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August 12, 2010

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Gardener feels rosy about city

FRENCHMAN Benoit Hochard, with only one arm, takes care of the colorful roses in front of the Rhone-Alpes Pavilion at the Urban Best Practices Area at the World Expo.

Hochard, 45, who lost one of his arms in a motorcycle accident 21 years ago, came to Shanghai last October and began to grow roses for the pavilion.

The garden brings life to the UBPA with its 700 square meters of roses. And the roses, a hybrid of a French and Chinese rose, have been specially selected for the Expo.

"The roses will be best in October after they suffer through the summer heat," the gardener told Shanghai Daily yesterday.

Hochard arrives at the pavilion at 7am every day to look after his "babies."

"I hope the roses will be preserved in front of the pavilion after the Expo," he said.

After the Expo ends, the Rhone-Alpes Region will help plant some French roses in Fuxing Park in Luwan District.

According to Hochard, Fuxing Park, with its thick trees and other plants, is quite suitable for the roses.

Hochard, who has been cultivating roses for 25 years, simply said: "I love them. And I may end my career in Shanghai."

Hochard has cooperated with a farm in Fengxian District for over a year and he feels happy about growing roses with Chinese people.

"I will continue to work at the farm after the Expo ends on October 31, guiding local farmers to cultivate better roses," Hochard said.

And some of the roses grown in Fengxian will be transplanted to Fuxing Park.

He said he will host a rose exhibition in Fengxian next spring. And if it is successful, he would like to hold exhibitions across the country.

Even though he has only one arm, he said it doesn't slow him down.

"I'm not a disabled person," he said, even though he is aware others may feel awkward or embarrassed when they meet him.

There's only one thing the gardener is unhappy about here. He has nowhere to grow his own roses at his downtown apartment.

"I hope I can have my own rose garden in Shanghai as I do in France," Hochard said.


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