Plant nurseries are a lucrative market in Kashmir, with demands for flowering and other garden variety plants soaring every year as spring approaches. The saplings are purchased by private residents looking to populate their lawns but also the government that beautifies several parks and offices across Jammu and Kashmir.
There are at least six heritage Mughal gardens across Srinagar besides several kilometers of highways and roads along which assorted ornamental plants are planted every year in March. A large number of residential houses with lawns and gardens also purchase ornamental plants.
Last year nursery owners say they have suffered losses to the tune of up to eighty percent of their business as spring coincided with the lockdown imposed to curb the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic. This year, however, weather vagaries have added to their worries.
After witnessing an early spring, Kashmir is seemingly under a cold spell as weather vagaries have brought with it an intense spell of rainfall and chilly winds. As the weather remains inconducive, potential customers are preferring to delay plantation of saplings till sunny days arrive.
Owais Ahmad, who runs a plant nursery in downtown Srinagar’s Munawarabad area, said that March is the peak season of business for nursery owners but owing to the prevailing weather conditions, few customers have purchased saplings so far.