We have worked with Ukrainian communities to revive a garden in the city centre and provide a space for ‘peace and tranquillity’ with a Ukrainian nod, as the city prepares to host the Eurovision Song Contest on behalf of Ukraine.
Located off Park Lane behind John Lewis & Partners on the site of the former St Thomas’ Church – the third church to be built in the city – Memorial Gardens have been given a new lease of life by a group of Ukrainian refugees and others seeking refuge in Liverpool, together with Liverpool ONE and a number of partners.
The gardens, which have hosted a community planting event taking place today (Friday 21 April), have been redesigned to create a quiet space for both local residents and visitors to enjoy, offering an opportunity to take some time away from the wider celebrations while celebrating Ukrainian culture through nature and poetry.
The garden’s plants and flowers have been selected to reflect those that are culturally significant to Ukraine, with the grasses representing wheat which is a staple plant grown there and used to feed large parts of the world, and purposely grown marigolds, native to Ukraine, by Ukrainian refugees in Liverpool.
Other plants include poppies, mint and snowdrops, all of which have been chosen to reflect themes of love, loyalty, childhood, the motherland and home.
“We’re incredibly proud to be playing a part in the city’s Eurovision celebrations and the revamp of Memorial Gardens represents a lasting legacy for the people of Ukraine and the city of Liverpool, as we all countdown to Eurovision.
“With the hustle and bustle of celebrations across the region, we wanted to create a tranquil space for reflection and calmness, giving visitors a place to take some time out and have a moment or two to themselves.
“We’ve worked closely with a team of extremely dedicated volunteers from Liverpool’s Ukrainian refugee community, who have played an integral role in helping to make the gardens what they are now, and we are extremely grateful to them.
“We’re looking forward to giving not only visitors somewhere to visit during Eurovision, but also enabling local residents and Ukrainian refugees access to a community garden in the heart of the city, as a reminder of the time that we were united by music.”
“The revamp of Memorial Gardens is extremely special to us and will enable us to create a lasting legacy to the Ukrainian community here in Liverpool.Donna Howitt, Place Strategy Director at Liverpool ONE
As part of the revitalisation of Memorial Gardens, poems from Ukrainian artists are now displayed across the garden including Taras Shevchenko, one of the most well-known Ukrainian writers; as well as verses from contemporary poets Vyshebaba, who became a soldier, and Yuliya Musakovska.
Following the Eurovision Song Contest, Memorial Gardens will be managed as a therapeutic horticulture space by members of the local community.