As the snows melt, their whiteness is rivalled by the delicate sprays of early fruit blossoms as seen across the dark background of the cypress trees ; while the pink mist of almond and apricot flowers shows in little patches of colour against the bare hillsides.
Soon the ground under the trees is carpeted with bulbs, scillas, tulips, crown-imperials, narcissus, hyacinth, fritillaries, and iris. Take up a box of old Kashmiri lacquer-work and see how the flowers and colours crowd together.
Lilac, jasmine,and carnations follow ; then, last and best of all, come the roses, giant bushes covered with huge, pink, fragrant flowers, such masses as are seen in Europe only in the pictures of some fairy tale. White roses too, and red and yellow; but the pink roses were always the artist's favourites'.
~ Gardens Of The Great Mughals
Inspired by the impeccable English garden of the hotel run by the O'Connell's in the Batwara suburb of Srinagar in pre-independence days, Ghulam Nabi Wani set up what was probably the first commercial nursery in Kashmir.
In his heyday Ghulam Nabi Florist, as he is popularly called, supplied flowers to Prime Ministers of Kashmir and India and his cutflowers graced the poshest hotels in the country.
Sadly his business could not escape the evil eye that has consumed Kashmir and his efforts are now largely restricted to his nursery in Shivpora. When thousands of his blooms burst forth in the spring, there is no lovelier place in Kashmir.
Kashmir Country Garden
How many kinds of sweet flowers grow
In a Kashmir country garden
I'll tell you now, of some those we know
Those that I miss you'll surely pardon
Daffodils, pansies and phlox
Marigolds and White Snowdrops
Lilacs, Lilies and tall Hollyhocks
Roses, Asters and Tulips
In a Kashmir Country Garden…
Most of the perennials in my garden have been sourced from his nursery, and though I do not really have the space for more plants, I still visit his nursery each planting season.
This week I scored a bounty of tulips, scented narcissi and irises for my spring garden. This link has some pictures from my garden – past and present.