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Careers in Horticulture, Garden Design and Landscaping

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Are you interested in a career in horticulture, garden design or landscaping? For courses and job information visit the GROW website administered by The Institute of Horticulture.

If you have any questions or want to discuss a career in gardening with other Shoot members please add your questions to our new forum below.

Total number of topics in this forum: 14


Nursery owner honoured by fellowship

General post from LucyE

I don't know if anyone else has ever visited Larch Cottage Nurseries in Cumbria but I see on their facebook thatthe owner, Peter Stott, has just been awarded an honorary fellowship from the Uni of Cumbria for his achievements in horticulture and landscaping, it's great to hear that people in this business are being recognised for all their hard work! If you've never been to Larch Cottage it's well worth a visit, beautiful place with an art gallery and restaurant, you won't find anywhere else like it!

  • Views: 606
  • Replies: 0
  • Posted: Sat. 8th August 2015 07:26

Garden Designer & Landscaper FAQ

Comment from Nicola

Hi all, we are putting together a page for garden designers and landscapers who use our Pro service (to read more click here).

Are we missing any common questions?

How do I create a client garden account?
1) Create a new garden
2) Give it a name such as 'Mrs Smith's garden'
3) Find and add the plants in Mrs Smith garden to her plant list.
4) You can then customise Mrs Smith's garden by adding notes, photos, and sorting plants into groups

How can I add plants?
There are three ways you can add plants to a client garden
1) Plant by plant. Find each plant using our search or A-Z lists and click 'ADD' button
2) Upload a long list all in one go using a .csv file. Look for 'Import Plant list' and follow the instructions. You can also import groups and notes at the same time
3) If you use Vectorworks Landmark 2013 you can use the Shoot Plant IDs directly when designing a client garden. Then just export the client plant list and import into Shoot.

How do I send a client garden to a client?
1. Find the garden
2. Click the SEND link
3. Add in client's name and email address
4. Tick box to save a copy for you
5. Then you need to email the client asking them to join Shoot using the same email you used to register them. We do not send an email for you but give you suggested text to use once you have completed the transfer.
6. When they register using the same email address their garden from you will be there.

Can I edit a client plant list after it is sent?
Currently not unless your client gives you their login details to Shoot. In the future we are looking at different PRO subscription which would give shared access along with each of your clients

  • Views: 759
  • Replies: 1
  • Posted: Wed. 2nd April 2014 13:43
  • Last reply: Wed. 2nd April 2014 13:45

Professional Gardeners' Trust

General post from Anna Matthews

The Professional Gardeners' Trust provides gardeners with the opportunity to acquire skills and gain qualifications through part time courses and work placements. This enhances their career and benefits the horticulture professional as a whole
Visit pgtrust.org to find out more and apply

  • Views: 404
  • Replies: 0
  • Posted: Wed. 15th January 2014 08:31

Careers in Garden Design

Comment from Angelique Robb

I find that having a career in garden design very challenging. I have an engineering job that I still continue to work in parttime so that I can work in garden design and construct gardens. Although I do charge for garden designs (after building up a significant portfolio), I can't take a salary as I prioritise paying my staff (construction crew). We are quite a successful company (6 years) and we still cannot manage to pay a salary for a garden designer. This is the sad state of this industry - luckily I know designers that do it for the love of it like I do - but many people can not enter an industry where there is not enough pay to live off of.... What to do?!

  • Views: 587
  • Replies: 3
  • Posted: Wed. 20th November 2013 18:04
  • Last reply: Sun. 7th September 2014 21:34

Career options, education, starting and average salaries

Comment from Nicola

What I think would really help young people thinking about a career in the world of gardening, growing and horticulture is a simple list of all the job options.

And then beside each job option - a description of the job, an overview of the educational requirements (degree and years of study), the average starting salary and the average salary once experienced.

Does that list exist anywhere?

Thanks
Nicola

  • Views: 591
  • Replies: 3
  • Posted: Thu. 31st October 2013 12:02
  • Last reply: Tue. 10th December 2013 13:17

Grow a career in horticulture (part 2)

Comment from Ben's Botanics

Horticultural retail is a fairly fast-paced environment; after a lull over the coldest part of winter there is usually an explosive increase in trade during spring, especially around Easter. You go from standing almost still to running at full speed in a matter of days. Every customer is different, and no two enquiries are the same. Customers expect a very high standard of service; they might need a plant identified (regardless of whether or not you sell it), advice about a pest problem, or inspiration and guidance about what to buy. Even the most skilled and accomplished gardener will find themselves tested daily in horticultural retail. You can also be creative in the retail environment, creating eye catching displays of plants to entice customers to buy, ordering a range of plants that will excite anyone who sees them, as well as being creative with colours and textures when advising customers. Add to the mix that your plants also need to be cared for; pruning, training, watering, feeding... these all need to be done to keep sales stock in tip-top condition.

Working in retail and production horticulture requires passion. You will know as a customer that a member of staff who is clearly not interested will not inspire you to buy their plants! I've been to a few retailers where the staff have horticultural knowledge and enthusiasm that runs as far as “it's a bush. £10”, and I've never bought from any of them. Knowledge of the subject and passion for it will stand you well, and there is room to carve out your perfect career. I wanted to finish this piece with a list of skills that you will need (or pick up) in horticulture, but to be honest the list would be too long. If you've got what it takes just throw yourself in, you're in for great adventure!

"Choose a job you love, and you will never have to work a day in your life." - Confucius

  • Views: 408
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  • Posted: Sun. 27th October 2013 16:26

Grow a career in horticulture (part 1)

General post from Ben's Botanics

I could easily say that a career in production/retail horticulture is not for the faint hearted, but that might put you off a fun and challenging career. I work in a production and retail nursery at the moment, but previously I worked for a garden centre in Cheshire. There's never a dull day, but with the wide range of businesses out there I'll split production and retail down to make things clearer.

A production nursery is, on the surface, an easy thing to describe; it's a nursery that produces plants. Some nurseries produce starter plants (9 cm plants known in the trade as 'liners', although the pot sizes vary, and let's not forget plug plant producers) to be grown on by other nurseries, others propagate all their own plants and then grow them right up to a size where they are sold to the public, while others buy 'liners' and grow them on to a saleable size. There are almost innumerable variations to these nurseries; where I work we grow a lot of plants from 'liners' produced in France, Holland and the UK, but we also propagate many plants ourselves, as well as buying from wholesalers- a complicated business model to follow! We grow an extraordinary range of trees, shrubs, perennials and indoor plants ourselves, and as such we, the production team, face many challenges to grow each plant to perfection. Add the challenges of peat free composts and we are always busy! Each member of the production team is tested each day with pests and diseases, decisions to do with pruning and maintenance, feeding, watering and of course the universally applicable weeding. The secret to growing a good plant commercially is that you must be passionate about what you do and able to think on your feet. Although the plants themselves may seem to grow slowly you can't afford to delay important decisions!

Continued in Part 2

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  • Posted: Sun. 27th October 2013 16:25

See the world with a horticulture career

Comment from Andrew Fisher Tomlin

Before I worked in garden design and horticulture I had a career in financial marketing and worked with some of the big names and on some fab projects. What I never did was travel.

I have now had a career in horticulture and garden design for over 20 years and it has taken me around the world. A British training in horticulture is regarded as one of the finest and I have friends that have worked in Botanical Gardens in many different countries and it opens up connections to professionals and new friends everywhere. For example I can link a recent four week stay in Sydney to do the main show feature at the Australian Garden Show back to getting involved in the professional body for garden design back in 1996 and between then and now I have had a ball working with everyone from the RHS to local charities and obviously great clients.

My advice then is this, don't think that gardening is a solitary task that will have you in a quiet rainswept garden in England all your working life. It's a passport to the world, just get involved and you never know where it might lead.

Click image to enlarge.

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  • Replies: 0
  • Posted: Thu. 24th October 2013 09:11

How 8 years can change you...

Comment from Josh Egan-Wyer

It was only about 8 years ago at the age of 14 that Landscape Architecture was suggested to me as a career option by a careers computer program. I hurriedly spoke with my head of year who let me change my Standard Grade options to better reflect what a Landscape Architect would need (I lived in Aberdeen at the time). I moved schools soon afterwards, choosing similar subjects still on course to want to be a Landscape Architect.

And then I got to 6th Form and I'd developed a bit as a person. Plants started to become a fascination instead of an interest, I was still interested in the landscape but there was something more about growing plants and learning about them that grabbed my attention. It was easier to research things on the internet with the advent of wireless internet at home, and so I discovered the word 'horticulture'.

My step-dad suggested I took my CV to a local Garden Centre 10 miles up the road and see what happened. I got a phone call in the February and started working on a Sunday at the garden centre. To cut a really long-story in to just a long one, it was here that I heard about Pershore College, the national centre of excellence for horticulture and so my journey continued. I came knowing that I wanted to follow the design element of the course but could never truly say exactly where I wanted to work with horticulture. And I did all this in spite of my Head of 6th Form telling me I should be doing something 'clever'.

I have now completed my degree (BSc in Horticulture (First Class)) and am working as the supervisor of the Nursery at the College. I've set-up an initiative called 'Pershore Plant Ident' helping students to get better at plant identification and such and designed a Silver medal winning garden at the Malvern Spring Gardening Show. I'm involved with the Institute of Horticulture and Plant Heritage also.

Who'd have predicted that from a chance suggestion by a computer program in 2005.

  • Views: 2671
  • Replies: 1
  • Posted: Sun. 20th October 2013 11:47
  • Last reply: Mon. 28th October 2013 23:09

10 reasons why a career in garden maintenace is a great choice

General post from Simon Cooper

I maintain large gardens of half an acre and upwards. This means each garden takes at least half a day, and most take a full day at a time. Some are visited once a week, some once a month. Most are all year around. The ten reasons below are for maintenance in all gardens that require more than just a mow & strim, but they apply best of all to total maintenance of larger gardens.

1. Connection to Nature - Where could be a better workplace than the garden?
2. Satisfaction - Maintaining a garden over the course of a year, and even a decade, creates a deep sense of satisfaction.
3. Creativity - Choosing plants, solving landscape problems, choosing the right tool for the job, developing a graden with a wildflower meadow, all everyday skills to develop.
4. Working for Yourself - No boss, and your own timetable. One for the control freaks like me! No one to sack you either, which leads to...
5. Job Security - Though the beginning can be tricky, and winter starts to drag around February, when you build a good name and loyal clients you will never be short of work.
6. Loyal Clients - Working in someone's garden on a long-term basis builds a long-term relationship built on mutual trust and respect. The first garden I ever worked in professionally, I still work in, over 13 years later.
7. Tools - I admit it, I love tools, and I buy the best. If the words strimmer, chainsaw and ride-on mower don't bring a nod of approval, this job probably isn't for you!
8. The Physical - Maintenance gardening is tough work, you will feel your muscles and the endorphins that go with outdoor work. Dig over that plot and enjoy the burn.
9. The Learning - You will always be learning as a gardener and growing of course, in all senses of the word. Plus, you will know some Latin, isn't that great?
10. Variety - Every day a different garden, every day a different job to do, every season with its own set of challenges. You won't get bored

  • Views: 513
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  • Posted: Tue. 8th October 2013 19:27