The second blog in our series on how to become a gardener focuses on the greener side.
Sometimes referred to as horticulturists, this kind of gardener is less focused on the landscaping and more on the plants themselves.
The ideal job for someone who loves nature and enjoys nothing more than seeing the bright colours of blooming flowers, this is what most people think of when they think of a gardener.
So, if this sounds like something that may be of interest, we’re here to provide all the information you will need to get your hands dirty and join our team.
But first, let’s start at the beginning.
What is Gardening?
This type of gardening is all about the nature.
Taking plants and providing them with the care they need to blossom is a huge part of this role. But not only that, you must know the plants, and be able to find the perfect flower to fit the design brief.
A day in the life of a gardener can be hugely varied.
One day you could be mowing a lawn and ripping up weeds, the next you may be planting a row of trees and pruning some bushes.
Some of our recent projects are great examples of this variety, such as planting olive trees in Battersea, colour-focused planting in Wimbledon, installing climbing roses and grapevines in Wandsworth as well as some potted evergreen plants in Worcester.
What matters is that every seed you sow, and every plant you tender is healthy and reaches its full potential.
While not quite as much hard, physical graft as a landscape gardener, you’re still sure to burn off plenty of calories as the day goes by.
Digging, lifting and using equipment are all ways of working up a sweat.
Do you have an eye for a beautiful plant, or a love of the great outdoors that you want to turn into a career?
If so, maybe becoming a gardener is the next step in your career.
But do you have what it takes? Let’s find out.
The Skills Needed to Become a Gardener
1. An Eye for Detail
Great gardens are built on tiny details.
A burst of colour in a certain spot, or a centimetre shaved off a shrubbery can make a huge difference to an outdoor space, and it is this that a great gardener can spot.
Either when sticking to a strict design, or when trying to envision which plants should grow in which space, it is vital every inch is planned out.
If not, you may find bare patches or overgrown areas.
Not only that, but you must also have an eye for issues with the plants. If you spot something that resembles ill health in a plant or flower, it is vital you can spot the issue immediately, whether it be pests or something else, and keeping a close eye on your plants is a top way of doing this.
In gardening, the key is in the detail, and every detail counts when constructing the perfect garden.
Another key characteristic of a great gardener is patience.
Plants don’t grow overnight. The garden you are building today may not reach its final stage for months as flowers and plants grow.
What makes a great gardener is the vision to plan what a garden will look like in the future, and the patience to allow it the time it takes to flourish.
Great gardens aren’t constructed in a day, so if you’re looking for something with immediate results, this may not be for you.
If you’re happy to wait in order to find your dream garden, then this could be a role tailer-made for you.
3. Good Communication Skills
A part of gardening that sometimes gets overlooked is the customer service aspect.
When building a garden, you are doing so on behalf of a customer, so it’s vital that you can build a strong relationship with your clients straight from the off.
This way, you can discuss issues with the garden and talk about how you feel you can fulfil their vision.
Another reason good communication is vital to a gardener is the fact that you will be working within a team.
Alongside you will be garden designers and landscapers, so you will need to be able to accurately communicate on your ideas, as well as taking on board the plans of your fellow workers.
Gardening is very rarely a one-man job, so being able to be part of a team and working well with others is a must.
4. A Knowledge of Horticulture
When working with plants, it is hugely important that you know your roses from your rhododendrons.
Caring for and growing plants and flowers isn’t easy, and it requires a knowledge of each specific plant’s requirements to make sure every individual plant is in the perfect environment to bloom.
So how do you get such knowledge?
Well, there are plenty of horticultural courses and schools you can attend, as well as degree courses that you can study.
Another way of gaining the knowledge needed to be a gardener is to gain some hands-on experience.
There are plenty of apprenticeships available in which you can learn from experienced gardeners and watch how plants are cared for and sustained in a working environment.
This on-the-job experience can be hugely positive and lead to a deep knowledge of horticulture.
Alongside the courses and lessons mentioned above, you can become an expert in no time!
5. A Passion for Nature
Above all, the one thing that makes a great gardener is passion.
If you find that you have a desire to work in nature, and a love for everything green, then you’re sure to put everything into the job and are destined to become an asset to the team.
There’s a lot to love about gardening (which we will focus on in the next section), but we know it’s not for everyone.
The work can be physically draining and as we all know, the Great British weather isn’t always your friend, but if you truly love the job then these things don’t matter.
You may even be the kind of person who enjoys getting muddy and working up a sweat. If so, then you could be just the person for the job.
For someone to truly care about the wildlife and the nature that they help to create with this job, an inbuilt love of the environment and a passion for being outside is a must.
The Best Things About Being a Gardener
If you’ve read the above and think a career as a gardener may be for you, then that’s great.
To convince you even more here are our three best things about being a gardener.
- You create beautiful visions – There’s nothing better than seeing the flowers and plants that you have placed into a garden come to life and really transform an outside space. Jobs such as cleaning gardens, trimming bushes, and mowing a lawn can make a huge difference to a garden, and it’s always a real thrill to see the vision that you had in your head blossom in front of you. The bright colours of the flowers available to you make every garden a blank canvas. What you create is up to you and looking back over your work and feeling a huge sense of achievement is one of the best parts of the job.
- You are doing something great for the environment – It’s a well known fact that planting things such as trees and flowers is great for the planet. Not just providing a much-needed reduction to the level of carbon, a well-tended garden also provides a great spot for wildlife to flourish and an area in which they can get the nutrients and shelter needed to live a happy life. If you have a desire to do something good for the environment, then working as a gardener is truly the most fulfilling job that you can have, and you can rest assured knowing every day, you have done your own little bit to help the earth in the battle against climate change.
- You become part of a team – One of the things we love most about what we do is that we’re a team. From the people who draw out the garden designs to the landscapers and the gardeners, everything that we achieve we achieve together. There’s nothing better than sitting down after a hard morning’s work and enjoying a cup of tea in the sun or taking a moment at the end of the day to look back over what you’ve achieved with the rest of the team. Enjoying what you do is easy when you have a team of like-minded individuals to share it with, and gardening certainly provides that.
Like what you’ve read?
Then why not join our team today?
Join the Southwest London Gardener Team
If you would like to become a gardener, then we’re sure to have a role available for you at The Southwest London Gardener.
Whether full of knowledge or a beginner, we have a variety of positions available for people of all levels, so why not get in touch today for a chat about how you can realise your goals and become a gardener with us.