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Plant nurseries increase dramatically.

Summary: "It is hard to breathe in this region since all types of houses are just walls and rooms.

The Kurdish globe By Zakariya Muhammed Due to a radical change in the design of housing projects in the Kurdistan Region, most of the houses in the new neighborhoods have no gardens in the front yard. Nowadays people prefer to have houses with as many rooms as possible without thinking of allocating spaces for gardens in the front yards.

The likely underlying reason is that people cannot afford to buy a big piece of land with enough room to build gardens. Many people only purchase 100 square meter pieces of land and due to the subsequent lack of space they only build rooms on it. The increase in the population and the numerous cars and factories has made gardens become a necessity for every single house.

However, as gardens consume a lot of space, people have resorted to buying pots with flowers and small plants in order to put them in the front yards or reception rooms.

"It is hard to breathe in this region since all types of houses are just walls and rooms. There are no gardens in the houses anymore. I don't really blame those whose houses are small and have no space for a garden, but what make me mad is seeing huge houses with no green grounds," said Ahmad Othman, a 30 year-old Erbil resident, as he was taking a tour among the flowers at the Ashna Plant Nursery in Erbil.

Since Othman is living in a 100 square-meter house with no garden, he visits the nurseries regularly to buy new pots and flowers for his small yard. "I have eight pots and with different flowers and I came here to buy some more. If I own a house in the future, I will put flowers and plants with trays everywhere in the yard and in every single room," noted Othman.

Despite the decrease of homes with gardens in Kurdistan, plant nurseries are increasing dramatically in the Kurdistan Region. There are over 70 nurseries in the city of Erbil with hundreds of small shops in the neighborhoods for selling plants and containers.

In Zanko, which is one of the neighborhoods where most of the university professors and instructors live, there are 16 nurseries supplying plants. Most of them often grow plants in greenhouses, designed to protect young plants from hot and cold weather, while allowing access to light and ventilation.

"We have all types of plants and flowers in our nursery. We give instructions of how to keep the plants to all those who buy things here," said Muhammad Ahmad, a nurseryman at the Shwan Nursery in Erbil.

Shade plants, sun perennial flowers, flowering bulbs, roses, flowering vines, flowering trees, and drought tolerant plants are some of the products Shwan Nursery have in its greenhouse for sale.

Most of the products are either from Turkey or Holland, said Muhammad, adding "We used to bring young plants in Syria but due to security issues we stopped bringing them anymore. People like Turkish products better nowadays because they are cheap and beautiful." Shwan Nursery also provides gardening suppliers and fertilizers to its customers and gives them instructions of how to grow the plants using the soil and trays in the best way.

When asked why some plants dry very soon, Muhammad said "that is because some people don't treat the plants well; if they go by our instructions, the plants remain green and grow bigger." Muhammad asks the government to provide the nurseries with big pieces of lands with enough water resources in order that the local products can be better promoted and business can be increased.

Some people think nurseries need to have experts who are knowledgeable about pests and diseases that plague certain species, or which plants have the root system that contributes to controlling soil erosion, reduce water wastage and aids water penetration in the soil.

"I bought a tree last time but it dried very soon. I believe most of the trees over here can't bear the hot weather of this region," Shorish Jaf, 21, while touching leaves of a tree at the Ashna Nursery.

Jaf loves trees at home and he changes plants and flowers every season, "some of the flowers are only beautiful during a specific season; some of them are open for a few days because I believe they aren't suitable for our environment." According Ashna Nursery owner, Aso Zyad, people in Kurdistan need to stick with shades like Goat's Beard and primrose that are suitable for Kurdistan environment.

Zyad has glasshouse full of young plants. "Transplantation is a big portion of our job. We test all the possibilities before selling them to people. During the tests we found out that some plants can't grow here. Now we only focus on the trees and flowers that can adapt to our environment." he said.

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Publication:The Kurdish Globe (Erbil, Iraq)
Date:Jul 24, 2012
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