Gardening is not just a hobby. There are hundreds of thousands of people working as a professional gardener across the world.
Is being a gardener hard? It can be physically and mentally hard. However we need to determine what ‘hard’ means. Even the skilled gardener can have challenges.
Find out more including examples –
Defining the word HARD
In gardening the word “hard” can mean various things. There are things like heavy, repetitive, awkward, frustrating, challenging, laborious, tiring, complaints and abuse. Also what one person thinks as hard can be very easy for another person. In every occupation there are tasks that can be classified as hard. Hard can also mean we have no experience.
Laborers are not Gardeners
Definition of a laborer is someone with no skill set in the area they are working or have some previous work experience.
People with a lack of skills or hobby gardeners may find it hard. Because of a lack of skills the work or task can take longer. When the task takes longer the body gets tired and starts to feel sore. Also it can be easy to damage or hurt yourself and maybe others. And then there is equipment usage. Because of the lack of skills I have seen people break tools because they are using them for the wrong task or just do not know how to operate them as required.
Examples of tasks that people have made it HARD when they do not have skills:
Planting a Tree – I have seen people completely the wrong way by digging the hole too deep, not deep enough, bury the plant and even plant the plant with the pot still attached!
Whipper Snipping – I have watched people walk for miles and miles when whipper snipping. Large areas can be confusing and walking in a way where there is no or limited backtracking can be strenuous. Having a clear understanding and path at the start saves a lot of tired legs. The same goes with being prepared with equipment. Carrying extra cord and knowing how long the gas will last.
Learning the Skills
It can take time to learn the skills required to be a gardener. All the little tips and tricks that make it easier. Over time the experience builds up and yes it does get easier. However when first starting it can feel hard.
Pruning Roses – Not just the physical part of standing and walking all day. And using a pair of secateurs all day can hurt your hand if you are not used to it.
Also the mental side of thinking of how to prune each rose. Initially it takes a lot of time to assess a rose and then decide where to prune it. Where do I make my cuts?
Safety Boots – Wearing steel cap boots can take time to get used. They feel unfortable, heavy and awkward and can hurt your feet.
A basic task can turn to frustration very quickly. Then people define the task as hard. Quite often because we have a hiccup or similar our mindset shifts and all of a sudden everything goes wrong. And when asked “How was your day?” The answer is quite often “It was Hard”. The reality is though it wasn’t hard at all. It appeared hard.
Example – When the hedge trimmer stops working in the middle of cutting. Your frustration at having to fix the problem and maybe return on another day to finish can be time consuming making the day feel hard.
The Body Adjusts to Physical work
Similar to working out at a gym or swimming laps at a pool gardening is very similar. Because it is a very physical job it can take time to get to a level where you are not worn out before the end of the day.
Whipper snipping can tire the feet and legs. Even worse it can hurt your feet if you are wearing the wrong pair of shoes. It can also put strain on the back and arm muscles.
Working as a gardener means working outdoors. And this can be physically tiring alone for at least the first 6 months. If you are going from an inside job or even school to an outside job it is difficult to start with. It takes time for the body to get used to working in fresh air and being on your feet all day
Rain, hail or shine sometimes a gardener has to get the job done. Especially when there are deadlines. The plants may HAVE to be pruned or the leaves have to be raked up.
Rain – working in the rain can be miserable. Wearing wet weather gear does help but sometimes it can be uncomfortable. You could be sweaty in the gear. Or you might be too cold. Or wearing too much gear that you can’t move.
Heat – It might be extremely hot and/or humid. Taking more little breaks throughout the day helps. But often it also makes the day longer. Keeping up the fluids and wearing protective gear can also help. However it can still be exhaustive.
Wind – not only does it annoy people it can be difficult for gardeners. Sitting on a ride on a lawn mower in the middle of summer cutting dry grass is not fun. And when it’s windy it is worse. The cut grass (and dust) blows back onto you. For people with allergies it can be worse. At the end of the day you look like you have been rolling in dirt. It can be extremely unpleasant. Or walking on your feet all day into a head wind can be extremely tiring.
All these elements big or small can add up to making the day difficult which in turn makes it feel hard.
Being a gardener generally means learning hundreds if not thousands of plant names. Learning the Common name can be tough in itself. Then learning the Botanical name can be hard. And the details about the plants. Things like learning what pests commonly attack what plants. Or what soil certain plants prefer. What is wrong with my plant? And why is my grass not green and lush. Much of this comes from studying and from experience.
It can feel hard when you cannot remember a plant name. Not everytime are you able to recall a plant name. A customer may ask your advice on a certain plant. And in that moment you are unable to remember the name. The customer may lose respect in your knowledge. It can be tough.
Training People Can Be Hard
Not everyone is a teacher even though they may have tons of experience. They may know everything but then there is sharing that knowledge so people can learn. Imparting knowledge can be hard for some people.
And then there is WHO are you teaching. Are they motivated to learn. Or are they there because they think they have to be there.
Working Behind a Desk
For some people they have a desire to be the Head Gardener or Supervisor. Quite often there is more paperwork involved in these roles. It does not suit all people. Hence they may
Gardening is Fun
After explaining how HARD being a gardener can be it can also be EASY. Once you have the knowledge and experience it can be fun and rewarding. Especially when you look back at your work. As quite often you have taken a messy area into a great looking usable space. And often get compliments from other people. You can get eminent satisfaction from a job well done.