Garden and tree nursery
Roberto Rappaccioli, the founder of the Garden had never thought about gardening or working with ornamental plants when he was younger. After spending some time and living in London and Rome in the early seventies, he returned to Nicaragua to live on his coffee farm on the Pan American highway, one kilometer from Diriamba. He returned after the earthquake in 1972. He received inspiration from a good friend, a well known painter Omar D’ Leon about developing the garden. Omar D’ Leon used to live in the Gottel Valley just outside of Managua in an impressive garden which was supported by the sale of his paintings and income from inherited lands.
“Omar started giving me plants that caught my attention and he started to introduce me to the magical world of ornamental plants.” Says Don Roberto, as he is best known in Diriamba.
In the 80’s Roberto decided to stay in Nicaragua and reside on his coffee farm, therefore; it wouldn’t be expropriated by the Sandinistas.
In making that decision to stay, Roberto took care of his coffee plantation, including the harvesting of the coffee and started gardening as a hobby because he had the land, the water, the climate, the interest and the time. During that time he started growing tropical plants and flowers. He acquired these plants and flowers from friends like Omar and other gardens from families who owned and operated rich coffee farms. He acquired flowers that he had never seen before, let alone the people of Carazo or Nicaragua. He pioneered the growing of some tropical plants including, Heliconias (Wagnerians, Caribeans, Colinsianas etc.). Also, Torch Gingers, Shampoo Ginger, Travellers Palms, Birds of Paradise and many other tropical species of plants that were imported from other countries.
Roberto opened up the garden to the public and started selling plants and making beautiful flower arrangements for special occasions or for homes for people to enjoy. Roberto is now well known all around Nicaragua for his striking flower arrangements made with fruits and flowers grown in his lush jungle like garden.
A well known writer from Chontales, who now lives in Jinotepe, “Anastasio Lovo,” describes Roberto’s garden in his novel, “ The Woman Forgotten by Love,” in the following manner: “ Roberto has made one of the most beautiful gardens in Nicaragua …. Roberto’s garden has something of savage beauty, tropical, exuberant, luminous, polychromatic, mysterious and passionate. It is a green Labyrinth, multicolour without centre but of resplendent beauty.”
Mr. Rappaccioli (B. 1941) went to a private school in England for four years, taking advantage of the fact that his step Grandfather was Nicaragua ‘s Ambassador to the United Kingdom . (The Ambassador was also the son of Nicaragua ‘s best known poets, “Ruben Dario.”). Afterwards he finished High School, attending a private school in Florida ran by the Benediction Order and went on to achieve an Associates Arts Degree from the University of Florida. After receiving his Degree he came back to work in Nicaragua. He was Credit Manager at the Kodak company in Nicaragua for a couple of years and In 1967, he opened the first “discothèque” in Nicaragua which became the legendary “La Tortuga Morada”, a historical landmark in Nicaragua. The name Tortuga Verde is of course, in remembrance of the disco.