After I tell people what I do for a living, 9 times out of 10 say “Oh that’s nice, working with plants all day. Outside!”
Yes, I do have a great job. I love that I create and define a garden. I plant beautiful plants. Give life to once drab spaces. Working in the great outdoors is excellent. I have a very healthy level of Vitamin D.
As with all jobs, there is a dark side. There is a side which is hardly talked about or blogged. There are icky jobs no one wants to discuss. Weather, no one really wants to work in. Its there, but its glossed over with the thought of working outdoors and being able to dither here and there is a very tasty thought.
I cannot dither and dawdle in a job. As its not economically viable for me or the client to do so. Yes, it comes down the the dollar sign as it always must. I have an associate degree in Horticulture, so therefore, I charge accordingly. Some gardeners charge more, some less, it depends on their confidence and sometimes, level of skill. Most of the time, I am not questioned on my hourly rate. Another not so nice side of gardening is negotiating with clients that a 4 hour job cannot be done in 2 hours. I am quoting you for quality and the knowledge that I can do your job properly.
Negotiating with clients about what grows where is another tricky area. I don’t care that Aunt Mildred had a similar plant in her garden; this plant will not work in your garden. A platitude of reasons may apply. Topography, soil type, position etc are some reasons.
And what about picking up dog poo? Its not really in the job description, but it has to be done.
Also, for some reason, there is that one client who seems to apparently know more than the gardener. Not everyone can be a good gardener. A Horticulturalist is a real title. There is more to it than mowing and planting. And on it goes.
Working outside all the time has its benefits but in the extreme weather? I’m partial to being comfortable too. I work in the rain. I work in the heat. I work in the cold. I have so many layers, my car looks like a wardrobe at times. I love being a gardener. Its creative, fulfilling and keeps me sane. The unglamourous side is brilliant too, even when I end up looking like drenched, grass stained human.
We have our glamourous gardens that everyone likes to oo and ah about, but there is definitely something rewarding about a huge messy lawn which has never seen a mower in this century and getting it done! I was scratched with thistles. And rained on and splattered with goodness knows what but it worked out well.