Besides the efforts put up by J&K administration to boost the tourism industry in Valley, there are some real makers of the garden who worked day and night for months to prepare the destination for the visitors. According to the officials the preparations in this regard were on for months before the garden was thrown open. A coherent toil of around 100 gardeners who worked day and night to make the garden beautiful and mesmerizing is worth to praise.
Few gardeners who spoke to Rising Kashmir expressed glad of being part of beautifying the Asia’s largest Tulip garden. According to them the flock of tourists to the destination is enough recognition of their work worldwide.
“I have been here for many years and I gave my youth to this garden. This year we have around 1.5 million tulips and other types of flowers due to hard work we used”, a gardener told Rising Kashmir.
He said we feel glad when our eyes witness thousands of tourists coming here from different parts of country and outside. “This is really a reward and recognition of our work”, he said.
An official of Floriculture Department said the process of preparing the garden was taken up in November 2021 and the department pressed its workforce continuously for three months to ensure the Tulips will bloom at an appropriate time. He said around 100 gardeners were pressed into services in Asia’s largest Tulip garden.
“Today when garden has been opened for three days and flock of tourists are making their entry into the garden, it gives much happiness to us”, Mohammad Sarwar, a Gardener said.
Pertinently this year the garden has been made much more attractive with many other additions. More trees and shrubs have been added along with an open-air cafeteria for visitors. Also the Tourism Department is planning to make available various kinds of Kashmiri breads and tea in the garden.
The tourists can be seen excited while moving to garden to enjoy beautiful visuals and traditional Kashmiri cuisines including Saffron Kehwa.
Keeping the flow of tourists into account, authorities are hoping that there will be a record number of tourists visiting the valley in coming months to enjoy the scenic visuals of Tulip Garden.
Tulip Garden has more than 1.5 million tulips and 68 different varieties this year. The garden is spread on an area of 30 hectares of land at the foothills of Zabarwan hills and overlooking the famous Dal Lake.
“The Department of Floriculture has planted 68 varieties in the garden which include tulips, daffodils, hyacinths, and spring-flowering trees. We have more than 70 gardeners working in the garden who worked day and night throughout the year to make this garden beautiful,” said Dr. Inam Ahmad, Incharge Tulip Garden.
Terming the role of gardeners “pivotal” in preparing the garden, Dr. Inam said their lots of hard work is the influence behind good footfall of tourists here. “The making of beds, bulb sowing, to protect them from unwanted weeds and diseases is coherent toil by Gardeners. Had they neglected their sincerity in their work, it would not have become possible today to see thousands of non-local visitors here”, Dr. Inam said.
The Incharge Officer while replying to the figures of visitors said, the initial response is great and we are sure it will improve in coming days as huge number of tulips is yet to bloom, which will extend the opening of garden for more days.
Besides visitors, the management of Tulip garden has been approached by filmmakers across India to shoot their movies in the garden. “We have been approached by many filmmakers who want to shoot their movies here. We welcome them to come and shoot here”, Dr Inam told.
The Tulip Garden in Srinagar was opened in year 2007 to promote tourism in the valley. It’s been the main attraction for tourists visiting the valley in the spring season. As per the official data, millions of tourists have visited the garden in the last few years.
This year the garden has been thrown open earlier than previous years to ‘pre-pone’ the spring tourist season in the valley. The Government is also planning to organize a grand tulip festival in the garden in coming days.
The Department concern has made adequate arrangements for the convenience of visitors. “We have kept sanitizers, wheel chairs (for ailing), lavatory blocks, benches, potable water coolers etc for convenience of visitors”, Dr. Inam said.
“Tulips can be grown in full sun or partial shade. However tulip grown in hills requires a day temperature of 20-25 degree Celsius while it requires night temperature of 5-12 degree Celsius”, the Gardeners who were maintaining watch and ward amid flow of visitors told Rising Kashmir.
They said soil requirement is a vital factor in Tulip cultivation, and added “Tulip bulbs are grown on slopes where drainage is naturally good. Therefore Tulips require well-drained light sandy loam soils for better growth and yield”.
“Land should be prepared by getting the soil to fine stage and removing any weeds from previous crop. Further soil should be supplemented with appropriate garden compost. In case of poor drainage, it is better to prepare raised beds”, Ghulam Nabi, a Gardener said.
He said tulip bulbs should be planted 5 to 8 cm deep at spacing of 15 cm x 10 cm.
The Gardener said, in Kashmir we find various types of tulips including standard, parrot, fringed, Rembrandt, festeriana, triumph, Darwin hybrids, kaufmanniana, viridflora, double, lily flowering, single late and others.
About preparations of planting, Ghulam Nabi said bulbs grow best in soils of high quality and the purpose of the long term preparations of land for bulbs is to raise the fertility of the soil by generous manuring. It is generally agreed that high soil fertility should be maintained.
He added the selection of site is one of the key factors of growing bulbs. “Most tulips do best under full sun or at least under 6 hours of bright sun each day. Some varieties will also grow in partial or full shade. Therefore care has to be taken to select the site on the basis of variety to be opted”, they said.
“For commercial growers, the bulbs can either be hand planted or plough planted. Through plough planting 8-10 inch wide furrows are set by either single furrow plough or ridger bodies. The depth of planting is an important consideration for high bulb planting. The ideal depth of 12.5-15cm is recommended depending upon the size of the bulb”, they added and maintained, “Tulips can be planted from October to January under specific climatic conditions ranging from open field to protected conditions.”
Meanwhile folks of local and non-local tourists were seen visiting to the garden, with roads leading to the destination were jam packed since its opening.
Speaking to Rising Kashmir, several tourists termed their visit “dream come true experience” and appealed people across to visit Kashmir once in a lifetime to have a glimpse of mesmerizing and heaven like beauty on earth.
Horticulture Expert, Dr. Nasir Masoodi is however seeing the opening of Tulip garden with the advancement of tourism activities in Valley. He said tulip bulbs are the largest trade production in the world and people at local level are fond of producing bulbs at own.
Dr. Masoodi said there is a huge difference between tulips being planted in Delhi and Kashmir, saying “The life span of tulip bulbs in Delhi is only one seasonal while it remains forever in Kashmir”. He said tulip bulbs in valley gives highest production from other crops in per unit area and is more beneficial from other crops in terms of output.
“If we plant bulbs on 1 kanal of land, it can easily produce 10 thousand bulbs and growers can get 1 to 1.5 lac income easily out of it”, Dr. Masoodi said.