Do you want to become a professional gardener or are you looking to progress your gardening career? Teamwork, public engagement and social media are among the modern skills you will need, in addition to core knowledge.
Hampstead Heath: among sites tended by City of London Corporation gardeners - image: Wallpaperfx.com
Professional gardeners are no longer expected to solely deal with the needs of plants. They also have to show that they can work as part of a team, engage with the public, get to grips with computers, deal with finance and be a powerful force on social media.
Here are some of the key skills that will equip you to succeed as a gardener in the modern age:
- Personal qualities: Having the right mindset is often more important than being an expert, especially for junior gardeners. Personal presentation and the way you talk to people, as well as punctuality, reliability and honesty, are key.
- Wider skills base: Whilst a thirst for plant knowledge is important, it is not everything. Gardeners need to be able to work as a team and understand the needs of the organisation.
- Recognised qualification: It is useful to obtain a recognised gardening qualification. Diploma courses or apprenticeships provide a good grounding.
- Managerial skills: Many gardeners work for stately homes or hotels. They may have to work closely with the wider organisation, which requires tact and managerial skills.