower gardens by seed and then throwing the dead heads in different areas so they will hopefully grow! Sometimes that works sometimes it doesn’t!

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  123. Debby Zahn on

    I am reminded of the long held idea that gardens live only as long as their gardeners. Alla is reminded daily of her own fragility and the fragility of her garden, but she persists and thrives; buoyed by the visual delight and emotional return her garden provides. This resonates deeply with me, as I have felt nurtured and supported when working in my own gardens.

    Reply
  124. Amelia Hefferlin on

    I love her photography and passion for gardening and beauty and I love that folks bought all the seeds she has right now! I’ll check back with her catalogs periodically. Thanks for sharing her story and providing a number of ways to support her and her family!

    Reply
  125. Cathy on

    Her positivity and passion are so inspiring. Thank you for sharing her story.

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  126. Susie on

    Alla’s love for her garden and her positive attitude are inspirational ❤️

    Reply
  127. Ann S on

    Just WOW! So much to appreciate in this story and I hope her garden continues to be a source of love and joy during the difficult war times they are experiencing! Bless Vitaly’s heart for encouraging her to get a better camera! I think what stood out to me most is the scope of her garden and work and she said that she doesn’t even live where the garden is located! THAT is dedication and passion.

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  128. Jeanie Roscher on

    Flowers bring so much peace and beauty into the world – two things that are severely lacking in wartime Ukraine. I am so impressed by Alla’s commitment to continue to garden, and continue to plant seeds and create beauty in her war-torn country. It shows such bravery and optimism! Such hope for the future. For what is a world without gardens, without flowers, without hope? May her garden continue to heal her heart, and bring her solace in times of such desperate struggle. I am telling everyone I know about Alla. She is a beautiful soul. The world needs more Allas!

    Reply
  129. Kerri Coleman on

    Alla and her journey is so incredibly inspiring to read. Her love for all things good and peaceful, rare and unique makes me want to do more. Thank you for connecting all of us with Alla. So bummed to have missed the seed sale. Maybe I stand a chance here. Safe and healthy holiday wishes now and in the Mew year.

    Reply
  130. Heather on

    I’m touched by this story & how it demonstrates the power of gardening to get us through hard times. We also find connection to one another through sharing our passion for plants, the earth & one another!

    Reply
  131. Pat Phillips on

    The beauty of any generational garden is moving but what Alla has done in a time of necessity is beyond words. Many of us have been in situations of dispair,where as in Alla’s documentary she cried and shut down for days, until she came up with a possible solution of how she could support her extended family through her love of the garden. Blessings Alla and family.❤️

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  132. Hunter S on

    There are no words. Thank you for bringing her story to us <3

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  133. Angie on

    I’ve often thought about the healing powers of nature and the joy of wild and free gardens. Imagining Alla embraced in the cocoon of her beautiful garden with air alert sirens never too far away make my heart ache while fill with hope at the same time. What a powerful and lovely woman! What a powerful and lovely story. Thank you Alla and thank you Erin!

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  134. Leclerc Isabelle on

    Her resilience and love of gardening despite the horror of the war.

    Reply
  135. Stephanie Greenall on

    All of Alla’s story is inspiring! Her beautiful garden, filled with treasures planted by her ancestors and so many new species she is nurturing, brings her pleasure, peace and hope in the middle of the terror of war. She supports and cares for her family and still finds the time and energy to share her journey and knowledge with people all around the world. She is the inspiration. Thank you for sharing her story.

    Reply
  136. Shawna on

    I’ve watched the documentary twice now as she is very inspiring in her garden and with her family. I love how she cares for her dear granny. I look forward to buying her book as well. Thank you for sharing her story with us!

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  137. Mindy on

    Wow. Everything about her story is inspiring. I’m looking forward to watching the video.

    Reply
  138. Natalie Bussiere on

    I was so impressed by Alla’s strong dedication to her family and how hard she has worked to make sure that her gardens can support them. Her long hours and hard work are helping to create beauty in the world, during a dark time. Her love of flowers since early childhood is a bright light in this world and the clematis that she cultivates are magnificent. Courage dear Alla, for better days ahead.

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  139. Alinna S on

    The resilience of the human spirit is truly amazing, and the power of growing things is so healing.

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  140. Jo Ann Lowe on

    The most moving was how Alla summed it up in her own beautiful words:
    “ Growing from seeds is a journey that involves patience and care, and there is so much joy in witnessing life unfold.”

    It simply says it all!

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  141. Jo Ann Lowe on

    The most moving was how Alla summed it up in her own beautiful words:
    “ Growing from seeds is a journey that involves patience and care, and there is so much joy in witnessing life unfold.”

    It’s simply says it all!

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  142. Coco on

    Alla shares what I imagine to be a common thread of gardeners and farmers around the world: hope for more peace and beauty in the world.
    Myself, a gardener, feel that each time I plant a seed it is a hope and a wish for the future. Though I can see this commonality, I also ache when imagining gardening in a country under attack.
    For Alla to persist with growing and tending her garden with all the challenges that arise in Ukraine is a testament to her love and dedication.

    Reply
  143. Ingrid Thornton on

    I am so impressed by Anna’s journey, the power of following her love of plants, clematis in particular, to create those many opportunities for growth that popped up one after the other. Just like every new seedling she nutured, her knowledge and joy were nutured, and grew, and helped her continue despite such hardship. Anna is a wonderful communicator and teacher for all of us.

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  144. Kia V on

    Alla, I love how you are not striving for perfection in your garden, and you enjoy that gardening takes patience and care. In the Western world, we have moved away from these ideas within nature, yet they are so important for our own care as individuals, and as a community. May you garden in peace.

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  145. Keeley on

    Alla shows so much heart and passion for something she loves so much that even through war, she continues her love for the beauty of flowers. I never realized how many clematis there are outside of the few you see at the hardware store. I’m in awe of Alla’s dedication to sharing these amazing species of flower with the world.

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  146. Cheri Hoffman on

    I enjoyed learning about Alla and her garden. It brought life to me of a country so far away. I pray God will end the war and peaceful life can return to Alla and her countrymen. I too think clematis are beautiful!

    Reply
  147. Cate Mawson on

    Thank you for producing the lovely documentary about Alla. My take-away ….I was inspired by her persistence, bravery and family commitment. She didn’t leave her town, even though most residents did, because she needed to stay and take care of her grandma. She is the main wage earner for her family so she found a way to be able to sell seeds from her beautiful flowers. Also, she didn’t have her own garden but used space at her Grandma’s and her mother-in-law’s. I agree with Alla, the clematis seeds look very beautiful 😊

    Reply
  148. Mindy Soares on

    I love that Alla’s husband Vitaly encouraged her to get a better/newer camera and she was dedicated to learning how to use it best and succeeded! And now her followers are interested in her doing a flower photography course! Thank you for sharing your story Alla!

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  149. Meredith Brown on

    The part that impacted me the most was how she had to take out a loan to buy a camera. And was then longing for those peaceful days to return. It’s easy to take our luxury life style in the west for granted.

    Reply
  150. Joy Magwood on

    Such an inspiring story and witness to the resilience of the human spirit, bringing beauty, light and hope into a dark place. We long for peace in this world. This story is such a testimony to what one person can do to make a positive difference. What a beautiful gift this story is.
    THANK YOU!

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  151. Kate on

    The respite that gardening provides in the midst of chaos and war. And yet with the dark times, her voice is full of hope and promise about gardening in the future.

    Reply
  152. Maria P Folch on

    I was moved by her story and resilience. Planting in such conditions takes a lot of determination and love for her craft. I thank her for keeping those rare seeds going. I pray the good Lord brings peace to her region so she and other Ukrainians get to enjoy a more peaceful environment. I can’t wait to read her book and plant some clematis on my garden. 🎄🌸

    Reply
  153. Kirsten on

    To be able to continue gardening, to grow hope and beauty, during war is inspiring. I’m looking forward to watching the documentary this weekend after reading this interview. Thank you for sharing Alla’s story.

    Reply
  154. Tricia Farrar on

    I found it interesting that sowing seeds was not something that was the norm. She is inspiring others around her in her community to grow from seed. She is finding the joy amongst the hardships in the little things like a seed that has life waiting to happen.
    Thank you for passing your knowledge on to others.
    Prayers for you & your family.

    Reply
  155. Chris Sinner on

    Alla is a light in the darkness of war and turmoil. I am humbled by her tenacity to keep her garden going amidst the danger and also the heavy responsibility of caregiving for family. Her beautiful photography and knowledge are inspiring. I can feel how gardening brings pleasure and peace to her life and we have that in common. Alla is an inspiration!!!

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  156. Anne on

    I have been captivated by Alla’s story–have shared the documentary with friends, bought her book, and signed up as a supporter on Patreon. In addition,
    supporting Alla and her family as individuals, important as that is, is just part of what I feel I can do. The best thing for Alla (and all Ukranians) is that this war
    must end (and Ukraine must win it) so that she can get on with her life without fear and open the nursery of her dreams. I am asking my Congressional representation
    to priortize US support for Ukraine so that this horrific situation can end as quickly as possible for the wellbeing of all concerned.

    Reply
  157. Stephanie on

    The beauty admidst the darkness of war stands out very loud and clear. I feel it is a triumph of the human spirit and of nature, and a good reminder that even in our darkest times there is always beauty. I am sure that her garden helps and inspires others in the area, too.

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  158. Jeanne on

    I admire Alla’s perseverance in not just gardening, but every day living. To be faced with such challenges and to continue with beauty and the fact that she shares so generously with others is a token to her kindness and her beauty within.

    Reply
  159. Cynthia on

    Gardening to reduce stress. Lovely story.

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  160. Susan Rode on

    Alla reminds us of how privileged we are to live in a country without war within its borders . I think all gardeners find truth in her world of healing amongst the protection of her garden. We are so fortunate she is willing to open her world to us with such authenticity and love despite the daily challenges she faces. There really are no words that can speak to the depth of this woman and what she has created even in the most dire of circumstances. I am so grateful to her, her family and to you Erin…for sharing her story with the world

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  161. Leslie on

    I’m inspired by her ability to continue growing and sharing her story during the war. I also love that she said getting her really fancy camera was overwhelming at first but she put in the effort and made it work. I’ve been following her on Instagram since the beginning of the war so it’ll be nice to watch the documentary. Thank you Alla and Floret

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  162. Joy Stotts on

    I am amazed at Alla’s inner peace and steadfastness. I’m so thankful she has her beautiful garden to bring her joy.

    Reply
  163. Anna on

    You had me at seed pods! I love funky and whimsical touches in my flower arrangements. My favorites include aquilegia and geum triflorum (Columbine and prairie smoke) and it looks like I will need to add clematis to the list!

    Reply
  164. Shelli HATTAN on

    What a gift to see how someone surrounded by the atrocities of war can continue to spread beauty and joy through her arrangements and photography. I hope her educating those around her will lead to restored beauty in Ukraine.

    Reply
  165. Birgit on

    I love the way Alla has woven the old treasures and the new throughout her gardening journey, keeping the original plantings and weaving in the new to create a beautiful, growing story. I love that her garden is carefully tended but also has a bit of wild nature, as if it sprang up of its own accord to create a magical oasis. I love that Alla follows her intuitions and trusts her own ability to nurture and create such a space and to capture it so beautifully on film for the rest of us to enjoy.

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  166. Melissa Longman on

    I love that she chooses to embrace imperfection! So much energy is wasted on trying to make things look perfect instead of focusing on the natural beauty exhibited by each plant as it comes into bloom and goes to seed. Her ability to find beauty and peace amidst war is absolutely remarkable and an example for all of us that sometimes find ourselves taking our freedoms for granted. What an amazing story…

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  167. Daniel leon on

    Her love for growing/gardening, relationship with an interesting plant; compassion dedication that she (they) take to ensure generational enjoyment for all of us!!! What people do matters, love you Alla

    Reply
  168. Tammy Wharton on

    Thank you for sharing Alla’s story. I was moved by watching the documentary so much because for us here in America we can only imagine how scary it must be to live in such fear. This gave us just a glimpse of what life must be like in a war zone. Yet, even with all that fear, the seeds of hope, tranquility, and joy still come shining through. I immediately went to her website but found it sold out, so I was happy that you offered her ebook snd other ways to help. It’s so very kind of you to make the connection for all of us and I am sure Alla really appreciates what you have done to help her family. Thank you.

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  169. Rachel Rodgers on

    I am so struck by this story and my favorite thing to reflect on is her garden in the heart of a hostile environment. It’s just too perfect a symbol/picture of what it is to be in the world sometimes. Beauty is vital for our survival and is a natural truth teller and life giver. We MUST continue to cultivate beauty in the midst of bad news and difficulty. Her commitment to the patient work of overseeing life while she knows she might need to shelter at any moment is incredible.

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  170. wendy on

    Her beautiful garden amongst the chaos of her surroundings… such grace!!

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  171. Carolyn on

    I loved Alla’s story and the insights into such a dedicated flower grower whose circumstances are so much more challenging than most. The element of the story I found most inspirational was the example of the what can be achieved with love and determination but most importantly power of support and encouragement – the encouragement of Alla’s husband to take out the loan for the camera and the support and sponsorship that she has been given by other’s in the flower growing community such as Grace Alexander and yourselves at Floret. It is that idea of paying forward the help and kindness shown to you by others and using it to great something more than you ever believed possible – this is what I will take away from Alla’s story.

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  172. Laura on

    Alla’s story is so incredible and inspiring — thank you so very much for sharing it with the world. It’s always so affirming to recognize the twinkle in the eyes of a fellow gardener as they regard the beauty before them — engaging with and caring for plants and our natural world brings such pleasure and peace at a time when life on this planet feels so challenging. Can’t wait to try growing clematis from seed! ;-)

    Reply
  173. Stephanie on

    To pick just one thing that touched my heart in this interview is difficult. As a photographer myself the fact that obtaining a digital camera was difficult for her was humbling to me. The combination of gardening and photography and sharing that love with the world (literally) is inspiring and to do so under a time of war is heroic. Thank you for sharing her story

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  174. J Z on

    To plant a garden means there is hope for many tomorrows. She shows courage in the midst of a storm.

    Reply
  175. Erica VanGuilder on

    Alla’s positive approach to all aspects of her life is an inspiration. I love her commitment to her garden during such a challenging time with the war all around her. Despite difficulties that are unimaginable, she finds beauty all around her. Alla and her family are in my prayers that they will stay safe and that her work will continue to bless and add beauty to the world.

    Reply
  176. Julie on

    What a beautiful, inspiring story. Just like food, gardening connects us as human beings. It erases borders and makes us realize we are all the same. Thank you for sharing Alla’s story.
    I will definitely create a clematis trial area in my garden.

    Reply
  177. Brenda Miller on

    I’m surprised – although maybe I shouldn’t be – that there wasn’t an established gardening culture there before the war. So much of Europe has such long gardening histories….but like most Americans, I know rather little about general culture of the Eastern European countries.

    I am glad that Floret and the Floret “community” is truly helping at least one war-zone Ukranian in need!

    Reply
  178. Carol Moore on

    I really connect with the intensity of her situation. Working in poor conditions and a war. Yet seeing her dedication to provide an income. She is an amazing woman to endure all she is going through. The passion of taking care of the flowers and knowing how to care for them. They are amazing as well! I can’t imagine how it feels to live in a area where war is going on constantly around you. Beautiful flowers and I have never seen those varieties before. Really touched my heart!

    Reply
  179. Marian Szymanski on

    I was so moved by Alla’s story. I was especially affected by the scene where Alla takes a moment and enjoys cutting some late-blooming flowers to create a gorgeous bouquet. I am in awe of her courage, strength, and her soulful example of how the power of beautiful flowers can overcome, even briefly, the horrors of life in a war zone…

    Reply
  180. Lindsey Noggle on

    Finding beauty in the darkest times…an easy life was never promised. Although these truths can be felt in various ways throughout our lives, this story provides a perspective unknown to many of us. Alla’s commitment and love for her family and garden is an inspiration. It is beautiful how a shared common interest can bring so many people together. Thank you for sharing.

    Reply
  181. Stephanie on

    Alla’s entire journey and story with gardening in wartimes is inspiring. I loved what she said about watching the growth process from seed to flower. It’s also one of my very favorites things to see in my own garden.

    Reply
  182. Mary Combs on

    I love how intertwined her clematis is with the rest of her garden. What a beautiful interview. It shows that one’s passion for beauty lives despite the war.

    Reply
  183. Buttercup on

    I like the way Alla shares the way she blends local traditions of gardening in Ukraine with outside influences from other countries so others can see the possibilities.

    Reply
  184. Janell on

    I’m inspired by Alla’s perseverance and growth in the face of such significant adversity.

    Reply
  185. Debbie Dowling on

    Alla’s positive approach to all aspects of her life is an inspiration. I love her commitment to her garden during such a challenging time with the war all around her. Despite difficulties that are unimaginable, she finds beauty all around her. Alla and her family are in my prayers that they will stay safe and that her work will continue to bless and add beauty to the world.

    Reply
  186. Sandy Amdor on

    Of course her beautiful flowers and photography was very inspiring and wonderful to see and learn about, but I think what impacted me the most was how, even in the most horrible of times when things are frightening and uncertain she found peace and beauty in the natural world of flowers and it keeps her going. Her story is both beautiful and inspiring and I found her to be a beautiful and delightful soul.

    Reply
  187. Jean Healy on

    Thank you for sharing Alla’s story. I am inspired by her positive attitude. I was struck by her simple statement, “when the war finishes”. It made me stop and think that of course the war will finish even though I am sure it doesn’t feel that way to those living in it right now. It is an optimistic way of thinking that I admire.

    Reply
  188. Karen on

    In addition the beautiful flowers and photography, I love that her family and her garden are so interwoven. Multiple generations are interwoven into all that she does. May the persistence of her efforts and the beauty she creates and shares overcome the horrible circumstances of the war.

    Reply
  189. Marci Jacobsen on

    Alla, if you can see this, hang in there! You, your family, and your country are in our thoughts and prayers. Thank you for inspiring us and helping us to appreciate all the beauty. May blue sunny skies find you again really soon.

    I hate that I missed out on buying some of her seeds but I will keep a watch out for the next time.

    Reply
  190. Bev Ferguson on

    I love how she says she can work in the gardens and forget all the horrors of the war. I just can’t even imagine being in her situation.

    Reply
  191. Nancy Jordan on

    I was immediately inspired by Alla’s story when you sent it out originally. Her strength during such a terrible time is incredible and the knowledge she has and is sharing with others is wonderful. I immediately bought her book and seeds and look forward to the challenge of growing her Clematis, it’s fabulous to think that a part of Alla and her country could be growing here in my gardens and farm in Canada. I am really looking forward to the documentary, thank you for once again showing us the impact of flowers!
    Nancy Jordan

    Reply
  192. Allison on

    It’s so strange, I woke up this morning thinking about the native clematis growing in my backyard, wondering if I could save seeds to share with my mom… Then this popped up in my email! How special.

    What I connect to the most about Alla’s story is her love of grandparents & keeping them connected to her in the garden. I was the primary caretaker of both my grandmother’s & I dove into flower gardening during that time to find a safe space for my heart. I have woven them through my home garden now & can always go to the garden when I need to sense their presence <3

    Reply
  193. kelly on

    her beautiful face…yes the story is moving…but her beautiful face expresses so much. its almost as looking thru her eyes…peacefully with love at what brings joy to her heart which she then shares with others. thank-you.

    Reply
  194. Gina Lampman on

    Alla’s garden has saved her in so many ways. She truly loves her flowers and taking care of them while also taking care of her family in three different homes. Her talents are truly amazing.

    Reply
  195. Cathy Groulx on

    Of course the part of the book about growing clematis, along with the wonderful photos is wonderful and helpful for us to know. The part of the story that impacted me the most though was how she got a camera from her father. I also received my first camera from my father, which got me started with photography too- and of course taking shots of family! That brought back many memories.

    Reply
  196. Geetika Patel on

    Her story of hardship and finding beauty in flowers and nature and her photography really speak to me. My mother was also an avid gardener and photographer and I always feel connected to others who appreciate such beauty. Gardening requires patience and effort, and the reward is often fleeting, but so fulfilling.

    Reply
  197. Shirley on

    Alla is such an inspiration. Courage comes in so many forms and works through so many mediums. A flower grower in a war zone. I hear Ukraine and I see war, Alla Is Ukraine and sees a future.

    Reply
  198. Diana on

    Alla has such a wonderful optimistic attitude in the midst of unbelievably hard times for her family. Her spirit soars within her garden.

    Reply
  199. Yvette Henson on

    I am inspired by Alla’s tenacity in continuing her life and love of flowers and her gardens in the midst of war sirens etc. wow. Also, her care for her family. I watched the short film too and wonder how she does it all. I’m so glad you’ve shared her story with us!

    Reply
  200. Cynthia on

    I just love the way she faces adversity! She is doing what she loves in spite of the very real and difficult things going on around her!

    Reply
  201. Jan Inscho on

    All that you can imagine, you can create. I love her undefeated spirit that the beauty of her plants fortifies in her. I will most definitely be going deeper on my current clematis journey thanks to Floret and Allá sharing these stories. It would be an honor to include plants started from seeds from Alla’s garden. What moved me deeply is that Allá is surrounded by the deepest desires of her ancestors expressed in old gates and beloved plants sown long ago. She dives into the deep well of stewardship for these things, these spirits and these plants. An inspiration.

    Reply
  202. Leanne Pawluk on

    Alla’s story was truly one of beauty, inspiration, and resilience. Being the daughter of Ukrainian parents who immigrated to Canada in the 1940s when my dad was only 3, I have relatives all over Ukraine who are finding beauty and hope among darkness and fear. Like Alla, I too have a peony in my backyard that was planted by my grandmother. And even under the harshest Canadian winter conditions, it sprouts and blooms every spring to show off its radiant beauty all summer long. Alla’s love of flowers is universal and something we can connect and share even though we are on the other side of the world. Thank-you for sharing her story.

    Reply
  203. LeeAnne on

    I live on a small farm on the west coast of British Columbia, Canada and I believe that seed saving is a brave, rebellious and profoundly important act in this world of Monsanto and Bayer and government and for profit, momo culture. We all need to do our part, no matter how small to grow what we can and learn about saving and sharing seed.
    My Grandfather was from the ukraine and Alla is an inspiration to me!

    Reply
  204. Karen Hill Frost on

    Clematis beauty amidst a war. I never knew there were so many varieties of Clematis. I particularly like the bell shaped flowers. Prayers that the garden remains untouched from the horrors of a war-torn country.

    Reply
  205. April on

    It would be so easy in this situation to become despondent, to throw your hands up and just crawl in a hole wishing for it all to be over.

    My favorite part is Alla is standing her ground, loving her ground & family in a terrifying situation, coming right on the heels of a world-wide pandemic.

    THIS is the power of gardening. Continual beauty and hope that feeds our souls and radiates in every direction to impact our friends and neighbors. Hurrah, Alla🌷

    Reply
  206. Jess on

    Thank you so much for sharing Alla’s story! I found so much of it inspiring, but especially the history of her garden and her hopes for the community around her. Gardening is such a beautiful way to connect and I’m inspired by how she’s connected with those around her both in her community and around the world.

    Reply
  207. Nicole Dillon on

    This quote is incredibly impactful and encouraging. “You can do anything when you have a strict aim and are inspired!” Thank you.

    Reply
  208. Jennifer on

    Also, her choice of gratitude, joy and hope in the face of life in a war zone … is moving and reassuring. She is a light.

    Reply
  209. Rachel on

    Alla show such resilience….
    In the midst of war—-safety, financial struggle, caring for others, discouragement—she carries on. I tend to give up so easily, but reading her story strengthens me. It shows that we were created to be caretakers of the earth even in the middle of chaos.

    Reply
  210. Alison Dowd on

    Resilience and beauty – not only in her flowers but in her spirit most of all!

    Reply
  211. Jillian Galloway on

    That part of Alla’s sorry that impacted me the most is honestly just how she, as an average person, is living through the war. We don’t get many personal stories. And to have her working on a garden, about the total opposite of the destruction of war, is a brain bender.

    Reply
  212. Liz on

    The determination and grit to continue to bring forth beauty in the midst of chaos. What a story of resilience and beauty.

    Reply
  213. Ali News on

    What a story, to still be able to look at the beauty in the world with all the chaos around her, a true inspiration

    Reply
  214. Jennifer on

    Thank you for sharing Alla’s wonderful story. Her persistence and enthusiasm are contagious and inspiring. Her patience and love of gardening shone through her words. I also love the connection her garden and plants has to her family.

    Reply
  215. Beccy on

    I am so thankful and inspired that Alla is choosing beauty, choosing to stay snd take care of her family, choosing investing in life snd the future, choosing to create and build in the midst of all the hard and destruction around her. It demonstrates so much courage and fortitude!

    Reply
  216. Angie W on

    I was inspired by Allas commitment to continuing to garden in a time of war. I had no idea that clematis have so many varieties and I love the fact that she is working so hard to preserve them. What a truly inspiring story.

    Reply
  217. Maria Bury on

    I love how Alla’s inspiration from her father and grandmother has given her great joy and the will to become an amazing gardener and photographer. Her kindness and generosity to share her love of gardening during such a hard time is so inspiring. I am grateful that she cares to share.

    Reply
  218. Brenda on

    Alla’s strength through her gardens is such an inspiration for all. Her wealth of knowledge is incredible looking forward to watching her gardens grow via instagram .

    Reply
  219. Melanie on

    Her earthy, realistic, and non-perfect approach is inspiring. I now need more clematis in my space!!

    Thank you, Alla

    Reply
  220. Megan on

    I’m amazed by her tenacity and strength to continue to start beautiful flowers amongst a war and taking care of her family members. Inspiring!

    Reply
  221. Mischa Shoe on

    Such a story of inspiration and human determination to persevere! To keep beauty alive in a war torn country and to share love, hope, and life. I love Alla’s story and her flowers are amazing!! I would be so honored to have flowers from her garden to add to mine. I had no idea of all the varieties of Clematis… and will be definitely adding them to my garden!

    Reply
  222. Sandra Abalos on

    I am inspired by Alla”s story to persevere in my quest to garden. What an amazing woman who continues to follow her passion in the midst of strife & struggle. Alla is a Gardening Goddess!

    Reply
  223. Kerry Onree on

    That I learned even more from this shared story that the world of gardening is equated with the word peace, literally & figuratively.

    Reply
  224. Kit Tucker Sullivan on

    I look forward to watching the film. Thank you for sharing this special story. I enjoyed learning more about clematis and how to use them in arrangements.

    Reply
  225. Debbie Raggio on

    I am insired by her dedication. Beautiful flowers!

    Reply
  226. Mary Saltis on

    I most love that it doesn’t have to be perfect. She doesn’t even want it to be “perfect”. That speaks volumes to me. It reminds me of my mom and makes my heart so happy.
    Thank you for this.

    Reply
  227. Sharon on

    What made me cry was her willingness to carry on and love her flowers and harvest
    her seeds in spite of the difficulties of being in an active war zone. Creating beauty and value
    against almost insurmountable odds. Her love and caretaking of her elderly relatives warmed my heart.

    Reply
  228. Deb Bieschke on

    Thank you for sharing her with us. I look forward to watching the film and finding her on Instagram.
    ☮️💟
    Deb

    Reply
  229. Ellen Dugan on

    What an inspiration! – dedication to family, country and beauty!

    Reply
  230. cherie on

    So lovely to connect through gardening! I especially loved that she saved her grandmother’s peonies! I cannot imagine a generational garden in my life – what a beautiful gift!

    Reply
  231. Brandi Moebius on

    I just love how Erin actually takes the time to read other Gardener’s stories. And share the spotlight. This is why you’re so successful. I love Allas story and enjoyed reading about saving the seeds. Great information! Thank you both for sharing

    Reply
  232. Megan Hover on

    I love that gardening brings her peace and drowns out the sounds of war. I love that she brought her great grandmothers peonies back to life

    Reply
  233. Sylvie Watanabe on

    Alla’s story moved me to the core. It made me think of the book, Defiant Gardens, which is about soldiers cultivating gardens on the frontlines in World War I. They did this for the food, but also to bring life and beauty into the killing fields. Alla’s story is so moving and inspiring in these often dark times because, like those soldiers, and before our eyes, she shows us that gardening is an affirmation of life, grounded in love. She shows us that beauty is not a luxury, but a necessity to nourish and sustain what is most human in us. Thankyou, Alla.

    Reply
  234. Dana Strouse on

    Alla’s kindness, compassion and positive outlook despite her circumstances is inspiring as is her passion for learning and gardening.

    Reply
  235. Bernadette Varner on

    Loved watching your story Alla – a reminder that there can always be peace amidst the storm and beauty instead of ashes

    Reply
  236. Chelsea on

    I love that you kept up a tradition of the garden started by your great grandparents and wanted to keep that alive and blooming!

    Reply
  237. Linda Jones on

    I admire Ella for seeing beauty in not only the clematis blooms, but the beauty in the seedheads as well.She focuses on the natural beauty around her and finds joy in nature despite the circumstances in her country.

    Reply
  238. Kristen H on

    I am most impacted by Alla’s lifelong love of flowers and her devotion to her work, no matter what the conditions are. Such a beautiful story – my heart truly goes out to her and her family. I’m so grateful to have seen a glimpse into everyday life in the midst of war and how it continues to impact civilians…and their resiliency is truly inspiring. Wishing you all the best, Alla! 🌸

    Reply
  239. Laurie Cousart on

    Wow – such a love of flowers and such grace and determination in the face of such challenges. Flowers connect us all

    Reply
  240. Jodie Nuber on

    Alla’s entire story is truly inspirational, I can’t imagine her life. Gardening is in some of our souls, it just is! You can tell gardening and being outdoors is a huge part of her journey through life. Alla’s instructions on what to do with the seeds is beyond my expertise and extremely interesting. Wishing Alla and her family peace on this earth, some day.

    Reply
  241. Beth Sparrow on

    Alla is very inspiring. I love clematis and look forward to learning more through her. Most inspiring to me was the thought of her gardening within a war zone. I can’t even wrap my mind around that reality. I hope for her continued safety.

    Reply
  242. LORI M BLIKRE on

    The rabbits in my garden seems like an inconsequential problem compared to what Alla faces each day. This interview and the documentary put my problems in the proper perspective. Alla, I admire your tenacity and positivity….and I look forward to receiving my seeds and growing a piece of your garden in mine.

    Reply
  243. Denise on

    A beautiful and inspiring story. I appreciate Alla’s compassion and drive to learn and share her findings and beautiful photos. 💜

    Reply
  244. Marcela on

    This interview is beautiful. Alla is so I inspirational, love seeing and I started watching Alla’s post because we have 2 clematis that came with our house, 30 years ago, and seems like they are getting weaker and not sure what to do next. Erin, you are also an inspiration, thanks for everyone you do.

    Reply
  245. Sue C on

    Alla is such an inspiration to be tending her garden, caring for elderly loved ones and just trying to lead a normal life all while living in a warzone. What an amazing and touching story! Thank you Erin for sharing it with us.

    Reply
  246. Lena on

    Honestly, she had me as soon as she entered the gates to her granny’s and said, “Everyday with her is a treasure.” That sentiment…that reverence, gratitude and appreciation for what’s really important in life translates to how she gardens.

    Reply
  247. Phoebe on

    The joy and peace Alla got from her garden is so lovely to read about. Thank you for sharing her words with us!

    Reply
  248. Allyson on

    I love the beauty and hope in this story!

    Reply
  249. Kristine Hill on

    Erin I started following Alla a while ago when you first mentioned her seeds in a post on how you wanted to grow a different variety of clematis. What an amazing Soul with the love of flowers just like you Erin !!! God bless you Alla and family! ♥️🙏

    Reply
  250. Ali B on

    Wow, I love how Alla finds beauty in her garden and flowers during such dark and difficult days. Her grit and determination are such an inspiration. Wishing for peace.

    Reply
  251. Halina on

    I admire Alla’s strength and perseverance in this horrible time of war. I grew up in Poland under the Russian regime and share Alla’s passion for gardening, beauty of nature and desire to preserve it all the while trying to survive and not lose hope. I’m happy that Alla is able to not only cling to her sanity but also turn her passion into means of supporting her family. The clematis’ variety she’s growing is beyond beautiful! I live in Canada now and would love to grow these seeds into a small slice of Eastern Europe on the coast of British Columbia. Slava Ukrainie!

    Reply
  252. Theresa on

    We take so much for granted! I have been so blessed by you sharing Alla’s story. What a genuinely beautiful spirit she has. I can’t help but wonder how many hundreds and thousands of others are struggling each day to find a way to carry on in those horrific conditions of war. I love the simplicity of how her garden is providing life on many levels. And how her intricate care is nourishing to her plants, her family, and even those of us who are far away. I pray a blessing for Alla and her family, and all the people of Ukraine.

    Reply
  253. Wendy Bigler on

    I watched your documentary about Alla. What a beautiful, kind soul who chooses to find joy and pluck from her garden flowers of joy in the middle of chaos. What a light she truly is, and inspiration. Thank you for sharing.

    Reply
  254. Marsha McCreary on

    I started following Alla on Instagram after Erin shared about her. I love seeing all her beautiful pictures & beyond excited to plant some of her seeds this coming Spring.
    Alla’s determination despite the war and evident love for her family is so inspiring! Love the documentary!
    Thank you for sharing her story!

    Reply
  255. Allison on

    Alla is such a beautiful person inside and outside. Her kindness knows no boundaries.

    Reply
  256. Kristi Torgrimson on

    Alla’s story is beyond inspiring, overcoming so many challenges to find and share the beauty of her garden with the world through photography, seeds and her deep knowledge of what she grows. I was amazed to find that she, like myself, is also growing some beautiful and unusual peonies from seed and cannot wait to see if she has more peony seed stock next season. I cannot wait to dig into her ebook.

    Reply
  257. Brenda Ruckstuhl on

    I am so inspired by Alla and her love for gardens and the need to keep rare plants growing. Wishing her all the best and so happy to become a part of her community

    Reply
  258. Kim on

    I started following Alla months ago on IG when Erin first started sharing about her. I loved learning about the different types of clematis that I didn’t know about. They are so beautiful! I also love Alla’s perseverance, dedication and love for her family. That character quality shines through in everything that she does. If only she realized that even though she doesn’t feel that she has much, she really has the world. But I think that deep down, she knows that. I loved the documentary! Thank you for taking the time to share her story!

    Reply
  259. joy on

    Thank you for sharing Alla and her story with us. What a lovely, generous, optimistic and inspiring person! I’m certain many of us have referred to our gardens as our happy place – a place to go to escape the world and lose ourselves for a bit. I was so moved to read her words “It’s an oasis of serenity and positive emotions in a desert of hostilities and missile attacks. When I work in the garden…I forget for a while all the horrors of the war in which we live. ” I can only imagine what it’s like for her and her family living in the midst of such terrible conditions. She has created a beautiful garden and her photos are exquisite. I am so grateful she has a lovely place to go for a respite. I will keep her and her family in my thoughts.

    Reply
  260. Connie on

    Alla is a great inspiration as an individual and a gardener. Her daily challenges are beyond imagination and yet she has found a way to share her joy and passion for gardening to help her family. Her seeds are finding their way around the world to spread the beauty and joy she has found with other gardeners. A day will come when this beauty is shared by many. This is one of the great pleasures of plants and gardens–sharing the seeds, plants, blooms, & fruits with others and making them smile. In spite of the harshness of reality, the beauty of a garden is universally uplifting and healing. Thank you for you inspiration, Alla.

    Reply
  261. Jennifer Brennan on

    I love Alla’s passion for plants! Falling in love with a camera and learning how to use the details is an inspiration. I also have a 105 mm macro lens that I feel I could not live without; and, feel that it is ALL that I need. Her story hits too close to home for me. I am not living in a war zone, though. Her words at the end of the video on the Floret Flower Farm You Tube page will never leave my heart! “Bent but not broken”!
    Thank you, Floret, for sharing her story and her work. The Angels are smiling on you. And, may they keep protecting Alla, her family and her garden!

    Reply
  262. Lee Jenkins on

    I know from hardships i’ve experienced at various points in my life, how healing working in the garden with flowers can be. But Alla takes this to an entirely different level. Its as though she holds the seeds of life, or the energy for continuation of Ukraine within her garden. Though she’s not a soldier, she has that same spirit of not giving up, no matter what. Her love of her heritage, her family, and flowers come together in one fiercely committed effort to continue propagating beauty, no matter what the war brings. It’s a level of commitment we don’t see that often. Her commitment to her husband, granny and mother-in-law is the same commitment she gives to her garden. To be there thru thick and thin. To help her people and her special places grow and thrive. It’s quite astounding.

    Reply
  263. Rebecca Yan on

    She is blooming in such hard ground. I am so touched by her kindness and generosity when she could be bitter and forlorn.

    Reply
  264. Brandi Reitsma on

    Simply put what I loved was her smile. Amongst war and financial difficulties she is rising above it all with her positivity. Her dedication to her beautiful garden and her love and support for her family is incredible. Thank you Erin for sharing her!!!

    Reply
  265. Cara Lefevre on

    This is such an incredible heartfelt story. Honestly her strength and perserverence for her family, against all odds. And she’s here teaching us to grow better and try something new. I can’t wait to read the book.

    Reply
  266. Angela Bassett on

    Another beautiful example of how healing gardening and gardens can be. I love it! As she and her neighbors work through the healing and restoring process when the war ends, they will need pioneers like Alla for inspiration. Thank you for sharing her story with us and bring it to light!!! Amazing

    Reply
  267. Laura Davidson on

    The part of Alla’s story that impacted me the most is her resilience. Her ability to continue to focus on the positive, the beauty of flowers and the things she can do to better her life and the lives of her loved ones, all in the midst of war, is truly inspiring!

    Reply
  268. Theresa K on

    What I found to be inspiring was the fact that Alla juggles gardening and caregiving for not 1 person, but 2! Her ability to remain calm and positive in the situation she finds herself in is insanely impressive.

    Reply
  269. Charlene Austin on

    I was in awe watching the documentary. She is so sweet and I cannot imagine what she endures day to day living amongst the war. It struck me how with so very little she has made the most peaceful environment for herself but that even more importantly it is a necessity for their survival. We all have so very much we can learn from Alla. I wish her all the best and will think of her often.

    Reply
  270. Steph Souchak on

    This story is amazing! What struck me most is Alla’s love and the patience involved in creating this garden from a lot of seed growing. I also especially love the part about the time and thoughtful investment in a digital camera to be able to take better and more beautiful pictures of her garden and flower arrangements. Too many people want instant gratification but Alla has an enviable amount of patience with gardening and other things in life. I’m don’t know anyone who has grown a pine tree from seed! Or who would go through the multi step process she explains for growing clematis from seed. Many Americans can learn life lessons from her in patience and persistence.

    Reply
  271. Jennifer on

    I have been watching the trailer/documentary over a few days, and thinking about Alla’s story. Her beauty, the beauty of her heart that shines through in her perspective, her love of her family, her care towards the responsibility of her life, and the positive way she chooses. It touches my heart, and encourages me in the same path.

    Reply
  272. Eileen on

    So much love for family and her garden. I was deeply touched by her resilience, finding the beauty in her garden in such a difficult time.
    Thank you Erin for bringing her into our homes and letting us all know how we can help.

    Reply
  273. Jane Powell on

    What resonated with me the most is her ability and tenacity to continue her gardening dreams amongst so much adversity! Alla is definitely an inspiration to me to stop blaming circumstances for getting in the way of my dreams and just keep taking steps forward!!! I also did not know that there were bushy forms of clematis…I’m very excited to add some to my gardens! Thank you Erin for shining a much deserved light on Alla and her family…praying for peace and strength for all of them .

    Reply
  274. Heidi Schaffer on

    I sit here in my quiet comfortable living room sipping my morning coffee. Alla’s life and circumstances are something so different from my own that it’s hard for me to fully grasp. Peace and comfort most often come to those in their gardens, but to find that serenity among air alerts and missile attacks is just unbelievable. Alla’s internal strength is something to be admired. To not only find courage to continue to live and do what brings her joy amongst an ugly world, but to bringing beauty, knowledge and happiness to others in such a difficult time truly blows me away.

    Reply
  275. Erin Stewart on

    I love that so much of her garden honors her family in one way or another. It’s not new and shiny. It’s old and filled with stories!!!

    Reply
  276. Suzie Kunderman on

    I was so happy you documented Alla’s efforts to garden in a horrendous atmosphere. I was so inspired, I bought some seeds and her e book, but so many seeds were sold out! I understand her challenges, but can’t comprehend living much less gardening in such extreme conditions. I will never again complain of the pests, deer, or even drought challenges I am facing here in Missouri. I volunteer at a wildlife preserve called Kress Farm Garden Preserve and do a lot of cuttings and seed grown plants for our big fundraiser in the spring, a plant sale. I have told everyone I know about Floret and Alla, and can not stress to all of them that here in the US we are living in paradise. Thank you so much for the story. Hoping for Peace on Earth and of course, all the plants to produce viable seeds! Happy Holidays

    Reply
  277. Kathleen on

    What struck me the most about Alla’s story is that even in the midst of war, her garden is a peaceful escape for her. Stepping into the garden is so healing for me and so many people I know but in hearing Alla’s story I feel like I have underestimated just how healing the garden really can be. I can’t even begin to understand how it feels to be living through war and the fact that the garden is still a symbol of tranquility is quite profound.

    Reply
  278. Peggy, Connelly on

    I was deeply touched in her interview when the snow had covered her bamboo, and it was pressed to the ground, and she said she was like that bamboo press to the ground, but not broken. It is clear her love of gardening feeds her soul. Her dedication to and love for her garden is equal to her dedication to and love for her family and to all of their survival.
    The tenderness and care you see as she harvested each seed was that same tenderness and care you saw in her love for her grandmother. Thank you for sharing her story. I will share this with my sisters and we will find a way to support Alla. I’m still in bed right now that be.

    Reply
  279. Brenda on

    Beautiful story. I love the theme of the enduring nature of gardening- through the generations and through war and even through wet springs. Alla’s statement about having a “strict aim and being inspired” really resonated with me. And ultimately plants give us the inspiration- they have a strict aim to grow, flourish and produce seed for the next generation, ensuring life will continue, in all its imperfections and beauty.

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  280. Connie Begger on

    This is such an inspiring story. Alla’s perseverance is amazing, and creating her seed business to support her loved ones during this war is a testament of her spirit. I could only hope to be as resilient if faced with her circumstances. She is a true inspiration to continue gardening and sending out beauty into the world while dealing with air raid sirens, no heat and ill family members needing her help. My prayers are with Alla and her family.

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  281. Michelle Descoteaux on

    The many hardships in her life but she seems to always have a smile on her face. Such a heart warming story. Thank you for sharing her story. I hope she gets much support.

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  282. Bekah Crawford on

    The “hard” that Alla is facing now is beyond anything I’ve experienced. It really struck me that we can all strive to do what she’s doing- find beauty in the hard, and help others find the beauty too. What an inspiration she is!
    And thanks Erin for sharing her amazing story. Much encouragement headed her way and your way- From Kentucky.

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  283. Jeannie on

    What I found so lovely about Alla’s story is how she remains so dedicated to her Grandmother. I loved seeing her Grandma at the end of the film, in the window looking out at Alla in the garden, and thinking about how much history she has seen through that window. I wish them all peace in the New Year.

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  284. Cindy McCormick on

    I am so impressed that Alla is able to continue to find peace and enjoyment in her garden under all the stressful conditions that she is living in. I suppose it no different than the rest of us who find solace in our gardens especially when we are stressed. Her stress is just a lot bigger. I love the organized wildness of her garden! She is a gardener after my own heart.

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  285. Linda McGinley on

    I love the black and white photo of Alla at a young age holding a flower. Her passion for growing flowers started early and has continued despite all the hardships she is currently facing. I hope Alla knows her contribution to the flower world. What she is doing is not in vain. Thank you for shedding a light on her world.

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  286. Kathleen + Hollywood 🐾 on

    Alla has a deep respect for mankind & nature, she does not waiver . I love how she shares so freely while totally honoring her personal life. It was fabulous the film captured her life dreams & hope; her joyful, bubbly & playful spirit shared with her husband before his illness and the war. We know of her resilience but we also got to know her true soul.

    I would love to add her clematis flowers to my iris garden which faces the road for everyone to see. Our “Hammock Garden” has been renamed the “Alla Garden” and we will always think of Vitaliy + Alla resting in our hammocks together enjoying the hummingbirds feasting on the clematis and honeysuckle flowers!
    🦋🌻

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  287. Sharon Barton on

    It’s amazing to think of the joy and the peace that her garden brings to her in the middle of such turmoil from the war. Heartwarming

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  288. Isabella on

    I love this quote from Alla, “My bamboo grove is pressed to the ground by the snow. It is lying on the ground. And, you know, while I was walking along my bamboo grove, I was thinking that right in the moment, I’m just like these bamboo, pressed, but unbroken.” This part of Alla inspires me the most, choosing not to live in fear, to hide away, but to live life the fullest she can, despite what may come tomorrow. Bending but unbroken.

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  289. Jill on

    Thank you Alla and Team Floret for sharing such an inspiring story. What impacted me and and constant reminder to myself is that a garden is imperfect. Alla asking herself if she would like it to be perfect and her answer was no. A reminder to myself that nothing is perfect.

    A garden is often such a wonderful place to find refuge. Flowers bring peace,

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  290. Shari on

    Alla’s resilience astounds me! That she can bring such beauty into the world and then share it with us all is a testament to a strength and determination that is heartwarming.
    Thank you Erin for sharing her story.

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  291. Liz H on

    Her explanation about growing clematis is demystifying! Though half a world away, and in a completely different life situation, we still have flowers to talk about.

    Thank you Floret for sharing her story!

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  292. Brooke on

    “I can say that my garden is a paradise for me. It’s an oasis of serenity and positive emotions in a desert of hostilities and missile attacks. When I work in the garden and there are no terrible air alert sounds, I forget for a while all the horrors of the war in which we live.” I love this statement! I feel this is what most gardeners hope to achieve – a place of paradise where one can escape and just enjoy the beauty surrounding them. To have that calming place to retreat too is so imperative for most people to work through whatever emotions (good and bad) they are going through without all the interruptions from society and the world around us.

    I also love her take on clematis in cut bouquets. It was never really something I considered, but I love the idea of what to pair with them.

    She is truly and inspiration and a gem! Flowers and people around the world thank her!

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  293. Cheryl Ann on

    Alla represents the best of us, at the worst of what humanity has wrought. Thank you for allowing us this glimpse of her life in the gardens, and the opportunity to support her efforts.

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  294. Jocelyn Milton on

    I love that for Alla, her garden is both her peace as well as her hope for the future in the midst of war. It is a place of solace, focus, inspiration, dedication, moments of beauty, joy, and a physical demonstration of Alla’s firm belief/faith that not only will the future bring an end to war, but life, even in great challenge and adversity, is still worth living to the fullest in every moment along the way.

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  295. katy Giffault on

    Oh I have been following her for quite some time on Instagram
    and always worry when she doesn’t post that they are not safe.
    Two things resonate so much
    :1)how she finds respite in the garden with war all around her
    2) how she cares for her mother in law and grandmother
    I don’t have paypal so i would love to win seeds
    I am also so grateful you made the movie
    stunning!!/

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  296. Tiffany Brown on

    I have been very moved by this endeavor you have taken on Erin to bring light to Alla’s world. Using your platform to bring awareness to her story and sharing it with us all is one of the best things you can do. Her life, passion and will to carry on in such a trying time is also so admirable. I would be honored to grow her clematis in my garden. Thank you for inspiring us once again!

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  297. Anastasia pothoven on

    I am so blessed to read of your story and your deep love for these beautiful plants and seeds that keep you motivated. What a treasure to do what you love in life. Your hardship is not lost on us. Our prayers and financial support are with you.

    Reply
  298. Martie on

    What I think is so special is that she is preparing for peace. Saving something beautiful for the next year. Growing is therapeutic in so many ways. You can’t always change the things going on our you. You can do what you can to make the future better. I love this and can’t wait to see more. Beautiful!!

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  299. Corisa on

    For me, the most touching part of Allan’s story was in the midst of her world falling in around her, Alla wanted to bring beauty inside with bouquets of cut flowers.

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  300. Emily Brooksby on

    I love that Alla’s passion of seed- saving is keeping something unique and beautiful in the world! What she is doing is so important, especially in the setting of war. Beauty is worth it.

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  301. Kaitlynn on

    It is hard to narrow down to one particular moment or quality. Alla and her story are nothing short of remarkable. How Alla’s gardening and the beauty of flowers and tenderness of tending to them becomes a means to cope and becomes a necessity in dire times as dear as water and the air we breathe. It reminded me how gardens fill bellies and feed souls and teach us so much. It makes me wonder of all the people who first turned to gardening out of a difficult time. Like we leapt into a field or a forest and grasped the long limb of a clock and were letting Mother Nature walk us through the next year of our lives to remind us if the nature of life and time. How quickly things change, for better for worse but they do endure. Alla teaches that when we turn to our passions or turn to what we are naturally drawn to and develop a passion we can find the key to our source in a way, to find what we need to persevere, to sustain, and even find a degree of exceptionalism and self excellence we could never have imagined emerging from the ground of one’s life in the midst of so much uncertainty and strife. What I admire very much is Alla’s courage and lack of self-pity as she said no one is promised a perfect path, an easy path. How she accepts her path, the present and is honest about its’ coldness and hardness, but perseveres. How nurturing and loving she is with her family and garden. Remarkable. It really made me very emotional for so many reasons. I am truly grateful to have seen this documentary and had the opportunity to purchase Alla’s book and a few Clematis seeds. It’s really an honor to be able to support such a person. I hope truly we in the garden community can all follow along her path and ease some of these burdens. And I pray for end of the war, peace, independence, prosperity and healing for the Ukraine and all the strong Ukrainian souls who have endured the unimaginable… especially for Alla, her family, her dreams, and her garden.

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  302. Linda Taylor on

    The life she and others are forced to live is so sad but the way she is making a life for her and her family is amazing. You can see how hard this life is on her but she is a strong woman, with a zest for living, and doing so through the flowers is beautiful. Thanks for sharing her story!

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  303. toni murray on

    Alla’s humanity; just the tender way she touched the ground as she planted was so poignant. I watched this twice, the first eve it was posted & again since.
    My heart breaks for Alla & her family & neighbors.
    I’m grateful to Floret for bringing the world Alla’s story. I’m grateful for Alla she still has beauty in her life; thus hope!

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  304. Eva Kinnear on

    I think what impacted me the most was the reality that her beautiful garden could be taken away at any time. As gardeners we pour our heart and soul into our garden. We build it over years it becomes a part of us. With the war and daily uncertainty, plus the weight of providing for her family, my heart really goes out to you Alla. Yet, what a beautiful and sacred thing to tend and grow your garden in the midst of war. Our hearts and prayers are with you! May God continue to bring you strength and courage <3

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  305. Karlee Waddoups on

    Wow! What a wonderful eye opener! She is so super knowledgeable about clematis, growing a garden, and photography! She is an inspiration! I loved knowing that you can direct sow clematis. I think that enables more people to garden! She’s wonderful!

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  306. Katie Russell on

    What I was drawn to most about Alla was her willingness to share while living through literal hell. She took the time to showcase the beauty of her world not knowing who it was even reaching. I stumbled upon her account when you highlighted her several months ago and I’m so thankful you introduced her to us. She is a wonderful human and strong beyond words. I am already lucky enough to have purchased some of her seeds, so I dont need to win. I’m just here to spread love for Alla and her family.

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  307. Dana Surber on

    Alla’s beautiful story made me think about how lucky I am. Also spurred deep thought on how much gardeners are a kindred group no matter how far apart we are. Aside from the thoughts provoked I admire Alla’s sincere positivity… the flowers surely help! Prayers to Alla, her family and all Ukrainians. 💙💛

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  308. Sarah Armentrout on

    Alla, you are a tremendous human! The beauty and love you continue to share while living day to day within unimaginable circumstances speaks to how strong you are. Thank you for sharing with the world the beauty of clematis. These flowers always remind me of my grandma and I am excited to learn so much more about the abundant varieties because of you. Continue to stay passionate and not allow the darkness of war overshadow your beautiful garden.

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  309. Heather Nathaniel on

    Alla’s garden is a lovely testament to peace and goodness in the face of horror. I am thinking of her and her flowers as I make my plans for next years’ garden. Thank you for sharing her inspiring story!

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  310. Jennifer on

    I am so impressed with Alla’s positive attitude in spite of living in a war zone. May peace and healing come to Ukraine and the whole world. Meanwhile, thank you for sharing Alla’s story, and showing us how we can order her book and beautiful clematis seeds.

    Reply
  311. Carissa on

    What a beautiful gift Alla is sharing with the world in her photos and seed offerings. Grateful to know a bit about her story and inspired by her ability to find peace within her garden despite the opposite being so present just outside the gate. Thank you for helping us all to know her.

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  312. Denise on

    This quote from Alla really struck me: “When I work in the garden and there are no terrible air alert sounds, I forget for a while all the horrors of the war in which we live.” The power of flowers! I also loved the mention of the gate built by her grandfather and the apple trees he planted. Her garden truly sounds like a special place. I had no idea there were so many interesting varieties of clematis…definitely interested in growing some in my garden .

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  313. Raena on

    What you have done for Alla is just amazing and I am so grateful to be apart of it and learn her story.
    In the film, the juxtaposition of Alla and her beautiful garden and the sounds of war in the background is eye opening. I couldn’t look away from the film and I wish there were more! I’ll will for sure continue to follow Alla and I’ve been inspired to grow more clematis!

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  314. Bethany on

    I’ve been impacted greatly by Alla and her love of clematis and flowers in general. Between Erin and Alla I believe my backyard garden is going to be very full, very soon.
    Alla, the person you are shines magnificently. I hope and wish for peace in your part of the world. I can’t wait to see what you do next!

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  315. Laura Burns on

    I think that because Alla continues to do what she loves and feels passionate about during these very difficult circumstances that her and her family live in.. well, it’s just inspiring. She is creating beauty during a time of ugliness. It is something we all should aspire to do. Our struggles may be different and most likely are. But what prevents you from accomplishing your goals? Having a passion or a calling only benefits you and others when you don’t give up on it. I’m glad you were able to share her story with the world.

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  316. Cindy Cook on

    Although I thoroughly loved all the detail regarding the types of clematis and seed growing techniques, it was the combination of Alla’s love of photography and description of her garden as a living kaleidoscope that most captivated me.

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  317. Heather on

    I am always impressed with strong woman and their passions. Her love for her garden truly inspires and reminds me how I feel when I am outside in the garden. Her incredible will to keep going with ill family members in a war zone is true passion and strength. Thank you for sharing her story.

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  318. Sheryl Ramstad on

    I am so impressed with this amazing woman working through so much hardship and the threat of war constantly. I complain if the rain falls and I can’t garden and she is working through freezing conditions, lack of electricity and heat and food! What a wonderful spirit!

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  319. Cynthia H. on

    I am impacted by how we in our darkest moments can choose to cultivate beauty. Though we may feel overcome, we can still be “us” – our true selves in the face of danger and fear. I thank you for telling your story and allowing love to drive you forward. I think of your suffering often and your skills as a Gardner.

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  320. Benita Warkentin on

    I’m am so thankful for you Erin, for sharing Alma’s story and introducing her to me in this way! My father was born in Ukraine in 1929 and I love knowing more about his birthplace! I would also love to grow some of the seeds Alla grows to have a piece of her story here in my garden! One of the many things that stood out was the part about taking out a loan to purchase her camera and then learning to use it, her strength and courage amazes me!

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  321. Marcia on

    Thank you Team Floret for sharing Alla with us. Her comment that she is like her bamboo “pressed, but unbroken” so aptly describes her attitude, and the resilience and courage of Ukrainians as they endure life during wartime. She remains positive and that is possibly the best lesson of all.

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  322. Nancy Gilliam on

    Erin, I have been making quilts and sending them to the Ukrainian people since the war began, so they have always been in my heart. But this video touched my heart on an even deeper level and I am sharing it with my friends. Thank you so very much for introducing all of us to this amazing woman. Americans have so much to be grateful for.

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  323. Abby on

    Such a beautiful story

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  324. Samantha Sheppard on

    Her bravery and the innovative idea to use her passion to care for her family have inspired me. That, and the fact that she pushes through exhaustion, fear, and inconveniences to continue to support her family. Praying for her, her husband, Granny, and mother in law. I’ve ordered some seeds, also…what a wonderful thing it will be to have a piece of her heart and perseverance growing here in the US!

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  325. Gina Lampman on

    Within a few seconds of watching this moving documentary I started to tear up. Alla’s garden is so, as she puts it, imperfectly beautiful and peaceful. It reminded me of me in my imperfect garden. It felt so familiar in a way that I could instantly sense her deep compassion and love for what the flowers she has lovingly nurtured.

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  326. Veronique on

    Gardening really helped me going through the most difficult time in my life. There is something really powerful and healing about it, it connects us with life and beauty even in the darkest time and I can see how central and essential it is in Alla’s life as gardening is indeed investing in a future and growing from seed, nurturing a young plant and finally getting to see wonderful blooms emerging is one of the purest joy in life. It gives so much hope. I was moved to tears so many time during this documentary, the scenes with Alla’s granny are the sweetest.

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  327. Sarah Evans on

    The most inspiring part of Alla’s story for me is that despite the awful state of things, she doesn’t give up on her passion. For most would curl up and become frozen in the chaos, she keeps living her life the best she can. She keeps going and caring and showing up.

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  328. Karin on

    Thank you Alla for sharing your expertise and for providing a glimpse into the challenges you face daily living and gardening in a war zone. Growing beautiful things in the midst of chaos and uncertainty is the ultimate act of hope. I hope for all Ukrainians that this war is over soon.

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  329. Sarah Dunn on

    I am impressed by Alla’s strong, steady, determination to “continue on” under the most adverse circumstances. Also impressed by her knowledge and “pioneering attitude” into a novel idea in Ukraine of selling rare plant seeds.

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  330. Kelly on

    She has so much strength to keep going and remain hopeful in such a heavy time.

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  331. Christine Hendrick on

    He ability to keep going and take care of her family under such stress and difficulties.

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  332. Kathleen on

    I love that she has become a symbol of hope and joy and life.

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  333. Marcy on

    What a lovely line “ the intricate dance of colors and shapes that clematis exhibit”!!!! She so eloquently said what I so enjoy about flower gardening. Her story speaks to all of us that find joy in growing something beautiful from a tiny seed. I too have found solace in gardening, but I can’t imagine doing so in a war zone. Thank you for sharing your beautiful story with all of us, and I hope the outpouring of love and support will help you and your family survive and ultimately thrive after the war.

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  334. Katie on

    I think her ability to create in the middle of a war is inspiring. Look at the impact her creating has had! Such an inspiration to create beauty, in any form, no matter where you are.

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  335. Nancy on

    The determination to find joy in the middle of war zone through caring for her family and her garden are amazing.

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  336. Jill on

    Alla’s determination is amazing. I was so impressed by the way she learned how to use her Nikon, even though it was so complicated. I have 5 different clematis so far, and would love to grow more. Growing from seed means you can get more unusual plants, and they adapt better to the local microclimate.

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  337. Emily on

    I am most inspired by Alla’s gentle care that emanates from her. From the care she gives to the garden to the way she sweetly cares for her elderly family members is so moving. I joined her Patreon and follow her on Instagram and her photography is so inspiring. Her ability to create beauty in the middle of so much sadness is incredible. We love you and are cheering for you Alla!

    Reply
  338. Flower and Forged Farms on

    What a beautiful message of hope found in the garden. Hope in a time of war and fear, hope found amongst seeds—magical creation—that brings beauty.

    Prayers that others would see that hope too.

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  339. Badge Bourcier on

    Oh my goodness, where to begin. This documentary had me in tears from the moment the lights went out as she was sorting seeds to the air raids as she is gardening to the curfews. Gardening is not for the light of heart, it takes a passion and a delight and a will, Alla has all of this and she is in a war zone. Tears fall onto the the text as I write this
    I was moved by her courage and fortitude to create beauty amidst the hardship. An incredible gift to us all. Thank you and deep blessings.

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  340. Sarah on

    I appreciate how the garden keeps Alla sane in such a terrible time. A good re.inder to me that I can do hard things.

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  341. Jen on

    This is a beautiful story, not only of resilience, but of legacy, the theme of season 2 Floret Farms. I’m excited to read the ebook and hopefully get some clematis seeds for our garden soon. I hope the war ends soon.

    Reply
  342. Susan on

    I admire her strength, knowledge and resilience! She has maintained a beautiful garden and is the primary caregiver for family in a war zone. Not an easy task. Impressive!!

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  343. Heather Howard on

    Wow! Just Wow! She is a wonderful human! To be able to balance taking care of two aging family members and maintaining such beautiful flowers. She truly sees beauty in the darkness.

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  344. Nadia Morrison on

    I think Alla is like the clematis seeds she collects, and the plants she cares for. Beautiful and unique, resilient in the face of unimaginable hardships. She is growing despite the hard things that are shaping her surroundings. The act of growing and caring for a garden in a war zone, is an act of defiance and strength. To nurture beauty with bombs falling around takes such fortitude.

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  345. Amy F on

    I so enjoyed reading this and watching the video. How powerful. I am so glad that you called attention to her work and her struggle so she could receive support.

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  346. Julia on

    I am ukranian and have had a desire to start my own garden. I grew up learning different herbs and there medicinal properties. But we were not taught much about flowers for the sake of beauty and just having a garden to care for. I loved how Alla is paving the way for people to not just learn new skills but also make there homes beautiful with a sense of peace and purpose on their land. I would love to bring some of my heritage and beauty from Ukraine to my own home as well.

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  347. Stephanie Halland on

    I think besides the wonderful plants she lovingly grows, I am most impressed that she does this while taking care of her grandmother, mother in law, and her own family…in a war zone! Amazing young woman!

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  348. Bethany B. on

    Alla’s perserverence and love of gardening through difficult circumstances impacted me the most. I have family (who share a love of gardening) in Odessa, Ukraine. Plants have the most miraculous healing powers both mentally and physically. For her to continue on each day with such hope is amazing! Thankyou for sharing her passion for clematis with the world.

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  349. Victoria on

    It is easy to think “this could never happen to me”, but Alla’s story is such a poignant reminder that the world is a fragile place and we never know what is in store for us. Not only does she keep going to provide her family with the means to survive, she continues to find joy in the magic of the garden and her family around her. I was so touched by her excitement to see granny waiting for her in the garden. Loved this project from start to finish! Can’t wait for my seeds to arrive.

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  350. Christy Stoltzfus on

    Alla’s story is so beautiful! I’m so inspired by her love and commitment to growing and cultivating these beautiful plants in such a difficult environment. Her delight and joy in this process bubbles through this interview! It would be such an honor to grow plants from her seeds. Well done Alla! You are making the world more beautiful!

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  351. Amy Jonsson on

    Alla’s life story of struggle and perseverance is inspiring. To be thrust into an ugly situation you didn’t ask for and have no control of but to continue to create beauty and peace shows a beautiful determination. I do somewhat understand struggle, I am currently undergoing Chemotherapy for breast cancer and I too am trying to find the beauty and peace in life and in our gardens. I too find the solitude of the garden comforting and can only hope Alla continues to find hope and comfort in her beautiful garden spaces.

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  352. B Fraser on

    So amazed by her knowledge and the breadth of clematis varieties. I admire her strength and commitment to beauty in the harshest of times.

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  353. Rana Boland on

    Alla and her story are incredible and so heartening within the chaos and violence of war. I love the relationship of Alla to her garden and her garden to her. The beauty and peace and the ability to sustain her and her family. Thank you for bringing us her story and her wonderful seeds. And thank you to Alla for creating this special garden and sharing it with us all in spite of all you are going through.

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  354. Shannon on

    I love Alla’s spirit and the joy she finds in the garden. Her perseverance and resilience are inspiring and I admire how she cares for her mother-in-law and granny. I took care of my mother for 9 years and was always travelling back and forth between cities. It was rewarding and I was grateful to help her, yet it was stressful. I cannot imagine doing it in a war zone. The film also reminded me that my mom had two clematis in her back garden, one of which grew outside my childhood bedroom. While I’ve been researching cut flowers and the best perennials for flower farms, I never saw any mention of clematis and was surprised to see how beautifully they can be used in arrangements. I’m looking to move to a property with acreage early next year and will incorporate clematis into my garden and farm plans.

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  355. Katy on

    First, thank you for sharing her story with the rest of the world. I am so very inspired by Alla and how she has taken a very hard situation, not just the war, but taking care of her family; and turned to the beauty of growing her amazing clematis and flower photography. She has made the best of a horrible situation in her life and enriched it with beauty. And then, shared it with the world through her Instagram page. What an absolutely beautiful soul.

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  356. Caroline on

    Alla!s pursuit of beauty amongst such destruction, her gracious manner and quiet determination, really brought me to tears. There is a great sense of nobility about her, that we all should cultivate, in the same way we cultivate our gardens. Thank you so much for sharing, such a thought provoking woman.

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  357. Kayla Malsom on

    I think the way Alla is able to stay positive and show up everyday to keep working is so beautiful and honestly inspiring. I know that if I was in her shoes I would be more reserved about traveling and going to my garden but yet, alla shows up every day. She is an inspiration to me and I’m sure many people. Her dedication and hard work is remarkable and something I myself find inspiring.

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  358. Rachel on

    Allan’s perseverance is what strikes me. It seems she has encountered one difficulty after another for some time now, with so much responsibility coming to rest solely on her shoulders, and yet she continues to cultivate beauty, and bless others with the seeds of her collection.

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  359. Terri on

    What a wonderful documentary about Alla’s story! I love the opportunity to help her, her family, and community during these challenging times! Sending hugs, love, and praying for peace💜🙏💙

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  360. Annie on

    What an amazing woman. Her knowledge of the Clematis varieties is so necessary for the future of these plants. I have grown Clematis but the only thing I have know is to plant for “their heads in the sun and their feet in the shade.” To try and single out one thing that she shared in the interview that is impactful is difficult. I found that I was putting myself in her circumstances and wondering would I be able to follow my passion as she has. She is an inspiration to the human spirit.

    Thank you Floret for doing this documentary. I have watched it over and shared it with many friends.

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  361. Ellen Lyman on

    Thank you for sharing Alla’s story! She is such an inspiration to us all as she cares for her family using the resources she has on hand. The joy she exudes when gardening brightens our world!!! Love and prayers for all people living in war zones…

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  362. Kari on

    Oh my goodness!! With tears in my eyes I listened to and watched this incredible woman tell her story with a SMILE in the middle of a war and caring for everyone around her…really with sirens, bombs, no electricity, being the sole provider and she never complained and has such a sweet spirit! Wow what an example of grit and gratitude and fortitude…strength of character and the will to survive and thrive!! Absolutely incredible!! Thank you for sharing your story, Alla!!! Thank YOU for making it possible!!!

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  363. Sharcondria Salone on

    Love this story. I love clematis and have made it my goal to incorporate more into my garde. I’ve also been trying to support those in the Ukraine by ordering through Etsy. Thanks for sharing this story.

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  364. Kathy Chandler on

    What an amazing, strong and loving person! Thank you so much for sharing her story. Throughout all the hardships of war, which we cannot even imagine, she continues to create joy and find happiness in her garden and with her family. She will not let fear or darkness overtake her life and that is to be so admired. I will pray for Alla, her family and Ukraine.

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  365. Stacy on

    I adore clematis, so learning about Alla & her garden was, in itself, an inspiration. I cannot imagine what war is like…..but I am able to relate to the nourishing side of garden. I’m in awe of Alla and growing some of her seeds in my own garden will forever remind me of her. Thank you. I can’t wait for your book to arrive!

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  366. Erica on

    I admire Alla’s resilience and determination to find a way to support her family and maintain hope in a terrible situation. I also love this community of support! I just logged on to her seed shop to see that almost everything is sold out! If gardeners ran the world, it would be a much better one.

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  367. Malia Wee on

    Alla’s unrelenting perseverance to nurture, cultivate, and care for her garden and her people has me misty eyed as I finish watching this short film. She is the best of humanity, the bright spot in all this darkness. She claims a “simple” life, ponders the notion that she has feels like she has “nothing special to show.” But that couldn’t be further from the truth. Sure, it’s easy enough to arm yourself with bitterness and violence in a war. But to fight the darkness with beauty, grace, color, joy, and nature…to fight with hope, that is the biggest and most inspiring middle finger boss woman move! All my love and support for Alla. I pray for continued safety for her and her family and for this terrible war to end soon soon soooooo .

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  368. April Allen on

    What an inspiring story of beauty, perseverance and resilience. The fortitude and strength of women never ceases to amaze me. Praying for Alla, her family and her country. Thank you for sharing her story.

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  369. Kristen Gray on

    I marvel at how people who are poor and experiencing war can be working so hard to survive and follow their dreams.She is growing as a person and sharing her gifts in spite of the world around her struggles. I respect and admire that drive and hope to share myself like her.

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  370. Joanna Glud on

    Alla’s story impacted me so much. Her garden is amazing and watching her collect the seeds so lovingly was touching. Her story really made me stop and think about my life and how lucky I am, even though many times I don’t feel that way. Her love of flowers is amazing. Gardening is a stress reliever for me, but for her, it’s her life. Her flowers are so beautiful, and I am ordering some seeds and also making a donation. My neighbor grows Clematis, and I will be giving her some seeds, she will be thrilled. I have loved flowers all my life and I am always amazed at Mother Nature’s creation of all their beauty. I cried through the whole interview, it hit me that much and I am so happy her story has been told.

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  371. Diane on

    I was entranced by her garden and the heritage she has. Her great grandfathers gate and great grandmother peony’s. What a treasure! Seeing pine trees grow that she planted. I have a new appreciation for Clematis seed heads and the bell shaped clematis. Will search more diligently for those. I so appreciate her story and sharing it. You can find beauty any where if you look for it. Prayers for her and family and what they are going through.

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  372. Donna Reble on

    Her story is truly touching as she perseveres in spite of hardship. Wonderful how she tends to her family’s needs. It must be so difficult to be in the garden hearing the constant sirens in the background. Her passion for creating beauty is definitely inspiring. May God somehow bring good out of the bad.

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  373. Tina Tison on

    This film touched my heart in many different ways. I have loved flowers since I was a little girl too, and can remember my parents always encouraging this. I am first generation American, born to German parents who came to this country in 1954. All my like I heard their stories of living through war, and saw their appreciation of the many blessings they found here. That is one of the things that stood out for me in Alla’s story, seeing how she is always looking for the beauty in her world despite the many hardships.

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  374. Kathie on

    She doesn’t just SAY, she SHOWS her love of beauty, her care of nature, her care of her family – and her desire for peace to be able to continue those. I am praying for her in such dire straits, especially for a return to health of her granny and husband and mother-in-law. Thank you Floret family for making it possible for us to know about her – looks like almost all her seeds have sold out, maybe that’s because of the film.

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  375. Denise on

    What a beautiful spirit. Besides the obvious inspiration and beauty that is Alla, my biggest take away from the interview and short film was don’t complain, don’t be negative, don’t give up, and don’t quit. Accept or deal with the hard. Be the light.

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  376. Camberley Frazier on

    This is such a beautiful heartbreaking story of an amazing, braze woman. Not only is Alla’s garden beautiful on its own, but the fact she is continuing it in the conditions, while finding a way to support her family is inspiring. Thank you for so much information on clematis…I’m going to give it a go! So much love to you and your family Alla!

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  377. Breana English on

    Alla’s passion for bringing beauty into the world despite the hardships of living in a war zone is so inspiring!

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  378. Sabrina Paul on

    I am so thankful to Erin and her team for introducing us to Alla and her amazing flowers. Such an inspiration and what courage she has. Thanks again to all involved in this project. Can’t wait to see what Alla does next !

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  379. Paula on

    Alla has taught us so much in this first documentary. Thank you Erin for introducing us to her. Our daily prayers will be for you and your family safety and health. The clematis flower will no longer just be a vision of a purple flower in my mind. It will be of Alla in her garden with all the varieties and colors enveloping her in peace and tranquility.

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  380. Laurie Broome on

    Alla, her love of flowers and seeds, and her devotion to family has touched my heart. She is a reminder of all that is good about life in a time when so much feels dismal. I look forward to receiving seeds when she has the time and ability to send them. And many thanks to Erin and her team for the important work that you do. I touch base with you every morning to add inspiration to my day. Thank you!

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  381. Yvonne Cox on

    Thank you Alla for sharing your life with us!! I cannot begin to imagine your stresses of everyday life. You are a gift to not only your family, but to all of us!! Your beautiful gardens, your amazing book filled with phenomenal photography and instruction, and for sending your cherished seeds out into the world. It reminds us we are all still connected no matter the distances or circumstance. I pray you and your family stay safe and that this opportunity from Erin allows you to stay warm and fed through the winter!

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  382. Danielle on

    I am so moved by Alla’s bravery in seeking out, cultivating and sharing beauty within all of the uncertainty that surrounds her. Keep spreading your light in all of the dark corners, Alla. We are all cheering you on.

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  383. Lisa sego on

    I admire Alla for pursuing her love of gardening in a most difficult situation and environment. She has accomplished so much when many others would have given up. What a treasure and wonderful example she is to her family and the rest of us!

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  384. Maggie Morgan on

    I love reading about how her love of photographing flowers began — it was so expensive in film days to actually get to take and develop pictures like we can today with digital technology. So happy her work is going around the world in this way. She is A M AZ I N G and your documentary is so wonderful. Thank you for sharing her story with us❤️ I’ve always loved clematis but now I want to grow them all!

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  385. Jaime K. on

    Wow!! Wow!! Wow!! Alla is amazing and so inspiring! Her story is part heart wrenching and part joy! Her love for her family and for her garden is so heart warming. To see her working in darkness and cold with sirens and bombing around is so heart breaking. You want to change that for her, for her family and for the country. But her strength to carry on and grow her garden, write a book and care for her family really makes you love her and want all the best things in life for her and her family!! Thank you Erin for introducing her to so many of us is such a beautiful way! 🥰

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  386. Erin Jenkins on

    Finding good information about growing clematis, let alone from seed, is challenging. I admire Alla’s knowledge base, which I imagine is largely from her own experience. It’s impressive.
    And, of course, seeing someone doing what lights them up helps us all remember what life is all about. Thanks for sharing.

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  387. Julie on

    What impacted me the most about Alla was her positive outlook on such a tough situation. Her story helps put things into perspective. She is so inspiring.

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  388. Colette on

    What impacted me the most about her story is her humility. She writes a book while in a bomb shelter!?! She is a self-taught photographer. She is living in a war zone and continues to see the beauty of growing flowers. She is doing all she can to provide for her family by selling flower seeds. She is an outstanding and intelligent person, a great example to me on staying positive and not giving up no matter your circumstances.

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  389. Patti on

    Her love for her flowers is her strength during such a hard time. Her flowers are unique and sharing her story and knowledge in a ebook with the world shows how we all can learn from each other. I have 2 clematis varieties and was excited to find my seeds and now I can try to get mine to grow with her shared knowledge. Loved the story and prayers for her and others that the war ends soon. Thanks for sharing!

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  390. Debi on

    Alla, you are truly inspiring with your love of family, flowers and photography. I was so moved in the video with your Grandma moments, she is precious. You continue to learn from her and acknowledge her. The saying~ we can do hard things~ is exemplified through your 24 hours night or day commitment. I’m inspired and pray continue blessings for you. Thank you Erin for bringing encouragement to this amazing new friend.

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  391. Cindy on

    I just want to spend the day in her garden with her. She is inviting and welcoming in the midst of such despair. And she loves to garden. It would just be lovely to meet her.

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  392. Steph on

    Resilience. The imagery of Alla’s beautifully cultivated gardens set amidst a backdrop of bombs and air raid sirens, propelled by her quiet fortitude in collecting seeds for financial support and cutting stems for personal fulfillment…was stunning. There’s grit, developed by struggle, and there’s grace, formed in a foundation of gratitude. Alla possesses both in spades. I’m grateful that so many more of us have come to learn about her, her hope for her country’s future, and her resilience to see it through.

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  393. Mary Holowach on

    Alla, what an inspiration, I say this from my heavy heart!

    You have giving me an inspiration I needed so desperately in my life. I know life is truly about giving, finding your inner strength so you can give back to the universe and not take from it

    I love Erin and follow her for these reasons as well. My love is sourdough baking. I wanted to make a garden around what was to be a small commercial kitchen, so I could follow my passion of baking and love flowers 🌸 and 🪴 plants and giving back to my community.

    That dream was halted when my husband of 20 years was diagnosed with glioblastoma and passed 3 months later, October 19, 2023. I have been walking circles around myself not knowing what to do without him and our dream.After listening to your story I know what I have to do.

    You are in a situation where so much has been taken yet you give! You propagate this beautiful seed from Mother Earth, to find beauty in your life and in your Country, then you share it with the world, this is a great act of HOPE, courage, love, strength and beauty!!

    Thank you for sharing and the inspiration!

    Erin-Thank you for all you have done and all the beauty and blessings you have given 🤍

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  394. Krista on

    I am so inspired by Alla and her unwavering love for and commitment to her garden, to her Clematis. In the face of overwhelming adversity, of overwhelming evil, she’s full of love, enthusiasm, and hope. It’s contagious. She makes me want to get out in my garden—even on the days when my corporate job sucks everything out of me. It is so important to help along those tiny packages of hope, those seeds, allowing beauty to germinate and color the world in beautiful shapes and colors. Thank you, Alla, for sharing your story! Thank you, Erin (and Rob) for sharing Alla’s story!

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  395. Laura King on

    Wow, what an incredible interview and story, thank you for sharing! I cannot wait to watch the videos. Hearing stories like this proves how impactful gardening is. I could not even begin to imagine what it is like being in a war zone, but to hear that when she steps in her garden she almost forgets what is going on around her because of the joy that her garden brings is so powerful. Gardens transport you to a place of hope, healing, joy, serenity… And if this story isn’t proof of that I don’t know what is!! Completely magical. She is truly an inspiration and a wealth of knowledge. I started growing clematis a few years ago and after reading this and learning about all the different varieties and how they have been bringing so much beauty into such a terrible situation for Alla I will without a doubt add more to my gardens.

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  396. Stephinie on

    Alla, your photography and deep love for beauty is inspiring and humbling. I am so happy to connect with you through Erin & Floret and follow your work. Wishing you peace and safety.

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  397. Ann on

    I think what struck me most was Alla’s beautiful demeanor with her family and her gardens, and her belief that something good and beautiful would come out of all that is happening. And of course, all her joy in flowers!

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  398. Katherine Ball on

    Alla’s story made me cry, it made me smile, and it made me grateful. I immediately emailed my 90 year old mother to thank her for sharing her love of gardening with me. Alla’s story shows us the power of gardening…of hope, patience, and anticipation. I am immensely proud and grateful to Erin and Alla for reminding us that through gardening we can survive the horrors of war, the ugliest side of humanity. That in nature there is always beauty. Thank you!❤️

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  399. Kathy Parsons on

    This is the epitome of the Audrey Hepburn phrase “To plant a garden is to believe in tomorrow.” Alla sees so much hope in the future and in the future of the garden. For her to be able to say that beautiful landscape design will develop in Ukraine as soon as the war ends and people are able to live in peace and garden again. She shows an incredible amount of patience and resistance. We could all learn a lot more than just gardening from her.

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  400. Rebecca Allen Lamptey on

    I absolutely love clematis – but learning about Alla and her clematis in Ukraine opened up a whole new world for me! What touched me the most is the beautiful resilience she shows forth in persevering theough this horrible war that is going on there – it is so beautiful to see how she zones in on keeping up her legacy of protectibg and maintaining her plants and clematis in particulsr. Incredibly inspiring! And the photography is just up and beyond – I mean what a gift she is sharing with us through her knowledge, seeds and photos. I would be honored to grow Alla’s clematis some day. hank you!

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  401. Marie on

    Persisting to have a voice and to work about her very own passion despite a war inspires me to keep going with my passions through my struggle with endometriosis. Merci Alla.

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  402. Annette on

    What struck me in the documentary is that everytime Alla was in the garden and an air raid siren went off, she didn’t drop everything and run, she looked up into the sky and then quietly returned inside the house. I can’t imagine living in such a way and I’m left challenged to look at my life and find what truly brings joy and embrace it no matter what hardships come. THANK YOU ALLA FOR SHARING YOUR STORY AND PASSION FOR BEAUTIFUL FLOWERS AND GARDENS❤️

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  403. Colleen Eschner on

    This in incredible, all of it. It’s not necessarily one thing, but the combination of the sum total. It left me in tears and so HUMBLED to see her in a bomb shelter with her head lamp and laptop in the dark writing. It’s been a tough couple of years for me and learning a lot of new things and it’s been pretty scary. To see her triumph in such circumstances really puts things into perspective. And to create SUCH BEAUTY under conditions that are unfathomable. But, her joy and spirit, to create such beauty and to SEE it despite what she is viewing around her. That “soul seeing”, it’s incredible. Her description of a taking a loan for a new camera and having to learn all the settings, on top of everything else she has had to learn. I will never look at a garden quite the same way again and my own life journey. Here in North Vancouver BC where I live, we have a gardener who sells seeds, seedlings, produce for her cousin in Poland, who takes the cash orders everything they can for orphanages and seniors and volunteers go over the border and deliver everything. Photos come back, the boxes with Canadian flags but the red is blue and yellow. It’s all so important, one seed at a time, faith the size of a mustard seed my grandmother taught me. Thanks as always Erin, Chris and the whole team for your heart, vision and caring.

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  404. Jan Sutter on

    What a lovely story! Shows what positive thought and pushing forward always will reward you! Especially bring in a war torn environment and she has her lovely garden to find solace in. Please keep going on all that gives you joy. May God keep you safe!

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  405. Marsha Watkins on

    I really appreciate her ability to find joy in a terrible situation. Having had an ugly medical illness, i felt every waking moment was consumed with “what if’s”. There was no joy, only stress. Her situation is all those “what if’s” coming true!! And yet she can focus on beauty and create something wonderful in a time of terror.

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  406. Charlene Skalmusky on

    Alla is a very special person. Her story is very moving. But , what I loved most is her smile and joy she has in her garden even in these daunting times. I pray for peace for her.

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  407. Patti Dunne on

    First, I want to say ‘thank you’ to Alla for being willing to share your story in such difficult circumstances, and to Floret for bringing it to the world! As soon as I saw the announcement last week, I jumped online to check out Alla’s seeds and ordered several – though I apparently missed the ones that she listed as her favorites! Darn! The documentary was equal parts heartbreaking and joyous – there are so many aspects of Alla and her journey that are inspiring that it’s hard to pick just one. But I would say that it is her love and sacrifice for her family, her love for her garden and its history, and most of all, her perseverance in nurturing plants, nurturing nature – in ACTIVELY CHOOSING TO BE CONSTRUCTIVE IN THE MOST DESTRUCTIVE OF CIRCUMSTANCES – that’s what I’ll take with me. Even the smallest light can destroy the deepest darkness.

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  408. Ren on

    One hundred percent her resilience – so happy this beautiful story found it’s way into the right hands

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  409. Donna Mayton on

    What a wonderful story to share this time of year. It casts our lives in a new perspective. I am impressed by Alla on so many levels, but mainly her resilience and positivity in the face of such hardship. I wish her much success (as well as an end to the war). Thank you for recording her story for us all.

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  410. Teresa Liesenfeld on

    Alla’s story is so very inspiring! It is hard to imagine having any peace in the garden with air raid sirens in the background. Her courage is amazing and using her love of growing flowers, photography and seeds to support her family is, in itself, a thing of beauty, imagination, and creativity. Blessings on her difficult journey.

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  411. Lisa Carkin on

    What an amazing life story. The part that touch me so much was about her Great-grandpa. His legacy of gardening that he left her with and the passing down of this, is bitter sweet. I grew up on a farm and both parents are now passed on. 12 years ago, my sister, my daughter, niece and I started a CSA and I did the flower portion of it. It is all because of parents and family that we did this and it turned out to theraputic for all of us and many volunteers. Thank you so much for sharing.

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  412. Suzanne H on

    What impacted me the most were the small bits of genuine joy, like the first little flowers that bloom on a clearcut forest floor. Her grandmother’s smile as Alla arrived at her house, Alla’s determination to enjoy an apple as she explained how it came to be, and her voice when she realized that her love of flowers could support her family in an impossible cityscape were a few of those joys that stayed with me days, and will hold on in my mind for years after seeing her story.

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  413. Shelly on

    Nature never ceases to amaze. I love Clematis and had no idea there were so many to choose from. How amazing that Alla has fallen in love with these beautiful flowers, created and shared her gardening experience. I look forward to watching the story on You Tube this weekend as well. Thank you.

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  414. Nathina Duncan on

    This story really pulled on my heartstrings. I’m sitting here in Vermont, watching snow flying out of my window, recovering on day 4 from having COVID. And honestly, that seems like a cakewalk compared to what Alla must go through on a daily basis. Farming is my life and the thought of having to focus on living in a war zone, fighting to stay alive and struggling to feed my family is mind boggling. Her passion she carries for what she’s doing, not only to feed her family but what she clearly loves so much is astounding. I feel like I’ve found a new hero to look up to when life gets hard or when I want to give up.

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  415. Kelsey Beach on

    Loved the story! The power of flowers creating an escape in a time of tremendous worry and instability. ❤️

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  416. Taylor on

    It was so beautiful to watch someone take the time to look for and collect the tiny seeds of a family garden. So often seed-saving is a neglected part of gardening, and seeing Alla collect them in the middle of a war when there was so much else going on was awe-inspiring. She remembered the promise and hope of seeds in such a dark time. I love that she was collecting seeds of joy for tomorrow, in spite of the personality uncertainty in those moments. Thank you for the lovely gift of sharing her story.

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  417. Carol L deSousa on

    Getting to know Alla via Erin at floret has been for me a powerful testimony of strength & the choice we all have to push through the dark trials that life throws at all of us. Few of us here in America understand what life is like living in a war zone. We watch it on the tv news channels in the comfort of our homes and while it stirs deep emotions in us all we are unable to experience it in its raw form….the fear…anxiety…the lack of everything….food…water…lights…lack of basic needs. But Alla has been able to rise above this even if just briefly in the refuge of her paradise….her gardens. She has shown me as well as many of the rest of those who have recently gotten to know Alla, just a tiny bit about her and her life in Ukraine. That pleasure and happiness can be found even in the midst of horrible circumstances. I am so inspired by her sheer determination to continue to take beautiful photos and enjoy the small pleasures in her life. It is an honor for me to share her story with others and to help support her in any way I am able to.

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  418. Kristin on

    I am so impressed by her courage and resilience. Her hope and strength is so inspiring. Thank you for telling her story. It’s incredible how we are all connected through this earth and through flowers.

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  419. Ruth on

    I was most touched by Alla’s statement “you can do anything when you have a strict aim and are inspired.” I am a sister Gardener and seed saver and am a Master Gardener in Texas. I have witnessed the joy and excitement when our Master Gardener organization shares seeds with the public, this gives me joy in return. I wish Alla all the best. Unfortunately for me, her seeds have all sold out, but I am happy that her family will benefit from her efforts.

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  420. Jenny on

    Alla is an example of beauty forged through difficulty and unrest. To do what she’s done in the chaos that is her country, is truly remarkable. The stewardship of her garden blesses not just her family, but the world. Thank you for sharing your treasures with us. You are an inspiration.

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  421. Kate Hollander on

    This whole interview is WONDERFUL and worth reading over and over… which I have done. If there is a favorite part it is the way that she so lovingly describes gardening and clematis and peonies. She is so centered in the middle of utter chaos and for that she deserves to garden for her whole life and continue to influence the world’s gardeners. BRAVO ALLA!!!

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  422. Stephanie on

    This is such a beautiful story. Her love of flowers and Erin’s love of flowers. Because of this 2 people are reaching out across the world to one another having such an incredible impact in each others life and sharing it with all of us. It only takes one hand extending to another to change circumstances.

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  423. Kathy on

    Alla’s pioneering efforts as a gardener in Ukraine plus her humble spirit and pure joy sharing her flowers & knowledge just shines through in your wonderful interview with her. Such an inspiration.

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  424. Nynke Vermue on

    Alla, thank-you for sharing your story. Your passion for gardening and preserving beauty even in the midst of darkness is hugely inspiring. I am very grateful that Erin at Floret found you :) When we share our stories, the world becomes a smaller place and the differences become the flowers that unite us into beautiful bouquets to inspire and give hope. I pray that peace will come to your country soon and that you and your family will flourish once again.

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  425. Teri Lucas on

    I honestly was moved to tears by her love for her family and her love for her garden. I’m sure we all can say that we love our family and love our garden but the fact that she is out in her garden with air raid sirens going off and she’s still gathering seeds because she knows her family’s survival depends on it is truly heroic and inspiring. I could relate to her bringing arrangements home to bring her joy as I can see God in the beauty of his flowers and this gives hope to make it through hard times. Thank you for this moving film!

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  426. Shari Mac Gardner Flower Farm on

    I loved Alla’s strength, positivity, courage, love for her beautiful garden, and ingenuity in using her wealth of knowledge for these rare plants to support all of her family. What a shining light she is.

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  427. cyd on

    how does someone remain so committed to a passion in wartime? how do dear and despair not just take you down? i don’t know which is more impressive–her resilience or her knowledge, shared so gently.

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  428. Lori on

    Thank you Erin and team for sharing this beautiful documentary. It is very impactful and gives us a glimpse into the challenges Alla faces every day. She is a bright light in the darkness of this war, yet she remains hopeful despite the uncertainties. I was most inspired by Alla’s sheer determination under such harsh conditions and my favorite part was seeing her great grandma watching her outside the window. Thank you Alla for sharing your inspiring story.

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  429. Sarah Follett on

    Alla – your story is truly one of resilience. Thank you so much for opening up your heart to all of us, and showing us how much brightness and beauty can be found in dark and difficult times.

    The way you care for the matriarchs of your family is so touching. During the documentary I found myself flooded with memories of my grandmother amongst her flowers that brought me to tears.

    Your wild and bountiful garden is truly magical and something so many of us aspire to emulate. All of the support you’re receiving is so deserved, and I hope it continues to feed your passion for flowers and photography.

    – Sarah in Canada

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  430. Laura Matthews on

    It’s so amazing to see her resilience through such a hard time. She’ll say she’s just doing what must be done, there isn’t another choice, but her strength shines through and it’s magical.

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  431. Giselle on

    Alla’s strength to put out so much effort to build and grow something to help her whole family during a time where it could all be destroyed so quickly was very moving for me. As a small home gardener I understand the work, consistency and resources it takes to grow anything under good conditions never mind having so much on the line and limited resources due to the ongoing war. Seeing her working on her seeds in her home & the power goes out and she works by candle light, or hearing the awful sirens and explosions in the background was very sobering to me. I had never thought about how some other countries in the world haven’t been in the space to develop a custom around growing flowers for beauty & enjoyment instead of exclusively food & medicine in their gardens. It was so inspiring to me that Alla chose to embrace love of nature not only as a means to support her family but also as a way to cope with all that is going on around her ♥︎ These stories are so important to tell. I hope that very soon the war will end and the people of Ukraine will be able to rebuild and feel safe again.

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  432. Nicole Duemmlin on

    Alla has been such an inspiration to me. She touched me deeply. I too am a Gardner, an artist and photographer. Her images are unbelievably stunning. I think when I boil it down what is inspiring to me the most is that you can find hope in the smallest of things. Nature IS true hope when no other hope exists. It’s God created beauty in the darkest of times. Nature is what helps us to move on and survive. It’s incredible that nature, an overlooked and unappreciated thing to many can be such a light, life changing, healing entity to others. Her connection to flowers is everything. I have helped in all ways I can and will continue to pray for the safety of her and her family.

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  433. Jeanne Mare Werle on

    Alla is a living embodiment of the love, hope, tenacity & dreams that the plant beings gift us. Her story shines a guiding light for all of us to rise up each day & reach for what is best. That she is accomplishing this in the midst of uncertainty magnified by visual, audible horrific reminders of what is the worst in us is astonishing. Alla & all your family, Team Floret, film crew, so much gratitude….& to the seeds traveling this way!

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  434. Andi on

    I am so moved by this interview, as well as the documentary. I was fighting tears the entire time. Just seeing her so passionate about her garden, but then seeing the bombs going off, and her electricity off…it’s so much. Seeing her great grandmother just fills me with so much compassion as well. I love the amount of detail she has given all of us about clematis! I’m so overwhelmed by all of it! She is amazing! Thank you so much for getting her story to us!

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  435. Colette Nonenmacher on

    What impresses me the most about Alla is her love of beauty. How hard she has worked to make great accomplishments in her life. Her e-book is outstanding.
    Her variety of clematis is astounding. I even shared her story with my physical therapist yesterday how special she is, and encouraged him and his wife to follow her and order seeds.

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  436. Lacey on

    I was so touched by the love and joy her and her granny showed each other. Beautiful and sweet!

    What a strong woman to persevere and continue moving forward in the face of fear.

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  437. Irina on

    Erin, you never cease to amaze me with your dedication to knowledge and helping others through your platform. Your latest project speaks so highly of your character and what an absolute gem you are to the community.
    Alla’s story is not only inspiring but shows what a warrior she is. She has no choice but to stay to take care of her family and on top of that she became their main provider. I can’t even begin to fathom what its like to live during an active war and put your life at risk everyday going to the garden. But Allas tenacity is so inspiring and moving. Like she said: “I would rather be a warrior in a garden, than a gardener in a war”. Shows us not only how dedicated she is to her garden but also, the sheer amount of information she has accumulated on growing clematis. This was really a powerful and moving story for us to see and all thanks to you Erin and company. Tell Alla we are here to support her in every-way we can and wish her family all the best.

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  438. Janet K on

    Just wow! I just look at her and how she continues to work and garden through such tough conditions. She is inspiring.

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  439. Dana Goodson on

    Gardening is therapeutic. Starting tiny seeds or tending plants and then seeing them bloom or fruit so beautifully is so rewarding. Alla’s story and seeing someone on the other side of the world in a war zone not only keeping her garden and her photography alive but being able to use it as a means of support is phenomenal. I’m so touched and emotional about trying my hand at starting some of her seeds and keeping them alive in my gardens. Such and inspirational story.

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  440. Martha Jones on

    Alla’s photography and passion is breathtaking and so inspirational. Her tenacity and drive given her circumstances is so admirable. She is also so beautiful and talented & the beauty of this transferred so well in her film-this is never easy! Thank you for sharing this story-such a gift to all of us ❤️❤️

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  441. Kim Trahan on

    Alla’s story reminds us of all the beauty in the world . Through all adversity and struggles she finds her joy and passion , we can find happiness , even faced with all the horrors of war . Her positive attitude to keep trying and supporting her family is all inspiring. I wish her and her family to able to have peace again, and wish for this horrible war to come to a end

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  442. Elaine K. on

    Alla’s story and love for her garden, in these dark times, has touched so many of us! The beautiful book she has written and photographed, even in dark days, is a treasure packed full of information I never knew any of this about clematis. She is an inspiration to us all, never give up in hard and difficult times, always try to focus on the beauty around us to try and stay positive. Life can change, so quickly in this unstable world we live in… I hope for peace in beautiful Ukraine and people can return to their country and lives and rebuild again soon! Slava Ukraine 🇺🇦 💙💛 Thank you Erin and everyone for sharing Alla’s story and struggle with us, a real eye opener and brings you to tears ..

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  443. Jan Helmuth on

    What a joy to come across this story yesterday on IG. Alla’s grit and passion for her garden come across so well in the video. Her garden is incredibly beautiful, even under the horrific conditions she is now living under. She is an inspiration to me, showing that there is good in the world, though sometimes we have to search for it. Blessings to her family.

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  444. Andrea on

    What an amazing story…I loved every part of your interview and your story was inspiring and deeply moving. We close the Instagram feed, and still have light and heat and are not in danger of going out because there is war, but you still continue every day in that situation with such a beautiful spirit and that is touching. I have never experienced war but was very close to grandparents who had and I was able to connect with you, Alla, by remembering them and what they went through. My favorite part of your interview was hearing about your enjoyment at planting seeds directly into the ground not pots and seeing the pine trees grow so tall from seed – what satisfaction and what feat. You leave us with a beautiful thought about not being defeated and as you say in the end…you are pressed but not broken. For those of us gardeners that see the beauty in the cycle of life in our flowers (and took Erin’s flower workshop, which changed my life) I can say I will not forget your story or you. Bless you.

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  445. Chanda on

    The whole story is touching. It’s finding the beauty and peace in God’s natural creation.

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  446. Janine on

    Alla and her beautiful gardens and work with clematis and other varieties is so touching and inspiring. Such strength and perseverance. She is amazing and I am grateful for the knowledge she is sharing. Clematis growing has always been a challenge for me and yes, I buy Group 2 varieties mainly so will research group 1 and 3 varieties more. I am humbled by Alla’s strength, courage and determination. Thank you so much Erin for sharing Alla with me (us).

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  447. Suzanne Scire on

    Just so inspiring!!! I truly feel the same when you look at a flower, it can change your mood dramatically! We all need flowers in our life. It brings such joy in this crazy time. I loved her story. Thank you for sharing.

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  448. Mary Groarke on

    I am so grateful to Floret to shining a light on and sharing Alla’s story which is incredibly moving and inspirational. I worked for a humanitarian organization in war zones and the fact that she was able to raise her thoughts to anything beyond basic survival speaks to her strength and resilience. Alla’s ability to find beauty even in the midst of such chaos is remarkable. Her smile and the light in her eyes when she describes her gardens is a treasure beyond measure and will stay with me for a very long time.

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  449. Cindy Jatras on

    Gosh, where to begin. Alla’s amazing spirit brought me to tears. Her innate joy beams outward, you can’t not see it. What’s even more amazing is that she maintains it in unimaginable circumstances. I see her and can relate to how she is coping through the beauty and tasks of her gardens. I have done the same. Creating gardens, beauty, growing and nurturing heals the soul. Alla clearly has a purpose and message to broadcast to the world. She’s a very special human. Thank you Erin for blessing us with her story and for shining a light on her to help her. You’re equally special for using your talents and resources to help Alla. I’ve been so moved by it all.

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  450. Nicole on

    Alma’s passion for gardening comes through in her descriptions. She maintains positivity, and her garden brings her peace when times are troubling. I can certainly relate to that feeling.

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  451. Gina Schley on

    Whether you are in a literal war zone, or the war zone of your own mind, a garden shows you the way out. Alla gives us hope. Exactly why every human being should plant a garden. xo

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  452. Kat on

    I imagine being in the city, and going through the grandfather’s wooden gate, to find Alla’s antidote to everything that’s chaotic and inhumane. Where she’s harvesting each seed individually….where each seed has a chance at exuberant life. Courage, love, observation, learning, sharing knowledge. Nothing more wonderful.

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  453. Alyson Dorr on

    Alla’s story is so inspiring. Her optimism and the joy she finds in nature and creating beauty is a poignant reminder of the power of the human spirit, particularly in the face of violence and destruction. Prayers for a peaceful world where we can sow seeds of compassion and beauty. Thanks for sharing her story and supporting her Erin! ❤️

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  454. Stefanie Hartman on

    Most impacted by her love of Ukrainian gardening and her lovely photography so moved and inspired

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  455. Stef Hartman on

    How inspiring her story and lovely photography I feel it helps me

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  456. Sarah Gonzales on

    Alla’s story is incredibly moving – I was so struck by how the beauty she creates and nurtures, also nurtures her, her family and those that see her beautiful work in her photos and seeds. I look forward to seeing more of her beautiful work on her Patreon and feel grateful for the opportunity to support such a lovely person.

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  457. Helena on

    Alla’s resilience and hope and hard work is a beautiful thing to watch. I cannot even begin to imagine what it would be like in a war zone and how I would respond to that kind of trauma. Her resilience and her determination is so encouraging and a great lesson to us all.

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  458. Azucena Gee on

    Alla is amazing! What has impacted me about Alla is that the war that goes on in her background has not discouraged her to share her love of clematis. The short film Erin made was so moving. Waiting for this Friday to share the full documentary with my mom.

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  459. Trinity Madrid on

    Alla is such an inspiration. In the face of adversity, she has remained so strong and resilient for herself and her family. What inspired me most was her connection to hope. Hope is so powerful and can move us forward in the deepest of times. Alla has reminded me of the power of hope, and I am so grateful.

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  460. Sharon on

    What a beautiful story. I love the serenity in her gardens and the hope it brings to her and her family.

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  461. Sophia on

    Such a special and beautiful story! So much inspiration and hope!

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  462. Lou on

    I hope that bringing her story to all the people that follow you will support her enough to get her granny a new pacemaker! What an incredible story of devotion and strength that puts our trivial American woes in perspective! Fabulous photos and plants! I wasn’t fast enough to get seeds but will be watching for next year’s seeds to add to my already crazy clematis list!! Great job Alla and Erin!

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  463. Gretchen Blanchard on

    Alla has shown us how one person can make a difference and doing so under horrific conditions is truly an inspiration. Thank you for sharing her story and her passion for plants.

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  464. Marla Kroesen on

    Although I have enjoyed gardening for many years I am always learning something new, which is the case once again as I read the interview with Alla. I was entranced. I am looking forward to finding out more from her and about her. I have to say though, that what impacted me the most was when she talked about her delight in getting her first, and subsequent, camera(s), and the sacrifice it has taken to have them. It really hit me in the heart. I love my camera. I realize I have taken it and so many other things for granted. We have moved, and at 65 years old I am starting all over again, creating new gardens. Every time I wander through my flowers and take pictures, I hope I never take any of it for granted again.

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  465. Jeni on

    I was so moved by Alla’s resilience and spirit to tend with such devotion and care of the plants. Her heart shines through the documentary and watching her speak of the plants. I am first born in America of Ukrainian refugees, and have family in Ukraine as well in the war zone. I see my Ukrainian grandmother’s beautiful spirit in all the Ukrainian people I know,- and see it in Alla -their refusal to be broken, and their will to persevere and find meaning and purpose despite hardship and loss. I am moved to tears in the interview and the documentary. The compassion she shows for all these plant beings as if they are all her children is awe inspiring. It made me think of the poem from Clarissa Pinkola-Estes from “ The Faithful Gardener: “ The Prayer”
    Thank you Erin for bringing Alla to our lives:)

    A Prayer
    Refuse to fall down
    If you cannot refuse to fall down,
    refuse to stay down.
    If you cannot refuse to stay down,
    lift your heart toward heaven,
    and like a hungry beggar,
    ask that it be filled.
    You may be pushed down.
    You may be kept from rising.
    But no one can keep you from lifting your heart
    toward heaven
    only you.
    It is in the middle of misery
    that so much becomes clear.
    The one who says nothing good
    came of this,
    is not yet listening.”

    ?Clarissa Pinkola Estés, The Faithful Gardener: A Wise Tale About That Which Can Never Die

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  466. Kristen M on

    I am inspired by your hope in the future love, Ukraine.

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  467. Megan on

    Alla’s strength and courage is admirable to say the least. She is a true inspiration.

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  468. Julianne on

    Sometimes I believe I have it hard, then the Lord gently guides me to another’s story and my eyes and heart are opened up to a better way of handling life’s difficulties and heart ache. Alla’s story is incredibly empowering and a beautiful reminder that we have much to be thankful for. Her perspective and determination to create beauty and life in the midst of war and death is inspiring. I’m in awe of her courage and commitment and feel a stronger desire to make my little corner of the world a better place.

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  469. Marisol on

    Alla’s resilience, courage and ability to find beauty under such harsh conditions is inspiring. We are all the better thanks to her passion for gardening and generosity in sharing her knowledge. I’ve often heard / read that to be a gardener is to have hope. Thank you Alla and Erin for this gift of beauty and hope.

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  470. Johanna on

    She found inspiration in the hardest times of her life and from that, something amazing happens; the love Alla has for her family and the connection with her garden guided her to find a new way to provide for them. Her clematis seeds are seeds of hope, endurance, strength and perseverance. How many times we complain when something didn’t happen the way we plan? It will be good if we can look the world through her eyes and realize that love can make you invincible, stronger and resilient to the challenges of your life.

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  471. Nathalie on

    I am touched by her courage, her resilience and her passion for flowers. I was once told that living for a passion is the best way to live life, especially when that life is difficult. Alla is an example. She found a way to survive and be there for the people she loves. ❤

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  472. Blaine on

    The most inspiring part of Alla’s story has to be her persistence; her ability to provide for her family in the middle of a war with flowers… it just goes to show the true beauty and magic of flowers, and the impact they can have on an entire family.

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  473. Sarah on

    Beautiful flowers, and I love her focus on seeds and incorporating seed heads into arrangements. I also love how she worked with what she had in her garden already, and how she wasn’t concerned with it being “perfect”, but taking what she had and making it healthier and better. The part of her story that impacted me the most was when she talked about taking out a loan to get a new camera – something she could only do in peacetime and how she longed for that time of peace when she was able to do that. It struck me because taking out a loan is not something we’d consider in the Western world to be a privilege, but she felt herself privileged to be able to do that in peacetime. It made me think about how much we take for granted in our world, but how simple things really are and should be – like just taking a moment of solace in a garden with beautiful flowers like Alla.

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  474. Julie on

    Bringing beauty to our damaged world – such a noble challenge. Love.

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  475. Judy on

    Most inspiring young woman . Her beautiful spirit gently and peacefully invites you into her world of hope. This entire project is simply amazing Thank you for sharing, Erin. I feel forever changed.

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  476. Jane on

    Wow, Alma is a true inspiration for all gardeners! The love and joy she is able to experience from her beautiful flowers in the midst of great hardship brings a tremendous amount of respect for the courage she has to continue with her dream to bring more beauty into the world. May God richly bless you and you family and end this war you are living through each day. Thank you Erin for the kind and generous heart you have towards those experiencing great difficulties. This is a gift from God along with your ability to make the world more beautiful by spreading more flowers every where!

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  477. Donna McRoy on

    What touched my heart the most about Alla’s story, oh so many things. Her way of seeing the beauty in the little things, a flower, Her Grandfathers Fence, his apple trees. Treasuring family, respecting the past. Her honesty, dreading winter and yet the courage to persevere when faced with so many challenges. I pray for her families health and safety. Her story shows us all we have much to be grateful for and we must not take anything for granted !!
    May the Lord bless you Alla, and keep you. May His face shine upon you and give you Peace.

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  478. Lisa on

    Who would think that the world would come crashing down in the blink of an eye? But holding those seeds with so much life–nature always finds a way, and love keeps us forward. It’s time for peace in her world and across the globe. Thanks for the perspective.

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  479. Peggy on

    Such a beautiful and inspiring interview. In the midst of horror and hardship, to be able to turn a passion in to not only a way to continue to feel and see beauty, but also as a way to support her family is incredible.

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  480. Sabrena Orr on

    Alla has a beautiful aura with her love of flowers and gardening. She is an incredible inspiration in a scary and tumultuous worn-torn area. She is truly spreading seeds of hope and resilience.

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  481. Pilar Hernandez on

    I’m inspired by her photography, it’s so intime with the flowers. Very touching. She is so strong. Thanks for sharing her story.

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  482. Laurel Bush on

    I am in awe of Alla’s courage. In spite of overwhelming hardship, she has found a way to see beauty and to share it, while supporting her family. I pray it will be enough. I am so grateful that you told her story, and am looking forward to having some of Alla’s garden in my own.

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  483. Darla Wiebe on

    Hope. Seeing the beauty despite the darkness of war. Thank you for sharing Alla’s story. I cannot put into words how inspiring and at the same time challenging it is to me.

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  484. Katrina Scala on

    My Great Grandmother, Julia, was able to come to America before WWII and she worked to pay the way of her husband Andrew and their five children. When everyone was together, they had five more children, the youngest of which was my Grandmother, Anastasia. My Grandmother was a gardener, and from her, I learned to love the feel of the soil, the beauty of color and form, the hope that is a garden. As Alla walked through her garden, I felt like a little girl, walking with my Grandmother through her gardens. One of our last conversations, before she passed was had in her lily-of-the-valley patch. So beautiful, so simple, so sweet. Thank you Erin for bringing Alla to our lives, and thank you Alla for reminding me of my Grandmother, and reminding us that beauty is what will give us hope and rebuild our broken societies.

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  485. Meg on

    Thank you for this beautiful story of a lovely person .
    These personal stories bring the tragedy of the war in Ukraine to the light and touch hearts. I love that her garden is wild as is mine and that she lives all her flowers and is hard pressed to pick a favorite as any mother of a child would be!
    Thank you so much for sharing!
    Meg

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  486. Stede Barber on

    My challenges shrink as I listen to Allah’s story. Her devotion and commitment to beauty and love of her family in the midst of violence, lack, and despair is absolutely inspiring. Thank you Alla for you, and Erin and team for sharing this story full of hope and light.

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  487. Brenda Kerton on

    Wow, just wow. The documentary is sad, scary and yet hopeful. Alla’s attitude and resilience are inspiring. It also shows the power of gardening and flowers and how necessary these are to our human existence. Thank you to all involved in this project.

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  488. Michelle Enns on

    This is such an inspiring story! My dad has been to Ukraine on relief work a number of times in the last year, and the stories and pictures he brought back have opened my eyes. The contrast between the realities of war and the beauty of the countryside is just astounding. Keep on gardening, Alla! There is so much hope and joy in seeing new life spring forth! I wish you the very best as you battle through this hard winter.

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  489. Shelley on

    I just finished watching the documentary, so inspiring. That and this interview… I’m just so inspired by her courage to keep going despite circumstances that would break a lot of people. There is the saying that one does what one has to, but most of us are fortunate that we don’t have to also do it in the middle of a war.

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  490. Karen L on

    Okay – wow, I sort of expected what I was going to see in the films, but I did not expect to have tears – of hope and admiration – just in the First Look short. This was incredible story telling of such a brave, talented and giving person. Congrats on bringing this to life. I will be sharing this with my fellow gardeners.

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  491. Barbara Berger on

    The part of Alla’s story that impacted me the most was her tenacity despite all the physical and mental hardships and her belief that good will triumph over evil. She is an inspiration to the world and that inspiration comes through the beauty of flowers and appreciating the miracle of life emerging from the seeds that she cultivates and shares.

    She is a living example of all that is good in the world.

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  492. Kori Hendrix on

    Words escape me to express the core level that Alla’s story has touched my soul. She is you and I. She is our sister and friend. We could be her in a moment. Bound together by the roots of humanity, stretching for the light, sowing seeds of hope for a better tomorrow. Thank you Thank you Thank you

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  493. Inger Knudsen on

    Thank you for making this and making it available to your followers
    It is a wonderful story Very touching and wonderful
    I have a suggestion: When you go and buy Alla’s seeds Just buy 3 packages and 1 book This will set you back 45 euros
    but this will give her maximum income As she can probably easily sell her seeds because of Erin’s publicity
    But she cannot sell for 35 euro of seeds for very long

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  494. Jean Reynolds on

    The most interesting part of this interview for me was the discussion of her garden. The addition of generations of family gardeners demonstrates the legacy gardens can have.

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  495. Robin Gibson on

    Her courage, resilience, and abundant optimism, despite her circumstances, are what inspire me most. I have written several quotes from this interview, and the film, that I plan to post where I can see them every day, to continue to inspire me. I am in awe when I see her garden, hear more of her story, and see her photography. Thank You Erin, Rob, Chris, and your whole team for bringing the gift of her story to the world. Thank You Alla, for all the beauty, inspiration, and hope that you share with the world! I am in complete awe of you:)

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  496. Debby on

    Erin, thank you for sharing Alla’s story with us. Alla, thank you for sharing your heart with us.
    There is so much beauty all around us. Alla, I love that you find this beauty in so many small and simple ways. Nothing keeps you from smiling at a handful of seeds, searching for roses in the winter, or caring for your family. In the midst of war, you have shown the world, through your story, that one flower can hold a wealth of lessons for us. I pray you are able to continue sharing your garden with us and that the world hears your sweet voice in the midst of so much noise.

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  497. Heather Huerta on

    What impacted me the most about Alla’s story is her ability to find hope and joy and beauty in her broken country. Also, her desire to stay and care for and serve her family during such difficulty is humbling. She comments that life will not always be easy and works courageously gathering seeds to provide for her family, not knowing if it will be a success. She gives it her all without a guarantee. I love her sweet, gentle spririt. Her garden is so beautiful!

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  498. Darlene MacDonald on

    I loved hearing about Alla’s childhood experiences & her love of family that have influenced her work of bringing beauty to the world! I loved her childhood pictures & that she loved every flower as a young child; it so reminds me of my 3 year old grandchild Corita!
    Alla, please keep sharing your beauty & expertise with the world!
    Thank you Erin for reaching out & helping others in your field of work! So commendable! So looking forward to your series! Great idea!

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  499. Lea Kelly on

    Thank you for inviting Alla to share this story and for the investment of time and beauty to make it available for us! I love what she said here: “Growing from seeds is a journey that involves patience and care, and there is so much joy in witnessing life unfold.” I believe beauty and stories are like seeds too, and learning more about Alla and the generations of her family multiply our JOY during this Advent season. What a gift!

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  500. Sarah Eskenazi on

    I’m in awe if what Alla has created for herself and her family and her perseverance. But most of all I love that she doesn’t see the need to make her garden perfect. Instead she sees beauty, hope and renewal when in her gardens. I also love collecting seeds, starting and nurturing them as they grow.

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  501. Dawn Storandt on

    Alla’s story of perseverance and love of her family is portrayed so strongly in her story. She has found a way to use something she loves, gardening, to help provide for her family. Thank you for sharing her story. I know everytime I see a clematis I will think of and pray for her family.

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  502. Helen R on

    Such an inspiring story, thanks Erin for bringing it to us and to Alla for sharing. Every bit of her experience during such troubling times inspires me, and I wish her and her family (and indeed, her country) the best of what life has to offer.

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  503. Jennifer on

    Erin, thank you so much for sharing Alla’s story and working to bring her the sales and support she needs as she seeks to provide for her family. I feel like I can relate to Alla, as I too have been the overwhelmed caretaker and provider for my family as my husband battled a severe illness. Alla has so much to give to the world as she perseveres and endures and shares so much beauty as she walks her journey. Thank you for highlighting this.

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  504. Andi Atkisson on

    Alla’s story is full of beautiful hope amidst destruction and devastation. She is able to find the hope she needs to provide for her family. She’s an incredible inspiration!

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  505. Pat on

    I am left speechless and thankful for Alla’s story, such a beautiful soul! It certainly prompted me to put my life in perspective, I can’t imagine working in my garden with the sounds of war in in my ears and the thought of the destruction those sounds are causing. I have always had two or three a Clematis growing, plants purchased from the nursery. The thought of growing a Clematis from seed never entered my head until hearing Alla’s story and seeing her beautiful photography. I’m impressed by her patience and persistence and the challenges she faces to grow the number and types of Clematis she has. Her garden sounds perfectly imperfect to me, with the garden gate made by her great grandfather and saving the old peonies planted by her great grandmother, and then, there are the Clematis.

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  506. Stacey Carlock on

    All’s exudes passion, curiosity, and determination. In a situation that would force most to seek shelter inside, she allows her passion to propel her outside. She has shown the world there is beauty in a time of destruction, there is healing in a time of hurt, and hope and strength outweigh fear.
    Combining her family heirlooms and modern varieties in an “imperfect” sanctuary she shares with the world through the lense of her camera and the seeds that she sells will spread her beauty far beyond the war zone that surrounds her.
    Thank you for honoring her and her mission.

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  507. Tanja on

    Alla’s grit and determination, turning her love of flowers into a way to support her family and her grannie (I hope that she is well!) is both inspiring and heart warming. Thank you for sharing her story.

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  508. Lindsay Wadel on

    I am so blessed by Alla’s determination to provide for her family and to keep gardening even in scary times!

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  509. Christy on

    Thank you Erin for sharing this with all of us. The biggest impact for me is Alla persevering through extremely difficult times and while also taking care of her family, finds time to make her world a better place and full of beauty. I’m also inspired to know how many different varieties of clematis there are and can’t wait to plant some in my garden!

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  510. Kelley on

    I love hearing how her garden is an escape and a place of peace for her–many times I’ve felt the same about my garden <3

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  511. Karen B on

    What a wonderful story of inspiration and hope! When I watched the video, my heart was heavy, but I saw such joy in Alla’s face as she walked through her garden and harvested flowers to make a bouquet for her home. Her garden is truly her sanctuary in the midst of turmoil and uncertainty in her life. I loved what she said that “while you are alive and while you have the opportunity to make something productive, beautiful, and good there is always hope.” May God bless Alla and her family and may there be peace in Ukraine.

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  512. Marilyn Brinkley on

    alla’s determination under the present circumstances, and the way she finds beauty and shares it.

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  513. Judith Halliday on

    Alls has given us a real time glimpse of her garden sanctuary as the horrors of living in a war zone dominate her life. My heart is heavy for the ugliness and destruction but the beauty Alla finds in moments of calm her garden gives her are a blessing. Alla is a brave and beautiful soul and I pray for peace and beauty for Alla and her country.

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  514. Jann Carrier on

    So inspired by Alla. The reasons that we garden are that it is so healing to be present in the beauty of God’s work. I think of how terrible that would be to have to hear those sirens and witness the destruction but how hopeful it can be to escape to moments spent in her garden. I am praying for her safety and the safety of her people.

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  515. Darlene Drummond on

    I admire and respect her courage, determination to move forward, and fortitude under such trying times to care for her family and continue to find beauty under such adverse conditions. I am glad our Lord has provided her with such a beautiful sanctuary that helps her to heal and rejuvenate from the many difficulties and challenges she faces each and every day. I hope your sharing her story will benefit her and her family in so many positive directions. Her photographs are inspiring and have a Georgia O’Keeffee look about them. There a r e two of the qualities that left an impression on me. If she can carry on in her situation, I can also. May the Lord bless her.

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  516. Shaylina Ward on

    Alla has a beautiful story to tell and I’m so thankful for her passion and perseverance to find beauty and strength in her flower garden. My favorite part of this story is the history she talks about that is dating back to her grandparents. That is so special and how she talks about walking through the wooden gates to find comfort and peace for herself. Thank you for this lovely story and sharing the beauty of flowers.

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  517. Donna on

    Alla is or should be a role model for the world. She shows that through hard work and determination life can go on during very difficult situations. Gardening is a wonderful escape for her and a way to support her loved ones. It is amazing that she can show the beauty of her garden even in a time of a long, unnecessary war in her country.

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  518. Joanne Dubrow on

    I just cried at the beauty and courage of Alla’s story. A reminder to us in all we have to be thankful for, the simple things that are so easy to take for granted. What an inspiration with her positivity and perseverance towards a better future. I do love the wild an imperfect garden, that is very much how I garden and find comfort there. Thank you Alla for sharing your story, be safe and well.

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  519. Deb H on

    I’m so inspired by the hopefulness of Alla, and how she can get such a source of inspiration from her garden. The proximity to the border would be absolutely nerve-wracking for many, but to continue to grow and cultivate a place of beauty even knowing the risk of bomb damage shows courage and strength.

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  520. Debbie Thome on

    What a beautiful spirit inside and out, such a beacon of light and hope

    Reply
  521. Stacey Davis Jacobs on

    Seeing Alla put together the last arrangement of the season in the extraordinary documentary felt so familiar…but then I very quickly remembered that she is in a war zone. I thought of “Good Bones” by Maggie Smith: “This place could be beautiful, right? You could make this place beautiful.” She is making this place beautiful, and the idea of seeds from her gardens growing into beautiful flowers all over the world fills me with hope.

    Reply
  522. Julia Dawson on

    So inspirational! Such a different world from what we take for granted. What I loved was the first comments in the interview about the garden not being perfect and realizing this is a positive. In a very different world this is exactly how I feel about my garden. I’ve only just come to realize that’s how I prefer it to be and have the confidence to believe in my style of gardening and the fact that some of my favourite plants in my garden were planted by my grandparents. Brave Alla. Thank you for sharing.

    Reply
  523. Julie on

    Alla has been a wonderful example of perseverance and endurance under difficult daily challenges. The photographs are beautiful .

    Reply
  524. Shelly Zollinger on

    It is amazing how humans can rise above the bad life throws at us. Alla is amazing! It is all in your attitude. May we all rise above where we are as she has

    Reply
  525. andrea on

    Alla’s determination (writing by candlelight!) and positivity is an inspiration. I can’t wait to dive deeper into the world of clematis thanks to her encouragement.

    Reply
  526. Jen on

    I’m so grateful that she invested in herself. Survivor skill for life.

    Reply
  527. Stacey Diehl on

    I don’t often think about the things I take for granted, like having a decent camera. Anna got a loan for her camera and followed her passion. She is so sweet and wonderful!

    Reply
  528. Robyn Anglebrandt on

    In a world where for many materialism is where they seek their joy I love that flowers & things her late family have built & planted are what brings her true joy. Especially during such trials as war & sickness in the people that surround her. Through the lens of a camera it is like looking into the soul of the flowers who share their joy to those who seeks it. People just have to know where to seek such joy and She Found It! 🌸 God bless her, her family, & her flowers. Thank you for sharing Joy!

    Reply
  529. cori on

    Gardens are so unifying and healing. I love that hers is a sanctuary and an oasis. Thanks for sharing her story with us.

    Reply

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