how to begin a career in gardening

maggie - COJanuary 31, 2001

hello- I have been an avid gardener for several years and am looking for ways to turn this passion into a career. I live in CO. Most garden stores/ nurseries I approach want someone with formal traininng. any suggestions? thanks

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charles - 6a conn usa

find out just what kind of training they want and sleep through some local adult ed courses or community college courses. Write a complete resume with all of your life experience in the field. Think about where your personal passion and bliss in the garden is, what fascinates you there always, and pursue that, what section do you feel you know most about and are most confident doing. Then formally study those areas of passion ,fascination and confidence, just to get the paperwork and wake up others in the class, as well as completing your own knowledge. I know I always have more to learn. But then you have a paper trail you can bring back to the nursery. Get in yor state's master gardener for training as well.

    Bookmark   February 5, 2001 at 12:25PM
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clfo(z7 with luck)

Contact your local cooperative extension service and see if they offer classes. Also adult education sometimes gives classes, as do community colleges. I am surprised that garden stores want experienced my exerience they are usually begging for people who are willing to learn on the job. I would approach them again, especially as the busy season is coming up. Joining a garden club is a good way to might even start your own with the particular focus being avid gardeners looking to go pro. (Put up signs in local librarys, list meetings in the newspapers, and put of notices at garden centers etc.)
Good luck!

    Bookmark   February 5, 2001 at 12:25PM
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Pat - canada

Hi Maggie Well I started in my garden ,then a friend ask me for help,then the old word of mouth,i work with 6 other women.we do about 35 - 4o regular gardens plus in the summer,i have been doing this for seven years great job . Pat

    Bookmark   February 6, 2001 at 8:09AM
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Ranjani(z5 MI)

Hi Maggie - Looks like we both are on the same track. I like to quit my job and begin a career in gardening also. I just finished my Master gardener program through Michigan State University extention program. May be you can find out any extention programs they have in your area... I really enjoyed this program and I learned a lot...


    Bookmark   May 3, 2002 at 12:58PM
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Rosa(4ish CO Rockie)

Being a Master Gardener does not allow you to use the title to advertise YOUR buisiness or experience for YOUR gain, period. Master Gardener is a trademarked name ONLY to be used in the context of MG sponsored events and your volunteerism. Yes, I have used mine on resumes in the "other interests" or "Other education", but that's it, and they are very clear about this. Investigate the MG training, but think carefully and make sure you have the time to commit-not just for classes (which are over now) but for the volunteer hours you will have to pay back every year. Also, consider this a long committment-three consecutive years of not volunteering means you have to start all over again. Classes are given by other Master Gardeners as well as Colorado State University professors and do carry college credit.
As others have said, also check out classes at the community colleges in your area.
Here's how I got my first job. A fairly well known, local (and pricey) restaurant had an overgrown, weedy garden at their entrance. I walked in one day and pointed out to the owner how bad it looked for them and what I could do to improve the look by pulling weeds, compost, mulch, some pruning, twice weekly waterings and $$'s per hour plus a materials estimate. In 1/2 hour I had my first contract, exposure on a busy local street, and word of mouth advertising (the owner happily gave her patrons my card when they complimented the "new" look). A $5 ad in the small, local paper each week kept me busy all summer, and it grew from there.
Just do it!!

    Bookmark   May 5, 2002 at 9:20AM
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Firstly, this forum is absolutely amazing.
I had gotten laid off after the 9/11 incident and in a bit of a quander what to do with myself. I've finally decided to take classes at the New York Botanical Garden in the Bronx to get certification in Floral Design. It was a hard choice between that and Landscape Design. Landscape Design seems to involve so many other things and it seemed as though I wouldn't be able to do anything. Unless like many of you, start up my own business or roam the streets looking for messy gardens. I admire you guys. Landscape Design seemed like it needed Landscape Architecture along with it and am not ready to commit so many years getting a Masters .
BTW Rosa, if you don't mind me asking. How much do you charge? Maybe I'll post a bulletin in my apartment for balcony garden maintenance..

Does anyone have any info. on the actual recognition of this certification? This seemed to be the only school in NY. Expensive...Has anyone heard of anything else? What is the likeliness that I get a job with this certification.

Thank you all for taking the time to read this. All other advice and info is greatly appreciated.


    Bookmark   May 24, 2002 at 2:24AM
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You can do work at yourself too. Here are some of them.

Garden or landscape design
Garden maintenance and planting
Working in a nursery: growing, selling, and management
Floral design
Turf Management
Integrated Pest Management
Amenity Management
Garden sitting service (i.e. maintaining gardens while the owners are on holiday)
Teach adult classes on gardening and garden design, or herbal gardens etc.
Providing garden therapy in nursing homes
Growing and selling container plants or house plants.

    Bookmark   March 9, 2013 at 4:33AM
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You have a great knowledge about science and understanding the elements of plants, soil composition and the fundamentals of genetics are irreplaceable foundations in a horticulture career training program.

    Bookmark   March 29, 2013 at 2:49AM
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