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How to become a Gardener

gardener careers

What does a Gardener do?

Gardeners grow and tend plants in public parks, private gardens and areas around shopping centres, schools, large offices and similar buildings. They may also be involved in garden design and gardening construction.

Gardening tasks include sowing and raising plants, pruning, weeding, mowing and tidying pathways. This will involve using hand tools, such as spades, shears and saws, and mechanical tools, such as rotavators and ride-on mowers.

Some gardeners perform basic building tasks such as erecting sheds, and help with the upkeep of garden machinery. In public and historic gardens they may have to answer enquiries from members of the public.

What's the working environment like working as a Gardener?

Gardeners who work for local authorities work a 36 or 37-hour week. Overtime, weekend and part-time work is available, particularly during busy times. Self-employed gardeners set their own hours.

Most of the work is outdoors, in most weather conditions. A certain amount of flexibility may be required, as work is often disrupted by the weather. For some jobs safety equipment such as gloves, eye protectors and a hard hat will need to be worn. Gardening can be a very strenuous profession requiring lifting, digging and carrying.

A driving licence is needed for self-employed gardeners.

What does it take to become a Gardener?

To be a gardener, you should:

  • have an interest in plants and nature
  • enjoy working outdoors in most weathers
  • have a good level of strength and fitness
  • be creative and have an eye for detail
  • have good commercial sense if self-employed.

Gardener Career Opportunities

There are nearly 90,000 gardeners in the UK, employed by local authorities, private companies or private households.

Voluntary sector organisations such as the National Trust, the Royal Parks and botanical gardens are large employers. Some gardeners also work for garden centres. Self-employment prospects are good.

Further information

If you would like to know anything about Gardener that does not appear on Hotcourses, further information can be found below.

Royal Horticultural Society (RHS)
Horticultural Training Officer
RHS Garden
Wisley
Woking
Surrey
GU23 6QB
Tel: 01483 224234
www.rhs.org.uk

Lantra
Lantra House
Stoneleigh
Warwickshire
CV8 2LG
Tel: 0845 707 8007
www.lantra.co.uk

Lantra career advice sites:

www.ajobin.com

www.afuturein.com

National Proficiency Tests Council (NPTC)
Stoneleigh Park
Stoneleigh
Warwickshire
CV8 2LG
Tel: 024 7685 7300
www.nptc.org.uk

Scottish Skills Testing Service (SSTS)
Ingliston
Edinburgh
EH28 8NE
Tel: 0131 333 2040
www.ssts.co.uk

LGcareers
www.lgcareers.com

Horticultural Correspondence College
Freepost
Notton
Chippenham
Wiltshire
SN15 2BR
Tel: 01249 730326
www.hccollege.co.uk

Royal Botanic Gardens Kew
Richmond
Surrey
TW9 3AB
www.rbgkew.org.uk

Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh
20A Inverleith Row
Edinburgh
EH3 5LR
Tel: 0131 552 7171
www.rbge.org.uk