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 o gardening as a career

Posted by
marisa - 71750
(bug49@webtv.com) on
Friday, January 02, 1998 at 21:34

hello fellow gardeners! I am hoping that there may just someone out there, who cangive me some help.
I'm at the stage in my life, where I have decided to make a career change. Gardening came into my life about five years ago. It truly was a blessing to me. Now I would like to use this gift in a job setting. There is so much I would like to learn, so I thought that perhaps if I could "earn while I learn", this would be ideal. But my direction - to what business do I marketmyself? While I have retail experience, I don't want to bethe cashier/garden specialist at the local garden center.
Also if anyone has thoughts on how my resume (business background) could reflect my desire.
This is my first time posting on-line, so if I am vague orunclear on any of my intentions, I will be more than willing to elaborate.
Thanks for any or all replies.


Follow-Up Postings:

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RE: gardening as a career

How you pursue it depends entirely on exactly what aspect of "gardening" you want to go into. Is it: IPM, design, maint, arboriculture, consulting, planting, pesticides, selling...... I started my own business a couple of years ago - IPM, Design, Arboriculture, Install/main. It is changing by the month. By that I mean that I am adding/receiving new certifications; dropping areas I don't like any more.... How and where you start is going to be determined by what you want to do. I can give you some direction related to what I learned along the way and as to where you can get further info: education, training, materials, customers etc.... but youi have to let me know where you intend on starting first and what zone you are in.

Dave


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RE: gardening as a career

  • Posted by
    james r. butler jr. - Wa.
    (jbutler@ctc.edu) on
    Thursday, January 08, 1998 at 18:19

As a vocational instructor in landscape mgt. the oportunities are endless - if you need some help on the educational end i would be more than happy to send you a packet on what our program here at Clover Park Technical College has to offer


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RE: gardening as a career

I, too, recently decided to use my first love as a career basis and wanted to suggest that you look for a good Horticulture certificate or associates degree program at a community college nearby. At the one I am attending, there are a number of different programs to follow, depending upon your interest area: Landscape design, Nursery Management and Production, Floral Design, Turf Management, etc. There are courses designed just to help you decide what to do within the overall career area. Even without deciding what to do right now you would probably really enjoy taking the courses (I do it at night because I am a full-time Mom during the day). Many of these programs also have job placement fairs and counselors to help you decide what to pursue. Good luck!


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RE: gardening as a career

  • Posted by
    Bob Stoiber
    (rbs@wctc.net) on
    Tue, Jan 12, 99 at 10:30

I read your message from 1-2-98 If you ever read this, e-mail me. Like you I am making a career change at 45. I would like to know what you did. Thanks


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RE: gardening as a career

The University of Guelph in Ontario, Canada is the horticulture independant study certification that covers all aspects of the field. Very professional approach, complete information, a solid foundation for any part of the horticulture trade. It improved my garden design concept and understanding of plants from the soil up!

Here is a link that might be useful: The University of Guelph


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RE: gardening as a career

The BEST program in Canada is the one that is offered in Niagara Falls in Ontario. It is called the Niagara Parks Commission School of Horticulture and it is a very intense 36 month program where really your gardens are your classroom. It is a 60\40 split, meaning 60% of your time is outside and the rest is inside, studying your theory. The courses are endless ie: plant i.d., botany, floriculture, landscape design, turf management, effective supervision, soils, plant pathology and entomology.... the list goes on and on... also you have to do a weed and insect collection as well as learning hundreds of latin names ( maybe around 1000 plants?!! ) and their common and family names. The instructors are excellent and as the gardens are also part of the Niagara gorge, there are around 500,000 visitors that visit and of course ask tons of questions!!! I don't have their address at this moment but if you are interested I am sure that they do have a web site and just call information or send me another message to me.... good luck!


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I love gardening too. For the past 2 yrs. during the growing season I have been hiring myself out as an gardener. Its fun. I listen to what people want and create it in their landscaping. Im always taking classes on gardening and design. Plus I teach an adult ed. class on herbal gardening. At the moment Im looking into garden therapy w/nursing homes. I believe there is a real need in this area but does the nursing home have money to afford this program. Hopefully I will connect with one.


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RE: gardening as a career

Marisa - I happened upon a great opportunity a year ago. I volunteered some time at a local garden center in exchange for plants and information/education. I received much more in return: several regular customers asked me to tend their gardens while they were away on vacation. I charged a reasonable hourly rate and was able to work on my own time schedule. I've already heard from several clients who wanted to arrange for my garden-sitting services. In addition, the garden center has asked me to come back as a paid employee - and they are still referring me to their customers. I just received a call this week from a couple who would like my suggestions on ground covers for a slope. And get this - they want to know if I would be interested in doing the planting?

My advice: start small, take classes whenever possible, read alot, and say Yes to every opportunity that comes your way. Best of Luck!


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RE: gardening as a career

Boy am I ever inspired! I would like to hear from others who have turned thier love of gardening into a career. Maybe not even a career but job setting of any scale. Let us know the path you took and what your best advice is for others who dream of doing the same.


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I thought I was the only one!!!! ya'll have given me so many ideas. Thanks.


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I am in a very similar situation as Marisa. I am looking for direction and education/training information. It is helpful to be a part of these discussions. Any additional guidance would great. Thank you!


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RE: gardening as a career

Hello All! I have inadvertantly had my love of gardening turn into a second career, and love it! For 25 yrs., I've been a self-employed C.M.T., and have studied gardening and Horticulture on my own.I've always kept gardens with great variety, in smaller yards. Recently, we moved to a rental with a total of two trees and one bush!( Painful, for one that must keep growing things!) In the last six months, I've turned our patch of dirt into a full and charming garden.This has led 6 customers to want me to maintain their gardens(your basic "mow-blow-n-go"). This then grew into planting and designing for them. The wages are decent, the excercise is great, and the neighborhood pride spirals upward! We moved from "Leave it to Beaver-Land" to the "Hood".I see each home becoming more welcoming and even those that we might have written off are cleaning up and trimming! Now, I have at least one person per week asking if I'll do work for them! I offer basic maintenance at a monthly rate-prepaid, and it always turns into more of the fun stuff! We are all pleased. My hourly rates run from $13.00 to 20.00 per hour for extras. I also have been the volunteer gardening teacher at my daughter's Public Waldorf Methods Elementary School, where gardening is an important aspect of their curriculum.Now, they have created funding for this to be a paid position for the next school year. All of this unsolicited work is heaven for a gardener!Knowledge, whether gained thru academic programs or on your own, is the key.One does not always need to pay for their education, if the love of learning is great! All information is out there and available for free to those who care to look. Best wishes in a delightful career change, bearing in mind that it is WORK, and ones's body over the years can take only so much! Happy Gardening, Toni


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RE: gardening as a career

HI,
I stumble across your email regarding your career change. It sounded
like you were going to leave the business world for a career in the
landscaping industry. I also noticed the date of the email as being
January 1998. Well, its been a year now and I was wondering how it is
going?
I am interested because I have been considering doing the same thing
lately. I would love to here you strategy. I have been investigating
educational opportunities. There isn't much other than full time day
school. I wondered if you had any educational training that you used
or would recommend.
Are you finding lots of business on your own. I noticed one of your
responses came from someone who basically had work fall in their lap!!!

I hope things are going well with your career change and would
appreciate any info. you could share with me!
Thanks,
Deanna Brown


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RE: gardening as a career

Hi! I too would love to hear how it's going! Are you still out there, or too busy & tired from all this beautiful exercise to get back to the forum??!!


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RE: gardening as a career

Wow! I have searched all over the web trying to find advice on getting educated in horticulture design and finally after days of searching I found this forum. Help. I need to find a school in Northern CA who's horticulture department has a great reputation. I want to learn from the best. Please tell me how it's done. This is my passion!


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RE: gardening as a career

Jamie ...have you tried UC Davis ...it's s'posed to be an excellent ag school ...in an agricultural setting too and close to Sacramento. We visited their vet school when my son was in high school ...but he didn't like the blood and guts, so he chose physics.

Don't worry about prerequisites ...if you want it bad enough, you'll find a way to get there ...ALL OF YOU!!!
I know!!!


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RE: gardening as a career

Any of you future gardeners/landscapers want a quick cheap and constantly updated education, call your local cooperative extention office and become a master gardener. You wil get right up to minute education monthly taught by college prof. There is an office in every county in the U.S. They also have special programs for all phases of landscaping. Good luck, Cactus Jack


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RE: gardening as a career

I've just stumbled across this wonderful discussion on career moves into gardening - I'm in the Garden of England but there doesn't seem to be anything local training-wise. Anyone out there with suggestions? I could do self study through the RHS but would really like to get in touch with like-minded souls who have realised there is more to life than sitting behind a desk dreaming of creating beautiful gardens...

I'll watch this space, and good luck to you all

Victoria


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RE: gardening as a career

This is a very interesting discussion. I have also been thinking of a career change and have a passion for gardening. I noticed one of the responses was for classes at Clover Park Tech School. Sheesh, that is about 2 miles from me. I wonder if they still have classes...looks like something to check into. Thanks for the idea!


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RE: gardening as a career

A freind and I started a garden service 5 years ago. We started out doing basic maintenance and annual plantings. We now have 26 regular maintenance clients and we do designs and installations for others. The only thing I regret is not having enough help. Good help is hard to find and my body is wearing out. So we need younger people to do the heavier work like mulching and digging, but they don't have the experience to tend to the perennials. We could train them, but they move on. We think we'll try Master Gardeners, but most of them we know are 40ish or so and the one's we have had work for us can't really take the work.

Maintenance is a great field to get into because it is a niche that hasn't really been filled by anyone else. I'm talking about being like a personal gardener who can advise the client as they work for them. We specialize in perennials and are always taking classes to learn more. I know there aren't enough landscapers around here to keep up with the demand either. The money in this area is good too. We have mostly well off two income families who want a nice yard and garden, but don't have the time to tend to it themselves.

Please feel free to email me with any questions about any particulars.


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RE: gardening as a career

How much would one charge for garden sitting while peole are gone? What a great idea.....


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I am so excited I cant hardly stand it. I am sitting here looking for info about horticulture school and I cant find any info. Then I come across this message. I would like to make a career of gardening. I am a total novice but I love planting flowers and watching them grow. Does anyone know where I can get classes or a degree? I live in the South Suburbs of Chicago. I dont know what to do. I am interested in learning about planting, designing, and I am not afraid of hard work. Can anyone help me. Please!


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RE: gardening as a career

Hi Sandy,
If you haven't been told already try the Illinois Extension office near you. They have a website. The offer the master gardener program http://www.urbanext.uiuc.edu/programs/mg.html. The Morton Arboretum (sp?) in Lisle also offers a lot of training www.mortonarb.org/. Between the two places you should be able to find out about the rest of the educational opportunities in the South Suburbs. I'm planning to enter the Master Gardener program in January and I'm very excited. I too hope to turn this new found love into a more relaxing and rewording career. Good Luck.


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I"m interested in a career change too. I'd like to know if anyone doesgardening wirh the elderly or disabled in wheelchairs. An adult care facility in our town does a lot of crafts but these people need to get out of doors. What kind of pay do people get for this service? also how much would I ask for to gardensit?


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like to become a residential landscape designer , can anyone help me with information on parttime or evening study for landscape design.


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RE: gardening as a career

I'll be going back to school next fall to finish my Horticulture/soil science/agronomy (major depends on what each school calls it)degree. Am looking for a good school in the Midwest--can anyone share info about SDSU-Brookings, SD; ISU-Ames, IA. Or even Cornell, Unv. of Iowa, U of Nebraska? Just wondering what y'all have heard. Thanks for any info!


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RE: gardening as a career

Hi --I'm enjoying all the information I've just found on the Garden Web Forums. Any suggestions I can pass on to my nephew about good college programs in Texas? Any programs for high school students in the San Antonio area? Thanks


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Here's the most important question.

Can you make a decent living doing this? Even in colder climates where work is decidedly seasonal?

M


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RE: gardening as a career

Cathy, Get him to check out Texas A&M good sight

Here is a link that might be useful: Texas A & M Horticulture


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RE: a career in gardening

Sorry it's http://aggie-horticulture.tamu.edu

Here is a link that might be useful: http://aggie-horticulture.tamu.edu


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RE: gardening as a career

hello
i am looking for distance learning programs in botanic
any information would be great
thank you


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RE: gardening as a career

Renee:

I'm taking Landscape Design classes from Lifetime Career Schools out of Archbald, PA. It's distance learning and the total cost and monthly payments are very reasonable. They're just a phone call away and always ready to help, and they send you most of the materials. I had to buy a ruler! Oh, I almost forgot they also have a web page (but I can't remember the address). I checked with the BBB before I started and also if they were accredited. They've got a clean record from the BBB and yes, they are accredited. Give them a call, what have you got to lose? Good luck and Happy Holidays!


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Yes,I also changed by career into gardening.I was an occupational therapist. I used gardening as a means of breaking down barriers and getting people to perform functional activites they normally would not perform. Because medicare has changed so much, people who being discharged from hospitals that still needed therapy. I decided to make a change. I stop working June 1998 and developed my own garden. The Center of Living, Growing and Gardening. It a botanical working accessible garden for people who are disabled and or disadvantaged. We give people the chance to continue therapy on their own time and in their own time. Vocational training and so much more.Its been very hard to make this change but it was well worth it. I have come so far in the last year.Please contact me for more information. Maybe I can help you in some ways.Brenda


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This topic has gone on for 2 years now. It is great. I too am interested in doing gardening as a career and it is nice to know that there are many who hope to do (and presumably are doing) the same. What I would like to know is, does anyone know how one can get hands-on training for doing quality pruning? Does anyone have I.S.A.(International Society of Arboriculture)certification (in other words, is anyone a Certified Arborist)? If so, what kind of tree work do you do?
I'd appreciate any input. Happy New Year.


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RE: gardening as a career

  • Posted by
    gao yike - P.R.China
    (gaoyk@263.net) on
    Thu, Jan 6, 00 at 12:17

I need a position of horticulture in garden at UK.
I got doctor degree in this filde.
Coudle you help me


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RE: gardening as a career

This is a great thread. I too have chosen horticulture as a second career. I took the jump three years ago and have no regrets. It is seasonal as I am in Southern Ontario, and when I started I had no idea how I was going to bridge the "off season" financially. I guess in hindsight I am glad I didn't think about it too long, because I may have thought myself out of it before I began. Through the winters I rely on the skills from my previous career doing office temp work. It's perfect. If you have the passion, go for it, somehow it will all fall into place!!


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Lorie: Oooh, now there's a solution I hadn't thought of to the seasonal work dilemma - falling back on your previous experience for temp positions! Thanks! I'm still looking for a year-round position in gardening, but until then....

To everyone thinking of making the leap, I had to be laid off to get myself to do it a little over a year ago, but WHAT A GREAT CHANGE to my life. I worked in a famous nursery for the summer and it was probably the best summer of my life. Go for it - it's so worth it!


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This is a very inspirational topic. Somehow I thought maybe I was the only 30-ish person who was disenchanted with their career. I am an R.N., tired of the politics of medicine. My problem is that in our area, rural SW AR, there are few opportunities but many interested parties. Within a 20 mile radius there are 10 greenhouse/nursery type businesses. I guess what I want is a specific niche to fill. Any suggestions???


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I am so pleased to find this forum. My post is a little OT, but someone might be interested--so here goes.
I have started my own little consulting/speaking business in birdscaping --attracting birds to your property/garden. So far, I only have a few speaking engagements, local garden clubs, groups, etc... but I am really looking to make this my second job (right now)! and hopefully one day --to make it my only job.
My input here is to maybe find people who have knowledge of this topic or interest. I am investigating the Master Gardner program here in MD and am quite willing to educate myself further in landscape design.
Thanks for the time. Let me hear from you!
Sib


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Thanks everyone for your great postings on this topic. It has given me such hope as I look to a career change. I'd like to hear from those of you who have hired out as a gardener. I was especially inspired by Alexis who began as a volunteer in a garden center and took on clients. Please tell me more about your experiences. What kind of work do you do? Any lawn-care? Or is it all mostly garden upkeep: watering, weeding, planting, etc. How many jobs do you do in a day? How long do most jobs take? Do you go on a weekly basis? Anything else you can tell me about this exciting possibility would be greatly appreciated.


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RE: gardening as a career

Hi everyone,

Well, I just found this particular forum, and I'm glad I'm not the only one who's going through a career change into Horticulture. I'd just like some opinions from you all regarding wehre I should go for my education now.

I would like to work in a large nursery, preferably specializing in orchids, but any nursery will do as what better life than making your passion your job. I've looked into a few choices in Ontario Canada, and Guleph university and Niagara Parks Commission are the 2 choices that I have right now. For what I'd like to do eventually, which would be the better choice?

And also, I'd like to stay with the Greater Toronto Area if possible, so waht kind of oppotunities are available to a person with a horticultural science degree or diploma withint this region?

As to pay, haha, does anyone know how much a job in a nursery usually pays? :)

I appreciate any advice or information you can offer me.

Jon


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I ran screaming from the Criminal Justice System...and "temporarily" fell into a retail position in the garden center of a home improvement retail chain....That was one year ago.

This is the best thing that ever happened to me! If you aren't sure which way you want to go in your garden career, this will surely help you decide!

I get the knowledge of current and former landscapers, horticulturists, farmers, etc. I have learned more in the past year than I could ever have imagined....I had never even potted a plant before this experience...I am now taking college courses relevant to my position...

Hope you take the leap, Jon!

P.S....The pay, like most areas in life, depends on the education and specific area you choose...I can't speak for where you live, but in the Southwest, many are doing VERY well in this field! Good Luck!


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Thanks everyone for your inspiration and knowledge. I am going to be transitioning from full-time to part-time work in June. This idea of a garden center has given me many ideas to work from. What are the pitfalls that may come up? Do you have any prepatory advice? Thank you.


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I've been sitting on a similar idea of a career change for well over a year now. One thing I thought might be useful is to have some formal education before launching out. This certainly isn't necessary for those wanting to work in a garden center, though they prefer some knowledge. It should translate into a little better starting wage though so I think worth considering.

Like others who've posted here, knowing what kind of schooling and where to get it can be problematic. I currently contribute quite a bit to the family budget so quitting my job outright and returning to college to finish a degree in Hort. really isn't an option - too long and too expensive. Many local colleges do provide a 2-year training in landscape or turf management, and you get the benefit of co-op experience with these programs. The Master Gardener programs are good, so I understand, but not an option for those of us working during the day.

What I've found, and has been mentioned once here already, is the independant study program at U. of Guelph, Ont. I'm working on their 'Master Horticulturist' certification currently, but there are many other certifications available as well. They also have a diploma program in Hort (not same as a degree but covers a considerable amount of material and requires a 12 month work experience in the field). How employers in the US view this training I don't know. Certainly the materials in the Master Horticulturist seem general enough, and particularly applicable to those of us in the northeast or upper midwest. The cost for the courses are reasonable as well. I figured that to complete the diploma program would be just a little more than one semester's tuition (FT) at the university nearest my home (albeit, a little pricey because it's a private institution). For those who'd like to read more about the U of Guelph independant study programs, see the link below.

Here is a link that might be useful: University of Guelph


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This site has been inspriational to me! I am 43 and want desperatly to start a new career. Finances and benefits (namely health insurance benefits) are the obstacles facing me. I have found a Master Gardening program through the extension office in my area that I can attend - nights - since I work full-time. It begins in Spring 2001. I am mainly interested in landscape design at this point. Can anyone advise me on what types of jobs are out there in this field, if they offer benefits (health insurance)? Also, are any other type of degrees needed or recommended besides Master Gardener? How have some of you been doing in your career moves? Hope to hear from some of you soon!


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I too am interested in a gardening career. I am prresently a teacher and wish to continue in the teaching field but with a twist - Horticluture Therapy - where I use garening as a form of therapy for those who need it. I have no formal training in this field but I have a social work background and many years of experimenting in the garden - container gardening of various ornamental plants and vegetables, especially the unusual kinds, is most exciting. Last summer I grew sweet potatoes in a container, this summer I grew grape and cherry tomatoes and kiwi fruit. The tomatoes turned out great and I am now reaping the rewards. If there are any employers reading this, or any orgnizations/institutions looking for an enthusiastic gardener for the greenhouse etc. do contact me a.s.a.p. I am ready to go!


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I am 26 years old and have (finally!) figured out exactly what i want to do with myself - i want to find a way to make gardening my life's work. I am looking for a horticultural program in California where i can get a masters (or possibly even a doctorate ) in horticulture.

Can anybody point me in the right direction? All help is appreciated. Thank you.


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During the past few years I've discovered a real love for plants and gardening. After working in healthcare for quite a long time, I just need to get away from it all and start over. I really want to spend the rest of my working years doing something I have a passion for. I need to find a good distance education program, and I'm wondering if anyone out there has ever taken gardening and landscaping courses from Harcourt-Learning, PCDI, or Stratford? What did you think of their training, and would you recommend them? Does anyone know of any other good home study programs? Thanks.


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Kaye,
I'm glad to see that you are finishing your education in landscaping and hort. I am from SD and am very familiar with SDSU in Brookings. (In fact, I took my Master Gardening course from there). All I can say is, it is a fantastic school for hort with fantabulous teachers! I had a few of them for my MG classes. There are none better. They now have a bio-stress lab and numerous greenhouses there that are known all across the country for their experimental projects in trees (fruit, to be exact), and crops. They have had new breeds of fruit trees roll out of that department by the tons! I highly recommend this school. I think you can get them at SDSU.edu. You'll have to check them out!

Weze


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I may soon be facing life alone, as my hubby is very ill. I had thought of moving into a mobile home park for seniors, and will need to supplement my social security income. I've decided to do 'tiny' garden design, for others in this park, and one other park, locally. As long as I'm physically able, I can do some maintenance too. I am very glad to see that others are doing this, and thru this forum, I have found a school within driving distance where I can get some training. Thank You all!


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Wow. It was like I'd written some of these notes. I too (at 30) am changing careers from banking (ugh) to horticulture. Glad to know I'm not alone. Thanks for the inspiration! I especially liked the comment, "Somehow, it'll work out" because it's obviously not as straightforward as some occupations.

I have a bit of experience volunteering in Horticulture Therapy. There is a part-time gardener who is paid by the Vancouver General Hostpital and it's part of the OT program.

A suggestion for others writing - add your city and state/province to your profile - it'll help other readers. Thanks.


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Hi, i am doing Ph.D in horticulture aqnd i love gardening. i am very much fond of beautiful gardens and i want to make my career in gardening. thanks


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Wow...What a great website. Recently my family has been thru a rough year & I needed to focus my energy on something. Since I love gardening & decorating I plan on starting a container gardening business this spring. I've collected odd & unusual containers to plant, teapots, buckets, anything with a hole. I plan on starting at flea markets and then would love to go to customers or businesses to plant. Does anyone have experience in this area? If anyone can give me information or ideas I would love it. I haven't found anyone that does this type of work.

Any suggestions would be helpful.

Thanks...Trayce


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gardening as a career

Anyone out there know of a good "home-study" course in gardening/design/horticulture here in the U.S.???? Have found many in UK and abroad. Looking for something a bit closer to home.


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I recently changed my career at 35 and went into Horticulture--I'm working at a large greenhouse operation. I'll be taking courses with The University of Guelph Independant study program in my off season(Nov-Feb).
I'm not being paid much at this point as this is an entry level position but once I obtain my diploma or certification I hope to be paid more in the area I choose to work in.. I've heard from some of the Horticulturalists at work, that there's not much money to be made in this field of study. I'm really hoping this isn't true as I'd like to do what I love but must feel it was worth it financially. Are there areas of Horticulture that pay better than others, like Design, for example? Any ideas? Please don't get me wrong, obviously money isn't my sole motivation.


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I am working as a secretary at a community college. One of our benefits is free classes. Downside, we don't offer any two year degrees in Hort. I am 47 and want to either make a career change or plan to use gardening to supplement my retirement income. I would like to grow plants and wholesale them to nurseries. We have 14 acres that we now plant in beans/corn etc. Does anyone have any experience in this area? What is the average markup on plants? Is there any money in this? Thanks


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RE: gardening as a career

I always had indoor plants from as long as I can remember.I changed from a Health Care Professional to Econocmic Development in Arts and Culture about 10 years ago. Then at the age of 49 I became disabled. I continued gardening, growing, hybridizing and propagating all the while. Often each year I had too many plants and offered them at "Plant Sales" from my home. Then I specialized in rare and unsual plants, heirlooms and organic vegetables. I sold my surplus organic vegetables to local variety stores and they came back and asked for more. Next year I'll increase my numbers of flats as they did so well. Now I grow plants 12 months of the year to keep pace with seasonal buying.
Remember cut flowers can be sold from your garden. Late in the season you can dry them and sell them for crafts or make floral arrangements. Indoor Flea Markets are great venues. In the fall I collect and save seeds. My seeds are in great demand as they are organic and unusual. During the winter I pkg up seeds for sales in the spring. They are usually gone within a couple of months. Always go to Garden Shows and network and meet new people, there may be future clients there. Join local gardening clubs for other networking opportunities. Trading skills is another great opportunity. I trade my computer skills for making up fliers, posters, newsletters in exchange for things that I need such as fertilizer, potting soil and rooting hormone. Last year was my first year at attempting to open up a greenhouse and I made enough money to purchase all the thermal glass that I needed. I then traded interior house painting for labour to have the greenhouse built. The opportunities are endless and courses are available everywhere, full time, part time, e-courses, credit for previous experience, Master Gardeners. Make a transition and do what you love and put up with some of the old stuff too. Eventually, it all comes into place.
Looking for things to do over the winter months for seasonal gardeners...stop and think again as there are lots of things that can be done.
Good Luck to those making a transition!!


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RE: gardening as a career

I am so happy to find this forum! I have been studying horticulture on my own for 15 years. I spend quite a bit of time teaching people in my community how to garden with plants that won't wilt everyday in our heat.I would love to get paid for doing this! I eventually plan to attend Columbus Technical College to take thier horticulture classes.I also love to identify plants for people. I have gotten quite good at doing it with a brief description of the plant. If I can be any help to anyone in either of these areas please email me at Suzystewart36875@yahoo.com. Keep the great ideas coming in. I would love to hear more stories about publishing newsletters,etc.


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RE: gardening as a career

I to have been interested in taking a course in Garden Design but haven't found much luck in finding a school. I live in Miami ,Fl and work full-time so I'd really be interested in finding something I can study around my work. I did look into the some home curse studies but wasn't sure if they were really good. If anyone has any information or suggestions I'd really like to hear from you.Thanks


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RE: gardening as a career

WOW three years and still going! Wonderful. I too am among the 30 somethings that are changing careers. I have recently made this decision (today is the first search on the internet).

Any suggestions on where to go in my area (Joliet, Illinois) would be helpful. I am going to register for classes at the Jr. college.

Good luck everyone.


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RE: gardening as a career

Like so many of you in this thread, I want to change careers. I am interested in using my experience and design sensibility as a garden/landscape designer. I have been gardening for as long as I can remember. Unfortunately, I have to continue working at my current job until I can gather some credentials and clients for the new one...I've looked into two distance programs that should work but would like to know if anyone has done them. The English Gardening School at the Chelsea Physic Gardens in London has distance programs. I'm going to check them out in person in November. The University of Pennsylvania has a Virtual Studio course offered on line through the AALA (I think that's it). I would love some feedback. I currently garden in Zone 6 in northern NJ.


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RE: gardening as a career

Wow...I too have been itching for a career change...I work in the finance industry and have been thinking about a new career. Several years ago, I caught the gardening bug. I love to garden, I love to think about gardening, I love to read about gardening and so naturally I have been wondering if this field would be right for me. My biggest fear is this. What if I turn this passion into a career and then it just becomes work. I love it so much now, but if this becomes work, will I lose the love. Do you know what I mean? Can anyone give me their thoughts on this.


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RE: gardening as a career

This conversation on career changes to gardening began on Jan. 2, 1998. There is alot of very good information here. Thanks to all of you for your ideas and experiences.
I have been planning on changing careers to the gardening arena for several months. Then came the September 11 th tragedy. How are your businesses holding up since then? Could I start this fall doing yard clean up? I live in an area with many established bur oak trees.


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RE: gardening as a career

I am 51 years old and I am just getting into the business. responding to the person who is wonderring if their passion (gardening) will turn into work. IMHO I think what you are doing for a living now is work. Getting up in the morning with a song in your heart and a bounce to your walk is heaven on earth. If your career path does become work, then get out and do something different. One step leads to another, It may even take you around the world.


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RE: gardening as a career

I need help. I am currently going to college and I am finding it hard to decide a major. I have so many interest and want to find a major that will fit me perfectly. I love the outdoors, plants, wildlife, and decorating, and I want to find a major that can, if possible include all my interest. Is it possible? I just want to make the right decision so I know that I will be happy. Please help!! I would really appreciate it!! Hope to hear from you soon!!


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RE: gardening as a career

How is the pay in the area of horticulture? Just curious. Have thought about it myself. Currently working in healthcare, which can wear you thin!!


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RE: gardening as a career

I happily left my very lucrative career as a fashion designer 8 years ago to go back to school and become a landscape designer. Although I really love it, it's a bit depressing to be earning, at 50, what I was earning as an assistant at 23.This career is really a labor of love, and very satisfying. But if money is an issue, it can be difficult.


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RE: gardening as a career

I figured I would throw my two cents in. I'm a freshman in college and my major is Horticulture, but I've worked in and around my aunt and uncles greenhouses all my life. The time that I've spent at the greenhouse has taught me much more than being in the classroom, but ya gotta have the book knowledge people tell me. Around here in Tennessee many people are quitting the greenhouse business because of various reasons mainly of age. I'm glad to see more people getting into the business!!

Lucas


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RE: gardening as a career

  • Posted by Arbor z10 LBC (My Page) on
    Tue, Jul 22, 03 at 1:54

I changed jobs this March, went from 13 years as an office person to working in a nursery and greenhouse. The money part is a tad heartbreaking at times, but I'm lucky to work for a good company with insurance, vacation time, etc. and the trade off is more than worth it. Where else would I get this weird tan where it looks like I have white socks on when I don't?

I've taken some jobs on the side doing design and installation, but am cutting back a bit already - I'm just too tired and beat up from the regular job to double dig beds on my days off. Especially in July in Southern California. I'm a little surprised and chagrined that there is a limit to what I can physically do, although I am much stronger than I was when I started. I know that down the line, I want to always have my hands in the dirt and be able to hoist 15 gallon containers of trees, just not 7 days a week. Most of my coworkers take zero days off because they're raising families. :( I'm focusing right now on studying for the CCN exam next year, and the master gardener training if I can get the time off to go to the classes. I'm reading the book just to bridge the enormous gap in my knowledge from changing fields.

Realizing that this is what I've always wanted to do was liking coming home.


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RE: gardening as a career

I can't help but add to this thread. This will be my third career. I was an RN and an elementary school teacher before. I am 36 and looking for a career that makes me happy to get up in the morning. I will start school in January 2004 and I am very excited. I hope that I can find a job in my area. I think that if I could not find a decent wage here then I could go back to my previous career. I think doing what you love is so important. I don't mind the low wages but my husband does as we have two young children to raise. I hope to meet like-minded people who love gardening passionately and encourage me. Sometimes I think that I am the only one who can't find the right work after all these years. After reading all these messages I can see that it is not true. Good luck to all!


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RE: gardening as a career

Its great too see so many people being inspired to start a new career. After briefly dabbling with gardening (which soon became an obsession!) I started the RHS general certificate, and then shortly after this I packed in my office job to work in a garden centre/nursery. I have never regretted my decision, its hard work, fairly poorly paid but to be working outdoors with the changing seasons is exhilarating. My advice to anyone considering a career change is to keep focussed on what interests you about horticulture and take any opportunity you can to develop that particular interest.


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RE: gardening as a career

Thanks for such a inspiring topic of discussion. I've been studying on my own for 5 years now. Financially and taking care of a sick daughter have forced me to stay at my dead end job for 20 years..My heart is to design and work in gardens. I've read everything about gardening I can get my hands on and use the google search link like it's my right hand. Everyone here over the last several years have gave some very good advice. The words that you write are a inspiration to those who would like to make this career change. Thanks for sharing your knowledge and talent.....


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RE: gardening as a career

If you are looking for niche market, try native plants. There is a huge interest as people get older and want less maintenance and also as we need to use less water in our gardening as the population grows and demand on water increases. The neat thing is that there are many discoveries yet to be made! We really don't have a good understanding how many native plants grow, their lifecycle, needs, even what some of their seeds look like etc. You can experiment and become an expert.
Have fun!


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RE: gardening as a career 2

Now that I went back and read ALL the posts, there is a horticulture diploma program in our town at Malaspina University College. It is highly regarded.
One place to look for good-paying jobs in gardening is at the city or regional level and these are unionized. These jobs are usually tough to land with lots of competition, but as the boomers move through, there will be more opportuntities for us younger but still experienced group. Non-profit sector usually pays poorly and is often dependent on grants which are quickly drying up. Private sector usually pays poorly because their aim is to make a profit and they won't do that by paying staff gobs of money!
However, if you can create a niche, whether by working for yourself or in partnership with others, there is opportunity! Good luck to everyone!


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gardening as a career - container gardening.

This has been the best find on the web for me so far...it was so great to read other's stories of going through career changes in their 30's and later! I've always loved gardening but have been absorbed in a career in fashion...a job layoff led me to freelancing in fashion in different areas which has been OK but I'm still not happy...until recently i was not ready to give up on my fashion career but am now wondering what would be the best approach for designing container gardens. Does anyone know of classes that focus on this aspect of gardening? I am also an artist...are there jobs out there requiring illustrators/painters? Just not sure if I should plunge right in or start out by taking one or two classes. If I take classes, what's the best start? Thanks so much!


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RE: gardening as a career

Hi! What a gem to find this site! I am almost 30 and thinking of jumping ship from teaching to horticulture and pursuing a creative career....it is inspirational to hear all of you talking about the switch! It is pretty scary but I think it will be very rewarding.


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RE: gardening as a career

Hi,
It is such a nice stuff and I found a lot of useful information which is going to be very helpful in my learning process. Thank you so much for sharing.

Stella


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RE: gardening as a career

It's been 11 years since this thread started! I think it's wonderful that the conversation has continued with so much momentum. I tried to email Marisa (who started this discussion) but I got the mailer daemon! (Maybe that's a good thing...maybe it means she's got a career in gardening now!)

I too am considering a career change, at 47. I discovered my passion for gardening about 12 years ago. Now I stay out in my garden until the last rays of light have disappeared before calling it quitting time! My back is sore from shoveling, but I am so happy!

Ive worked for years full-time in an office not my idea of living! In my free time I've learned a lot about plants and gardening techniques online, from horticultural books, and from working with designing, planting, and maintaining my familys tiny backyard, and in my parents' very large one. I want to change careers now to a horticultural field, but in this new (horrible) economy, Im wondering what the job options now are. Have the employment choices in landscaping and landscape design changed much? Have some careers become obsolete? What career path suggestions do you all have which would still provide a living wage while I'm learning?

I eventually want to go into landscape design. I want and need further education in plants and design. Do you think it's important to have a certificate? A Bachelor's degree?, A Master Program specialty? Or just work experience with education thrown in wherever possible? Do you have any suggestions of good schools in my area?

I would love to hear any suggestions. My interests and non-professional background are in garden design, floral arranging, interior design, and the arts in general.

I know that this is a REALLY long post, but I can't find figure out what to cut out of it. Thanks for ANY suggestions!

Katharine, Sacramento, CA


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