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Proud to be a gardener


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)

as above

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

I enjoy doing the development and decorative planting, although I wouldn't want to do that all the time, I like a good mixture of tasks as the seasons pass.

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.


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Robert Webber

Three Cheers!

When I left college people tried to tell me to call myself a horticulturalist. I have to say I never did. Its a long and slightly pretentious word!

When I hear the word gardener I think of someone both wise and slightly weatherbeaten, working in a walled garden. I have begun to resemble that vision! In most respects, but the wisdom bit....!

The problem is that this country does not respect service or getting your hands dirty. In the States they understand both!
Therefore we don't get the quality applicants for gardening that the complex nature of the job as really practised would suggest are necessary.

I found when i became Head Gardener that changed people's perceptions, because I was telling other people what to do!

And once I left off active professional gardening and trained in garden design, respect for my knowledge approached beatification!

The title gardener, in a professional sense, links me with all those old gardeners down history and I am sure I am less than many of them, but i feel proud to be called it.

Thanks for raising this!


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