Last year saw the first Canna Lilies for Ukraine fundraiser in Portage la Prairie, and it's happening again now. Mitchell Omichinski initiated the effort and says this year's edition is a little different.

"The funds being raised this year are to directly help the resettlement of Ukrainian refugees in the Portage area, whereas last year, we were sending the funds to charities for the global aspect of the Ukrainian situation," says Omichinski. 

He notes they raised about $3,000 last year, and they're hoping to do better this time around.

"We have a little more leeway this year because, the way we're doing it, our costs are down, or less," continues Omichinski. "So, we have more funds available for net proceeds, put it that way."

Canna Lilies are Zone 9 to 10 plants, and are more of a tropical variety. 

"They provide a pretty nice background for whatever you may be growing in front of them," notes Omichinski. "We have two varieties as last year. The one variety is a little shorter -- three to five feet total. The other one's from five to seven feet. The shorter one has a lighter green foliage, and the taller one has a slightly darker foliage which is kind of purple. They both have the same orange, red flower spike, and you can expect flowering from, say, mid-July through August, right up to freeze-up."

Canna LiliesPackage of 4-5 bulbs

Omichinski explains a number of locations are providing the lilies.

"One of our initial sources, the Trinity United Church, is on 15 Tupper St. S during their regular business hours 9 to 12, and 1 to 4," adds Omichinski. "Rona is also handling it right at their till and during all their business hours. And then, Canadian Tire is just coming on, as well. As of today, they'll be getting products. So, they'll be putting it in display and handling that for us."

He says Rona donated the packaging using bags of sets that you can pick up. The labelling, itself, was done by Hutterite brethren at Baker Colony. 

"The packaging contains four to five tubers, or bulbs, for growing," says Omichinski. "Many of them have multiple growing stems. So, when you plant it in the ground, you'll get several stems coming up. There are four to five to a bag and you can spread them around. We're asking for a $10 donation -- pretty reasonable, we think, for the lilies. And it's great to mix and match, I would think, from the two varieties."

Omichinski says there are two events taking place which will have Canna Lilies available for purchase. One was at the Kozak Siromaha concert at the Army and Navy venue Wednesday night, and all day, this coming Saturday, there will be a table set up at the Co-op Supermarket. 

He adds Portage Learning and Literacy Centre also partnered with them on the effort, Whoop and Hollar Folk Festival provided peat moss, and Help Ukraine Portage is another partner.