On Monday evening, after an excellent local evening networking session I was told, "We need to think of something better to call you, you're not just a gardener" - Well I know and appreciate what prompted the sentiment behind the comment, i've been trying to describe to people what I do for the last 5 1/2 years (no, not a garden designer, no I don't mow lawns, or build patios......) - after all there are a lot of "gardeners" in our neck of the woods, BUT, the dictionary definition of gardener is
A person who is paid to work in someone else's garden (Collins English Dictionary)
yes the majority of my working week is spent in gardens other than my own, and I get paid for it
One who works in or tends a garden for pleasure or hire. (Online free directory)
well yes I get pleasure out of working and tending a garden whether mine, or when i'm "on hire"
A person who is employed to tend a garden (Oxford Concise)
and my favourite
a person who likes or is skilled at working in a garden; a person whose occupation is making and tending gardens.
Ah, there's the word that makes the difference, - skilled, - because a lot of "gardeners" may mow lawns, and cut hedges, and have vans that say they do garden maintenance, -but not many know any plant names, or when shrubs should be pruned so they will still flower, or how to propagate, or what size plants will get to when they're fully grown or, what soil they like.
this is another one that I liked
Landscape gardener - a person who is engaged in the development and decorative planting of gardens and grounds
But I truly believe that these are things that a real Gardener should do.
That means that those that don't know how to prune or weed (I mean keep the seedlings and take out those things not desirable in a mixed perennial border, not the scorched earth policy) and who can't tell you the names of 3 native mix hedging shrubs, or a perennial that flowers blue in May, or a pink autumn flowering bulb. Shouldn't be called Gardeners, - they are handymen/women, or Garden Janitors, or maybe jobbing gardeners.
I am a Gardener, and proud of it.