CHITRAL: Floriculture has become a fully-fledged and roaring business for many in recent times in Chitral. The sale of saplings starts with the advent of spring season and continues till late summer.
The rising number of outlets selling flower saplings and the nurseries in and around the Chitral town are on the rise with a good number of owners belonging to Batkhela, Dargai and some parts of Punjab.
Rich species of flowers are available in the nurseries majority of them are said to be new to the locals.
Javid Ahmed, a local floriculturist, said he had special penchant for flowers from his childhood and seeing prospects of the business of flower production, he had switched to it leaving behind his mobile telephone outlet.
He said almost all the varieties of flowers were alien to Chitral as only cut flowers of a few species were planted here in the past which had also been given up as they occupied a large space and their flowering season was limited to many days.
Mr Ahmed said the alien species started blossoming from spring till the advent of autumn and occupying only small spaces, they adorned the homes and offices, while some of the species recurred themselves next year by way of dispersal of their seeds.
He said almost all varieties of flowers were raised in the local nurseries.
“The species of pansy, geranium, marigold, petunia, tulip, lily, common daisy, iris and dahlia are most sought-after while the alien rose species has the highest demand,” he said, adding the prices were not higher than those in the neighbouring areas of Timergara, Chakdara, Batkhela and Dargai.
A rush of buyers, including women and children, can be seen in the nurseries these days, especially on Sundays.
Iqbal Hayat, an amateur floriculturist from Hone village, said floriculture was gaining popularity among the affluent who adorned their homes with rich varieties of flowers. He said flower shops were yet to be opened in the city as custom of using flower bouquets on different occasions of merriment or placing floral wreaths on graves had yet to take currency here. He said the prices of flower saplings were still beyond the purchasing capacity of common man.
Mr Hayat felt nostalgic for the local varieties of flowers some of which he named as ishperu gulab, zerbali, khorur, rajuli, gulsambar and thoron, and said they had long been abandoned by people though they had no substitutes.
He said the former rulers of Chitral patronised floriculture to a great degree.
Published in Dawn, April 1st, 2019