Srinagar, July 16: Inspired by his grandfather, Baramulla landscape designer, Showkat Ahmad Lone is winning hearts for his unique lawn, fountains and parks design across Kashmir.
Resident of Kantgagh area of Baramulla, Showkat was inspired by his grandfather who worked as a gardening supervisor. Showkat was trained by him.
Each year, the 28-year-old landscape designer, with the help of his team, designs 100-150 parks across Kashmir.
Recalling his childhood memories with his grandfather, Showkat says usually on weekends, his grandfather would often make him work with him.
“During my school days, I was attached to his business. Later, I developed a keen interest in this field. After completing my graduation in economics, I did a diploma in Floriculture and Landscape designing from Sheri-e-Kashmir University of Agricultural Sciences and Technology (SKUAST) Kashmir,” says the designer.
Showkat has also completed online cortication courses on modern landscape designing from foreign universities also to develop more expertise in the field.
Five years ago, Showkat registered himself in the Floriculture department in Baramulla as a grower. Later he started his own flower nursery.
“As my business increased so did the number of my employees. Nowadays garden landscape designing is in great demand in Kashmir and people want to design their outdoors well,” he said.
Showkat has a team of around 35-40 employees who work under his supervision and technical guidance.
Elaborating about his human resource, Showkat said, “My manpower is divided into three categories: skilled workers, soil preparation and rough laborers. It also includes gardeners, transporters, fertilizer shopkeepers, masons, welders, loading vehicles etc.”
Six years ago, Showkat started an ornamental nursery in his ancestral land. Here he grows turf varieties such Australian Kentucky evergreen, selection grass, Korean grass and Bermuda grass.
He is now an expert in turf and pest management also.
Showkat is Kashmir’s only person who introduced “Sod culture in Australian Kentucky evergreen turf in 2016” which can survive up to -18 degree Celsius.
“It has demand in Kashmir. Sometimes, we have more orders than we can handle. In such cases, we postpone them for next year. Now people are becoming more aware of it,” he said.
Satisfied with his business, Showkat said youth in the valley are also coming forward and adapting the profession with open arms.
The landscape designer wants to expand commercial floriculture business in future. He said in the past 20 years the demand for flowers has risen many folds.
“Floriculture has become one of the important commercial trades in agriculture. Commercial floriculture has emerged as a hi-tech activity-taking place under controlled climatic conditions.
“My aim is to expand the floriculture business on a large scale and engage more youth to generate employment. I always ask people to be connected to nature and to save it,” he said.
Showkat, said during summer he works on designing, while in winter he along with his team prepare landscapes.
“We provide services throughout the year at people’s doorsteps. It also includes table arrangements, designing etc.,” he said.