Being surrounded by flowers every day and taking in its sweet smell every morning is a blessing for 67-year-old Ula Tiko.
Originally from Samoa, Ula met her soul mate and husband, Joape Tiko in New Zealand and they moved to Fiji in 1974.
As with all sweet endings, the beginning is not always that rosy and for the young couple, they had to sacrifice a lot to nurture their young family and provide a stable foundation.
"We lived in Narere in a small house and my husband worked hard to ensure that we were clothed and fed and that the children went to school," explained Ula.
After a few years, the family purchased a house in Colo-i-Suva and it has been their home and fortress ever since.
Looking back at all those years, Ula says that she is happy and proud that her family has come this far in life.
With five children and six grandchildren, Ula says that nothing would have been possible without the guidance and love in serving God.
"When we moved to Colo-i-Suva, it was practically forests all around and it made me appreciate God's creation even more and I guess that is how my passion for flowers began," she smiled.
The hardworking woman says that she began planting flowers for her church so that there would be fresh flowers every time a service was held.
"We attend the Butt Street Church and after a few times, I was advised to join a flower group."
"I guess people could see my potential as well," she smiled softly.
Ula says that making money out of flowers was farthest from her mind as she intended to join merely for the fellowship time with other flower lovers.
After stabilizing herself in the growing of flowers and doing small flower arrangements, Ula along with a few other women decided to start a larger organisation.
"That is how the Suva Orchid Horticultural Circle was formed and I am proud to say, is still running today."
With over 100 members, the group has grown from strength to strength and has even proved their worth in flower shows around New Zealand and Australia.
Ula is grateful to the support and encouragement that the Department of Agriculture had rendered to them for years.
"Their timely advice and assistance have always been a source of inspiration to us as flower growers," smiled Ula.
Ula's love for flowers is not diminishing anytime soon and she is still seen wandering around the flower garden at odd times of the day.
"There is something about flowers that just draws us to them and its various colours and sizes when arranged together can create a feeling that no one can describe," she said.
"Flowers say a lot of things when no words can describe our feelings like how sorry we are or trying to tell a person that you love them," added Ula.
This year will be a different year for Ula as she will be competing for the prestigious award for women in floriculture of the year award at this year's Crest Fiji Agriculture Show which will be held in Lautoka from the 6th-11th of August.
According to senior agricultural officer (Lau) Mere Salusalu, Ula like many other flower growers have shown a great commitment to what they do and that is tending to their flowers day in and day out.
"You will be surprised to see the number of women along the Suva-Nausori corridor who are full-time house wives as well as a few men that have been creating their own theme-parks in their backyards with their flowers," said Mrs Salusalu.
"Ula's flower garden was the last one that I had come to judge and we will be meeting in a few days time to see who will get the award at the Crest Fiji Agriculture Show in a few days time."
Ula and her husband recently purchased 12 acres of land in Pacific Harbour in which they have started their own farm consisting of assorted vegetables, fruits and root crops.
"It's amazing what we reap after having sown various seeds and at the moment, we have been harvesting and selling them for $5.00 a plastic of assorted vegetables to our regular customers," she smiled.
"The vegetable garden is in fact Joape's baby and I go along and support him and I am just so grateful for the opportunity to still be toiling the land as farmers," she laughed.
Ula is still doing floral arrangements for any type of gatherings such as birthdays, weddings, funerals etc.
Her passion for flowers is not dying out any time soon.
"In fact, I get to wake up to a flower garden every morning so my passion keeps building every day," she laughed.
Her secret to success is to be honest and always serve God.
"You will never go wrong if you do just that," she smiled heartily.
Ula hopes to meet with interested flower growers at the Crest Fiji Agriculture Show in Lautoka this week.
"You could not miss us at the Crest Fiji Agriculture Show even if you wanted to as we would be surrounded by flowers."
nKuini Waqasavou is an Information staff member at the Ministry of Primary Industries