Floret Flowers interview with Lemon Tree Trust founder Stephanie Hunt

A small selection of the Floret Seeds donated to our emergency Seed Appeal
A small selection of the Floret Seeds donated to our emergency Seed Appeal

Huge gratitude and thanks go to Erin Benzakein, Becky Crowley and all the team at Floret Flowers. As well as a generous donation of Floret seeds to our emergency ‘Gardener to Gardener’ Seed Appeal, Erin has published a lovely interview feature with our founder Stephanie Hunt on the Floret website.

In the feature, Stephanie chats to Erin about why displaced people in the Kurdistan Region of Iraq want to garden and the benefits that gardening brings. She shares our work over the last five years and vision for the future, plus what life is like in camp for residents and the current impact of Covid-19:

– Ahmed Ibrahim Ismail is from Syria and lives in Domiz 2 camp, Kurdistan Region of Iraq. He wrote: “I have a humble garden at my house. I started working on it two years ago with my children, and we have spent many good times in it, especially since the coronavirus curfews have been in place. My garden contains 20 different types of rose; each one has a different color. I also grow grapes, figs, cypress, and pine.”

– Hadeya Ezzeldin Ismail is also from Syria. She lives in Gawillan camp, Kurdistan Region of Iraq. She wrote: “I started gardening three years ago to keep myself busy and for the comfort it brings. I now spend five hours every day in my garden, cleaning and watering. My favorite plants are grapes, roses, mint, and parsley. COVID-19 has affected us all psychologically, but it has had a particularly negative impact on the children here. My family and I spend time in the afternoons sitting together in the garden we have made.”

– Khokhi Hasso Silo is 39. She lives in Khanki camp with her husband and six children, having fled to the Kurdistan region from Chinchal in Iraq to escape ISIS. She wrote: “We are people used to living in villages in the countryside, and we used to visit neighbors and relatives a lot. Coronavirus has deprived us of that, and this has been very difficult. It has also deprived people of their livelihoods. At home people feel bored because of unemployment, and we must occupy ourselves in order not to be overcome by negative thoughts. We occupy ourselves with our garden. We grow and harvest clean and fresh food, and it gives us somewhere to sit with each other, and this helps us psychologically.”

Read the interview.

Left to right: Aveen Ibrahem, Operations Manager, Stephanie Hunt, Founder and CEO
Left to right: Aveen Ibrahem, Operations Manager, Stephanie Hunt, Founder and CEO

We’re thrilled to welcome Hamid Abdullah to the Lemon Tree Trust as our Horticulture & Landscape Consultant. Based in Erbil, in the Kurdistan Region of Iraq, Hamid will support Aveen and our team with horticulture training and landscape design for existing and new projects.  We asked him a few questions to get to know him better:  Which landscape designers are you influenced by and why?  … Continued

One thing that Covid-19 has highlighted is that gardening has no borders. We are all finding solace in our personal green space, wherever we are in the world. Your support throughout 2020 and beyond – whether that’s sending seed to our emergency appeal, making a one-off or regular donation via our JustGiving page, or liking, … Continued

Many thanks to Annie Guilfoyle and Noel Kingsbury at Garden Masterclass who are inviting members to make a donation to Lemon Tree Trust when attending special member events. So far member events have included a debate on ‘What makes a great garden plant’ between horticulturalists and gardeners Edward Flint, Bob Brown and Andi Strachan on … Continued