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Papua New Guinea

Sylvester’s special love for his rose garden

Sylvester Urakusie in his rose garden at Seigu village outside Goroka town.

By ZACHERY PER
THE sweet smell and the beauty radiated by roses often make Sylvester Urakusie weak at the knees.
He began his garden of roses in 2012. He planted different varieties of roses hoping that one day he will have all species in his garden at Seigu village outside Goroka town. He believes that the rose is a flower of love as the world has acclaimed for centuries.
“Pink roses are for love hopeful and expectant. White roses are for love dead or forsaken, but the red roses, ah the red roses, are for love triumphant.”
Today he has 48 species in his garden.
“I am aiming to collect as many as possible and am targeting 100 species – from grass to shrubs and trees. A few climbing roses that depends for support on other plants.”
Sylvester has so far identified four main groups – miniatures, shrubs, trees and climbers. His love for roses brought him to Port Moresby in May last year to attend a floriculture show at the Laguna Hotel. He brought three cartons of cuttings of 40 different varieties of roses which he plants at his garden at Seigu village.
“I met Australians, Europeans, Pacific Islanders, Asians and Papua New Guineans at the show who love and enjoy the species. Florist Florence Siale bought all my rose cuttings.”
His love for roses has also taken him to Port Moresby, Madang, Lihir, Bougainville and Lae.
“Today I have 230 customers who come to me for cuttings, blooming roses for special occasions like weddings.”
He urges people who want rose cuttings and flowers for weddings, funerals, birthdays, landscaping and beautification to contact him on his Sagalagaroses Facebook page.
In 2014, Sylvester exchanged 17 rose buds with his friend Leo Kuso who gave him a grape seedlings which he planted in his backyard.
Today, five years later, he is already harvesting the grapes.
“Four harvest already. I do not sell them but keep them for special visitors who come to visit me and my family. The roses and grapes are for kings and queens. When I grow roses and grapes in my village, I live like a king of Seigu.”
He lives in the village with his wife Ruth Rosale, plus daughters Suto, Aeno and Zela. His mother Betty also lives with them.
Sylvester is the eldest in a family of six. His siblings are Jocelyn, Gonzella (captain of the Bintangor Lahanis rugby league team), Seggy Homave, Nathan and Christopher (plays for the Lahanis too).
Sylvester attended East Goroka Primary School from 1989 to 1993 before furthering his education at the Goroka Secondary School from 1994 to 1997. He then enrolled at the PNG Education Institute to become a community teacher under the education reform. He is today teaching at the Seigu Elementary School.
He plans to become a recognised florist in PNG specialising in roses and grapes.
The only thing missing in his garden are the blue and black roses. He knows they grow in Jiwaka.
“I already have a green rose in my garden and I am looking for blue and black. If I find black roses, it’s a jackpot for me.”
Then his rose garden will be complete.

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