The struggle to save the plants of Kyiv’s Botanical Garden: ‘Great national loss’

Click to play video: 'Putin claims he’s ‘ready to negotiate’ over Ukraine war'
Putin claims he’s ‘ready to negotiate’ over Ukraine war
Russian President Vladimir Putin is insisting he's prepared to have discussions about the war in Ukraine, as the death toll rises from a Russian strike on the city of Kherson. Mackenzie Gray explains why Ukraine and the West are skeptical about Putin's intentions, and how Ukrainians are defiantly celebrating Christmas – Dec 25, 2022

In the lush greenhouses of Kyiv’s National Botanical Garden, staff are struggling to save a decades-old collection of tropical plants after months of Russian attacks on Ukraine’s power grid led to electricity outages, threatening the garden’s heating supply.

“These collections cannot be restored. This is not a greenhouse with cucumbers and tomatoes… The loss of this collection would be a great national loss for Ukraine,” said Lyudmyla Buiun, responsible for tropical and subtropical plants.

“Plants cannot be told… ‘please endure, because today it is -15 degrees (Celsius).’ It is impossible,” she said, pointing out signs of cold damage on some plants.

Breaking news from Canada and around the world sent to your email, as it happens.

The plants would face a serious crisis if the temperature in the greenhouse dropped below 15 degrees Celsius, she added.

Story continues below advertisement

Finding ways to maintain a tropical climate in a freezing Kyiv hit by frequent power outages, is very difficult, and garden workers are now pre-emptively heating the greenhouses by burning firewood, although smoke poses a risk to plants.

Click to play video: 'Ukraine soldiers attend Christmas mass in Kharkiv as some families separated by war'
Ukraine soldiers attend Christmas mass in Kharkiv as some families separated by war

They would usually create heat by burning wood in electric ovens. However, the frequent power cuts disrupt the heating cycle and it takes hours to restart the ovens, boiler room operator Yurii Nai said.

The garden’s administration has now connected to Kyiv’s central heating system to have a backup, but fears further missile strikes on the power grid.


(Reporting by Ivan Lyubysh-Kirdey, Writing by Alexandra Hudson, Editing by Peter Graff)

Sponsored content