Srinagar, July 16: Inspired by his grandfather, landscape designer Baramulla, Showkat Ahmad Lone wins hearts for his unique design of lawns, fountains and parks across Kashmir.
A resident of the Kantgagh area in Baramulla, Showkat was inspired by his grandfather who worked as a gardening supervisor. Showkat was trained by him.
Each year, the 28-year-old landscaper, with the help of his team, designs 100 to 150 parks across Kashmir.
Recalling his childhood memories with his grandfather, Showkat says that usually on weekends his grandfather often made him work with him.
âDuring my school years, I was attached to his business. Later, I developed a keen interest in this field. After graduating in economics, I graduated in floriculture and landscaping from Sheri-e-Kashmir University of Agricultural Science and Technology (SKUAST) Kashmir, âsays the designer.
Showkat has also taken online cortication courses in modern landscaping from foreign universities in order to develop further expertise in the field.
Five years ago Showkat enrolled in the Floriculture department in Baramulla as a grower. He later started his own flower nursery.
âAs my business grew, the number of my employees increased. Nowadays, landscaped garden design is in high demand in Kashmir and people want to design their exterior well, âhe said.
Showkat has a team of around 35 to 40 employees who work under its supervision and technical advice.
Elaborating on its human resources, Showkat said, âMy workforce is divided into three categories: skilled workers, tillage workers and rude workers. It also includes gardeners, transporters, fertilizer traders, masons, welders, loading vehicles, etc.
Six years ago, Showkat started an ornamental nursery on his ancestral land. Here he grows grass varieties such as Australian evergreen Kentucky, selection grass, Korean grass, and Bermuda grass.
He is now an expert in turf and pest management as well.
Showkat is the only person from Kashmir to have introduced the “cultivation of sod in the evergreen grass of Australian Kentucky in 2016”, which can survive down to -18 degrees Celsius.
âThere is demand in Kashmir. Sometimes we have more orders than we can handle. In such cases, we postpone them until next year. Now people are more and more aware of it, âhe said.
Satisfied with his business, Showkat said the valley’s youth are also stepping forward and adapting the profession with open arms.
The landscaper wishes to develop his commercial floriculture activity in the future. He said that over the past 20 years, the demand for flowers has increased several times.
âFloriculture has become one of the important commercial professions in agriculture. Commercial floriculture has become a high-tech activity taking place under controlled climatic conditions.
âMy goal is to develop the floricultural activity on a large scale and to hire more young people to create jobs. I always ask people to be connected to nature and save it, âhe said.
Showkat, said that in the summer he worked on the design, while in the winter he and his team prepared landscapes.
âWe offer services throughout the year at home. This also includes the layout of the tables, the design, etc. “, did he declare.