I'm at a loss. I'm trying to figure out what is happening to the vocation of horticulture.
Attending Landscape Ontario Congress this past January, I specifically stopped to look at the horticulture job postings, even though I was not interested in changing my current position. I like to get a scope of what sort of trends are happening within horticultural employment.
Perhaps it was a bit sparse at that time of year, but for me, it seemed too meagre in comparison to all the, landscaper forepersons, landscape team member, landscape maintenance worker positions posted. I was hard pressed to find many 'Horticulturist' or 'Gardener' postings at all.
Why is this happening?
I get the whole - bring the inside out, for the 'outdoor living' aspect of landscape trends. Yet, the distinct absence in trained, qualified horticulturists is quite alarming for me. Especially since I lead a team of what I hope will be "knowledgable" staff year to year.
I can't help but think that North Americans are using the term landscaper too much. To me, the word 'landscaper' encompasses too broad a term when dealing with our outdoor spaces. It's been widely adopted, because the various vocations concerning the installation and maintenance of gardens outdoors can be limiting to earning a consistent living. That's my estimation, anyway. If I were to say I was a landscaper to a client, I then could add to my list of abilities outside of gardening: turf maintenance, carpentry, masonry, etc... possibly snagging more than one job.
Yet, aren't we hurting horticulture and the other trades by hiring "landscapers"? Aren't we losing horticultural trades distinction by not hiring hopeful apprentices? Any one with a gas powered hedge trimmer or string trimmer is getting hort based jobs now. Anyone claiming they have "gardening" experience are getting the horticulture jobs out there.
When trying to explain to strangers, what it is that I do for a living, many people cock their heads to one side when I say I am a horticulturist. I have to break it down that I grow plant material and tend to gardens.
If I were to say I am a horticulturist in the UK or Europe, most people would nod in understanding. Here, it's a sad state of having to explain oneself all the time.
Hmmm. You don't see Stone Masons or Carpenters or Arborists losing their niche. They have certification, or have apprenticed for many years to develop their skill. The proof is in the pudding. Well so do horticulturists.
Please, the next time you seek gardening maintenance, invest in Horticulturists. Invest in those of us who have been educated in horticulture and deserve a good living at it. Invest in the future of horticulture. Get more bang for your buck because of those of us that LOVE and respect horticulture as a true trade. We know how to manage your gardens properly. Reduce the need for landscapers who can do any job on the cheap. Allow us to make your outdoor living spaces thrive!
Rant is over.