P71206This is not a sequel to my rant ‘Real Deal’ from yesterday. It is just another rant. I should write more such rants; and I am actually considering designating Wednesday, as the day for discussion of the various hooey in horticulture, from some of the many fads and gimmicks to the lack of professionalism in the horticultural industries. Wednesday is the day between my current gardening column articles and the gardening column articles that are recycled from last year. There is certainly no shortage of hooey to discuss. I have been mostly polite about it so far. I sometimes wonder why I should bother with politeness. I sort of think that some would prefer more honesty than such unfounded pleasantries. Well, I can give more thought to that later. There are still a few more pleasant topics that should be discussed as well. For now, I will continue:

Many years ago, while driving the delivery truck, I took a few orders to various jobs of a particularly annoying ‘landscape designer’ in Contra Costa and Alameda Counties. His orders were never planned. He would come to the nursery and just pick out random plants that he thought were interesting, including many that happened to be on the side of the road waiting to be taken away for disposal. (Overgrown and disfigured rhododendrons that get junked often bloom better than plants of better quality because they are more mature.) His landscape design was planned in the same manner. He just planted things wherever he though they looked good. There was no thought to the preferences of the various cultivars, exposure, irrigation, the trees above . . . or anything. He landscaped right around whatever happened to be in the way, including dead trees, fences overwhelmed with ivy, and dilapidated carcases of old brick barbecue pits that were beyond repair. I really disliked being on his job sites.

During one such deliver, he explained to me that he had been a chiropractor. He got bored with his career, and decided to do something more fun, so decided to become a landscape designer. He enjoyed buying pretty blooming plants in nurseries and wearing khaki shorts and big straw hats to work like all the landscapers with something to prove do.

My comment to him was that my career as a horticulturist was so much hard work and so frustrating at times that maybe I should also consider a career change. Perhaps I should consider becoming a chiropractor. If someone without ANY education or experience in horticulture or design . . . or anything even remotely useful in the landscape design industry can become a landscape designer, than it should be just as easy to become a chiropractor, despite a lack in formal education or experience in the industry.

He did not like that comment.

7 thoughts on “Career Counseling

  1. I’m going to rant right back, a little. I’m a landscape designer with a bachelors degree in French and who used to be a gemologist with a graduate gemologist diploma, an author, and an illustrator. I find that many of us landscape designers used to be sometthing else- I have friends who were lawyers, microbiologists, and insurance agents before they saw the chlorophyll. Sometimes the second (or third) career is the right one, and doesn’t mean that we were bad at what we did before. It can take people awhile to recognize and have the guts to pursue their passion. That said, if you’re going to do a thing, do it right. Take the time to learn what plants need, and to develop an eye for design. The vast spectrum of landscape designers, from cocktail napkin designers to accomplished, thoughtful artists is a bit of a problem in my line of work. But I imagine thereare many professions with those issues.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. That is exactly my point; “If you’re going to do a thing, do it right.” If I were to be a chiropractor, I would want to do it right. I would get educated as necessary. The horticultural industries, more than any other group of industries I can think of, attract those who are not career oriented, or just do not respect what goes into the work.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. It’s a problem, for sure. Even harder in New England where garden activities come to a screeching halt for a good part of the year. It’s challenging to make a career out of something that is only possible part of the time.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Horticulture industries are not very lucrative anywhere, for a variety of reasons. The nursery (grower) and flower production industries are SO much work throughout the year, but revenue is quite minimal. Landscaping and gardening is active all year here as well, but it is difficult to compete with the inexpensive but unskilled labor.


  3. Unfortunately it is indeed the case in Singapore where plants are expensive. The landscape designer chooses plants that look good but not consider maintenance or whether shade or sun. When the plants die, too bad. Re-plant. The landscape designer will continue to be in business.
    Usually not licensed.

    Liked by 1 person

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