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Phoebe Walsh: Flowers from the Frontline

British jewellery designer Phoebe Walsh has created a series of five miniature flower pressing books in recycled sterling silver, each containing a single war flower from the new frontlines in Kyiv. The project began in March when a brave Kyivan artist Olga Morozova agreed to go searching for flowers as her city fell ablaze.


Included in Garden Museum entry

Herbarium, of Olga’s Flowers, Courtesy of Philip Norman. The Herbarium of war flowers from Kyiv, picked by Olga Morozova. The miniature flower books contain some of these botanicals.

Each of the five miniature books are small enough to fit on the palm of your hand. A single rotating page inside each book contains a moment of flourishing frozen in time – a single botanical, picked from an unknown park in Kyiv as war descended and tore up the landscape. The war flowers, pressed and brought in books that once celebrated the great architecture of Kyiv, were picked by Morozova in the first spring as frost thawed and bombing raids tormented Kyiv.

The series was inspired by the Garden Museum’s collection of wildflower pressings, which includes flowers picked from the Eastern Front during WWI by soldier George Marr, and others pressed into a scrapbook by schoolgirl Jane Lindsay in 1956, found in London’s WWII bombsites where the Barbican would later be built.

Phoebe commented, ‘It was two days after Russia launched its assault on Ukraine, that I found myself seeking solitude in flowers at the Garden Museum, burying my head in old pressings of medicinal plants from the 17th century. There I was, unable to find the words to channel my feelings, and dreaming of remedies, methods of escaping the terrible events unfurling.’

The objects intend to spark a much-needed conversation about the continued atrocities happening in Ukraine. The series is a symbol of hope and flourishing in a time of great suffering. A reminder that while life may be fragile, is it resilient.  Alongside painting studies Olga made of Popudrenko park, there are botanicals picked from villages outside of Kyiv and illustrated journal studies.

Read our interview with Phoebe Walsh to find out more about the project