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The Alliums of Flanders Fields

Last autumn, 50,000 Allium bulbs (ornamental onions) were planted at various famous and lesser-known First World War sites, from Tyne Cot Cemetery to Langemark’s German Military Cemetery, from Kemmel to the Iron Memorial in Nieuwpoort. The flowers will bloom in May and June.

What’s the Allium Action all about?

It’s to spread the message that we need to take care of biodiversity in Flanders by looking after our landscape. Every day we depend on clean air, clean water, healthy soil, and crop pollination. We have to take care of biodiversity in Flanders and make our region resistant to the threat of climate change.

The Alliums of Flanders Fields

The Alliums of Flanders Fields highlight the threat of ecological impoverishment, a lack of drinking water, flooding, and many other disasters that can affect not only Flanders but many places around the world. It’s becoming increasingly difficult for people, animals, and plants to survive, which in turn creates new hotbeds for conflict and war. As temperatures rise, we are seeing more and more insect and other animal species that haven’t adapted to this new climate and need to move to cooler climes.

Why in Flanders Fields?

It’s an initiative in this area that involves the close regional cooperation between cities, municipalities, residents, and visitors, in a popular and commentative landscape where the message of peace is paramount. The Alliums will help us remember the victims of war, and emphasize the need for peace on this planet.

Why plant Alliums?

The Allium is an ornamental onion that symbolises protection and avoiding danger. It’s easy to plant in the polders and hills of Flanders Fields. The Allium is also a favourite for bees and butterflies, so it’ll make a significant impact on biodiversity. This plant will flower for several years (in May/June) and is quite low maintenance. It was decided to plant a different plant in the region, which of course is usually known for its Poppies.

Where to see the Alliums

This map plots out all the Allium fields that will hopefully be a sea of purple in late May and June.

Feel free to send me your photos of the Alliums of Flanders Fields and I will be happy to add them here.

The Alliums of Flanders Fields

22 thoughts on “The Alliums of Flanders Fields”

  1. They are beautiful plants and will make a stunning statement, let’s hope they thrive ( they don’t like the soil too wet!)

    1. That’s a concern, considering the heavy rains we have had in Belgium over the last six weeks or so, and particularly in West Flanders. Thanks Elaine.

  2. Didn’t know they symbolise protection and danger avoidance. Always learn something interesting from you. Thank you!

  3. Interesting! Should be quite a sight. I think the archeologists found the remains of onions with the pharaohs’ mummies, not for afterlife snacking, but as a symbol of eternal life. This seems like a great idea.

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