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19 Dec, Wednesday
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Lalazar Nursery: An Oasis in a Metropolis

Karachi may be termed by many as the city by the sea, or the city of lights (although not so much with the recent power outages). But for me, it is the city of gardens. This is quite surprising, given how difficult it is to maintain any form of greenery in this maritime climate, but I have come to realize and recognize a uniquely “Karachi-ite” trait, that is the sheer will and determination of the citizens of Karachi to accomplish something others have deemed almost impossible.

Succulents, water gardens, vegetable patches, and orchards, you name it and there is an intrepid gardener growing it. A personal friend of mine is a banker, yet his true passion is for koi ponds and water gardening. Another close friend is an orchid enthusiast, and her home is filled with glorious blooms. With such a demand for all accouterments of the horticultural variety, there are many plant nurseries simply bursting at the seams with every conceivable plant known to mankind.  As a new initiate to the school of gardening, I wandered off to purchase some seeds and plants for my balcony garden, with my notebook and my copy of “Gardening for Dummies” tucked safely in my bag.

 

 

 

 

Lalazar Nursery is one of the oldest nurseries in Clifton. Situated between Schon Circle and Ocean Mall, its whitewashed walls and towering coconut palms give an air of nostalgia and serenity, a nod to the Karachi of the 1960s.  Lovely little pots of periwinkle cover the entrance, and the vibrant colors of the flowers against the crisp white walls are simply spectacular.

I wandered inside and was immediately rummaging through my bag wondering if I had enough cash in order to buy every single plant. What a nursery! To my left, there was a shady greenhouse, where all indoor plant varieties were to be found, alongside a simply stunning display of air plants.  I was able to identify a few, such as spider plant (super fun for kids) snake plant, or mother-in-law’s tongue plant (quite cheeky!), anthurium, asparagus fern, peperomia, cast-iron plant, as well as a large variety of croton plants. There were a lot more which I didn’t recognize but all in all, it made for one spectacular greenhouse.

 

 

 

 

You can really tell that Lalazar caters to all kinds of gardeners when you take a walk around. The grounds of the nursery are filled to the brim! I loved the section which contained with tree saplings, exotic vines, and the piece de resistance, a spectacular patch of water hyacinth growing in a gorgeous pond. There was a plethora of bamboo, temple flower trees, hibiscus in every shape and color, and desert roses. In fact, I could quite easily spend the rest of this article writing about all the different plants and trees available.

 

 

 

 

What makes Lalazar Nursery stand out from the rest? Firstly, the assistants are incredibly helpful, as they give detailed information on the kind of care each plant needs. We aren’t just talking about x amount of water and whether to keep your plant in sunlight or shade. From the best plant food to the kind of water to be used, the different kinds of soil and the different techniques for watering, they know it all. Secondly, Lalazar Nursey stocks the kind of plants which you simply cannot find elsewhere in the city. Around 2 years ago, I tore through Clifton hunting for nasturtium seedlings, and Lalazar Nursery was the only place where they were available. While traipsing through the nursery, I even caught a glimpse of a “bleeding-heart” vine, which I haven’t seen anywhere in Pakistan!

 

I emerged from Lalazar Nursery this afternoon, proudly carrying my gorgeous jasmine vine and my asparagus fern. Are there other plant nurseries near my home? Absolutely. Will I still take another stroll through peaceful Lalazar and its treasure trove of plants? Definitely!