– Sydney John, your local horticulturist
By Naomi Parris
HORTICULTURE is considered to be the heart of humanity and for Sydney John, it is a love and passion that has turned into a business.
The 68-year-old family man who hails from Mocha-Arcadia, has always had a love for plants and agriculture.
John disclosed that he discovered his love for gardening at the very tender age of five years, but it was up until his teenage years he acted upon it.
Fresh out of graduating from the Guyana School of Agriculture (GSA), John began his career with a small kitchen garden and would sell his produce to the locals in his community and the teachers at his old primary school, the Mocha-Arcadia Primary School.
“Horticulturist that is what I am. I grow and sell plants, mainly ornamental and decorative plants. I started with this business on leaving the Guyana School of Agriculture. Planting was actually a hobby on leaving the agriculture school [and while] waiting for a job, I decided to plant the backyard,” he said.
He disclosed that he became well known in his community for his produce, which eventually landed him a job at his old primary school, teaching the youngsters of the community of the joys and benefits of gardening.
“My younger brother who was still in school used to take the produce and sell them to his teachers. Then, one teacher she came over to see where he is getting these greens from and then she saw me and she was impressed,” he said.
John told the Pepperpot Magazine that the time he spent teaching was some of the best years of his life. He stated that he took much pride in the work he was able to do at the school and for the many children that he thought.
“Whenever there was an exhibition or something with agriculture, they always come to Mocha-Arcadia Primary School for pictures, because it will be seeds there it will be land preparation, so they always come and get something to look at,” he said.
John disclosed that it was the stress and restrictions of the pandemic that got him back into gardening after a short hiatus while he was living abroad.
He told the Pepperpot Magazine that he was set to return to the United States when travel restrictions were imposed, which led to him staying in Guyana longer than he expected, and it somewhat brought him back to his roots John stated.
“I migrated to the United States [with] my family, because of family ties, [I] stayed there and I came back in January. I was planning to go back, but I didn’t get a chance to go back because of the COVID. So that gave me the push and more time to take care of the plants and do business,” he explained.
The man’s business, Floorage and Flowers, has been creating waves and to his surprise, he has been receiving tremendous support from other plant lovers during the pandemic. “Right now I get a lot of customers and I do business; I get like wholesale customers,” he said.
While he has turned his love into a business, John’s love for more plants is more than just a means of earning and providing for his family.
He says being around his plants creates a safe place for him. He explained that tending to his plants provides him with a sense of comfort, especially in difficult times.
Describing it as therapeutic, John said, “It’s like therapy. I enjoy doing it, I feel satisfied, I feel happy. It feels good to be among the plants.”