REMEMBER...

LIFE IS A GARDEN; ENJOY THE STROLL.

April 21, 2015

LANDSCAPERS AND GARDENERS ARE TWO COMPLETELY DIFFERENT SPECIES

Thinking about contracting a landscape company to perform work on your property?  Perhaps you want a gardener.  If you're smart, you'll consider hiring both.  And, no, they are not one in the same.  They are two completely different species, though they may have similar characteristics.  Here is a big sprig of sage advice to help you hire the right species for the job.  How am I able to advise you?  Well, I've worked in the landscape/gardening industry for 27 years, fifteen of which having operated my own gardening business, and currently do so to this day.  I've seen and done a lot in those years.
©Linda Nelson 2015
Landscape companies generally focus on lawn care, hardscaping, property clean ups, and tree and shrub installation.  The better ones offer landscape design services, too.  The workers are more likely to be equipped with gas powered trimmers, leaf blowers, chain saws, tree carts, etc...  The crew is often male dominant, and yes, it is often a crew.  Their focus may be installation project orientated, or that of a weekly service such as mowing lawns, leaf debris removal to patios and driveways, lawn edging, mulching, tree limbing, etc...  

Gardeners, on the other hand, will often work solo, but may have a few hired assistants.  The gender is usually a mix of both male and female.  They could have some pretty impressive power tools loaded on their trucks, but more often they are seen using a pair of pruners, a pruning saw, a hand cultivator, a leaf rake and a planting shovel.  They tiptoe quietly about your prized garden beds, meticulously working their magic.  They are constantly using the plant knowledge stored in their brains to execute the pruning and training decisions for the good of your plants.  If they are not certified in pest management application, they are knowledgeable enough to know when your plants are ill; a wise gardener will bring this information to your attention and recommend an appropriate company for you to call.  Good gardeners are not in the business of trying to sell you more plants, especially if you really don't need them; however, they will let you know when your hostas or irises need dividing, and suggest using the divisions to fill in empty spots or expanding upon an existing garden bed.  They will let you know when a shrub needs corrective pruning, and that this procedure may take a couple of seasons to complete, and that you may have to sacrifice a season of blooms in order to get the plant back to its optimal status.  A wise homeowner will accept the professional judgement call of the gardener and let him/her do what is best for the plant.

And, no, the kid down the street who's looking to make some extra cash on the weekend is neither a landscaper, nor a gardener, and should not be doing anything in your garden.  Nor should Joe Somebody who scribbled on and posted a scrap paper ad at the local convenience store, "Call me.  I do painting, stone work, landscaping, cleaning, carpentry, knitting, basket weaving, origami..."  The exception to this rule is if the candidate is enrolled in a horticultural or landscape program.  Period.
©Linda Nelson 2015
Now, what about the landscape company that claims to handle all aspects of gardening and landscaping from soup to nuts?  Be leery, my dear homeowner.  That company would have to be very large, and have quite a number of maintenance divisions to handle all the tasks.  Personal attention to your beloved plants is certainly not something you will receive.  At best, you will have bunch of workers breeze through your property, then drive off to the next job to do the same thing there.   Landscape companies are not in the business of plant maintenance, but gardeners are, and they will take good care of all the wonderful plants that the landscape company installed.  And, as a good homeowner, you will introduce your gardener to your landscaper so that they can collaborate and become the best team that two different species could ever be.
©Linda Nelson 2015
Trust me, a landscaper will gladly pass on detailed, fussy work to a gardener.  Likewise, a gardener will gladly call upon the landscaper to do some preparatory heavy work.  And, you the homeowner, will get to sit back and enjoy your beautiful and well maintained garden.

4 comments:

  1. I love this post! It is so true and fair. Raising the gardener to a well deserved level and yet not judging the landscapers.

    Many times I have had to demand proper seasonal personal at work. My boss often wants to take in teenagers and Joe Somebody. Probably because they are cheaper. But I declare that I need interested and somewhat educated co-workers. Otherwise I rather work alone... You just made me so glad. Thank you!

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    1. Thank you for your comment, Charlotte. I know all too well the woes of working with untrained coworkers. With operating my own business, I won't settle for an assistant that is not formally trained or equipped with years of qualified experience under their belt. It's just not worth the aggravation. As a team, my current assistant and I can move mountains! :)

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  2. What an insightful breakdown about the differences between landscapers and gardeners. I learned this over the years and decided to hire a landscaper to save money and become my own gardener to get the flowers, herbs and shrubs I wanted.

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    1. That's a great approach to property care, provided a homeowner is willing to take on the gardening tasks. I'm sure you must find it very rewarding. Kudos to you!

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