Anyone earn a living as a Gardener?

(59 Posts)
BetteDavis01 Fri 17-May-13 12:09:33

If so, can you tell me what qualifications you have? Do you make a good living from it? Thank you smile

funnyperson Sat 01-Jun-13 17:05:15

Study these days is the privilege of the wealthy. Sharks profiteer from student accommodation and grants and loans are not easily available or are too expensive. If I were not a pacifist I would cheerfully wish those who mutter about the 'knowledge economy' on the one hand and pass laws to bring in fees on the other, out of existence.

CuttedUpPear Sat 01-Jun-13 19:16:40

I studied for four years part time whilst bringing up two DCs on my own and working every other hour I could gardening.

The very fact that I needed to do a job that I could take DS along with was the reason I got into gardening. I started when he could just walk and would take along a box of toys, a packed lunch, and work until he got bored (or until I couldn't stand the whinging any longer). It got easier when he started school - DD was already there.

So it's not just the privilege of the wealthy, but attainable if you are insane can juggle a trowel and a tricycle, and are happy to give LOTS of rides in a wheelbarrow. None of my clients ever complained that Ds was there. not that I gave them the option. They may have been a bit surprised but there you go.

Mirage Sat 01-Jun-13 22:10:22

I'm not wealthy.I took day release from my full time job [manager was scared I'd leave if he refused my request] and studied for 2 years.After that I worked 6 or 7 days a week,running working as a gardener with my office job,to see if I could hack it and if there was enough business out there.There was,so I jacked in the office job 11 years ago and have been self employed ever since.

Rhubarbgarden Sun 02-Jun-13 21:17:13

Kernowgal that must have been devastating to have to turn down the place at Kew.

I take my hat off to CuttedUpPear and anyone who combines study with small children. I know that many do it and that they make it work, but I'm just too knackered at the end of a day of childcare that I can barely string a sentence together, let alone sit down and write essays. Maybe if I was younger...

CuttedUpPear Sun 02-Jun-13 23:18:10

I had to do it through necessity really. And I do like being outside.
But we were very poor and I didn't have enough money for food. I had to find something to do that didn't involve paying for childcare.

Conversely, it was being single that helped me do my studies. The DCs were in bed by 8.30 every night and I just worked after that. Other people on my courses marvelled at how I managed but it was all down to not having some bloke around the place expecting food or conversation.

Kernowgal Sun 09-Jun-13 15:21:57

It felt like the right decision RhubarbGarden. When I turned it down I asked if it would preclude me from applying again in the future and they said no, absolutely not, they'd welcome a future application. Doing the interview was really exciting and a great experience. And it was a great confidence boost after a crappy year in a crappy job thinking I wasn't very good at it.

I've thought about doing this in the future, I'm 19 weeks pg so can't make the leap yet. I work as a gardener for the local council, so have learned a lot on the job, have thought about it a lot in the past year. I'm the only female and have noticed that a lot of the public are happier talking to me and asking me questions rather than the guys I work with.
I am trained but in countryside management, there is a cross over of skills so hoping that will help.

For those who have done this what are the start up costs?

CuttedUpPear Sun 09-Jun-13 23:21:25

Start up costs = zero.
I guess you probably have all your own handtools already. As I and some others have said on this thread, we don't do the heavy jobs, just the skilled ones!

My only running cost (apart from the car) is gardening gloves, of which I get through about five pairs a year.

Mirage Mon 10-Jun-13 19:45:23

Did your Countryside Management course cover hedgelaying Fanjo? That is always in demand out our way.I wanted my uncle to train me,but he said it is a horrible job and will rip your hands to bits.I'm still tempted though and I think the local rate is £15 a metre.

mirage I have done a bit of hedge laying, but not enough to be any good, I'm better at dry stone walling.

RetroHippy Tue 18-Jun-13 19:24:53

Sneaking in here. I'm a supply teacher so don't get paid during the summer holidays (or any holidays for that matter). I also don't exactly love it to the point of finding a full-time position.

I've got a friend to design me some flyers to pop through doors in the local area offering basic garden maintenance, pond clearance, pressure washing driveways, pruning,weeding, mowing, that sort of thing. Maybe some big jobs up ladders that require muscles! I'll be providing all my own tools and charging £15 an hour with OAP discount for maintenance gardening (so I'm not doing a total overhaul at £10 an hour).

Does that sound reasonable? I'm in Yorkshire, so don't want to overcharge.

I'm hoping to get enough work from this that I can be outside from spring to autumn, then when the gardening drops off, supplement it with supply teaching in the winter when all the teachers have flu.

I've got no qualifications, more an enthusiastic amateur, but I do know my stuff my mother has drummed it into me since I was able to say flower

hinkyhonk Wed 19-Jun-13 22:05:19

I love to do my own garden and whenever asked what my dream job is its gardening but I never thought I could make a career out of it. But sounds suspiciously like I should do some more research into this... Would bloody love to garden for a living. Apart from lean winter months any other major down sides?

RetroHippy Thu 20-Jun-13 21:05:50

Ruined hands I would imagine!

hinkyhonk Fri 21-Jun-13 08:40:20

True! Collateral damage I guess. Hmm there is kit to get together as well. Many things to consider.

my current job could be seasonal (if I took a downward and sideways step) with busy times over the winter months which might work well. Right off to do lots of research

Mirage Fri 21-Jun-13 19:36:48

No sick pay,holiday pay,wet/bad weather means no money,ruined hands and nails,dodgy knees and backs.But I wouldn't swap it.It does make you hardy and you really appreciate the changing seasons.I think I've had 1 week off sick in 14 years.

Rhubarbgarden Sat 22-Jun-13 00:28:32

Pokes in the eye from sharp branches whilst pruning are surprisingly common too. <vision never been the same since that incident with the Ruscus>

Kernowgal Sun 23-Jun-13 17:43:22

If you can pick and choose your jobs then it's the best job in the world. I'm a full time permanent employee of a big organisation and so we do all the grunt work as well as the nice stuff. For instance last week I spent several days banging in fence posts in high humidity and bright sunshine - not pleasant. But then this week I will be planting lots of lovely things.

I second what Mirage says about it making you hardy - the only time I've taken off since retraining has been for the norovirus. I very very very rarely get colds and even then they last a day at most.

I love it because you never stop learning - there's always a new skill to work on, a new plant to discover.

hinkyhonk Tue 25-Jun-13 15:54:19

might need to remain a pipe dream until the children are at school as would otherwise have to fund childcare but definitely one for the second career.

i've been looking into the rhs qualifications and does anyone know if you can go straight into Level 2 or do you need to do level 1 first. am a keen but very amateur gardener so know little about the proper way of doing things but know one end of a spade from the other

Kernowgal Tue 25-Jun-13 17:48:43

Level 2 is the lowest level they offer (I think it's equivalent to a GCSE), then once you've got that you can progress to Level 3 and do the practical qualification too. So yes, you can go straight in. I started it at evening classes with only very basic hortic knowledge so you'll be fine. They've changed the format slightly from when I did it (for various reasons I didn't finish the course) but you should be able to fit it around the kids without any problems.

It is also possible to do it by distance learning through the Horticultural Correspondence College but I would say that you need to be very very disciplined to do this - something I am definitely not! It is also nice to meet other students doing the same thing and support each other during the course.

daisydee43 Tue 25-Jun-13 21:34:25

Hi just took my RHS level 2 finals today and hoping to start a career henceforth. Already work part time at garden centre so would do it alongside that and then prob reduce my hours at work. I worry about the heavy lifting and digging but I have to be quite macho at work. I know few people who always seem to be doing well but the winter months are killer. I've developed a business website and hope to launch as soon as get my car. Start up will be zero cost as have all professional tools etc and have a trade card for wholesaler. I can't wait to get jobs have 1 so far but dh feels I won't be able to do it physically but I will see. My current job is not v diverse or challenging so can only see one way forward

Kernowgal Wed 26-Jun-13 17:09:10

Daisy don't let the physical side put you off - it will be knackering for the first couple of months but you will soon see your fitness improve. I am much stronger than I was and can now keep up with the blokes on my team. The winter months can be miserable but my advice on that front is to invest in good thermals and waterproofs as they make such a difference. Oh, and the best and cosiest socks you can find. I tend to buy a pair of those 2.5-tog socks each winter as steel toecaps give me chilblains.

Kernowgal Wed 26-Jun-13 17:09:30

PS Hope the exams went well!

Mirage Wed 26-Jun-13 20:17:11

Don't let your DH put you off.My dad said to me that no one would ever employ a woman as a gardener [thanks dad!hmm] and I was brought up on a farm and was expected to chuck bales about as a child,so he should have known better! I have happily proved him wrong for the past 14 years.grin

mrscog Wed 26-Jun-13 23:25:50

This is so interesting. However, I would need to get over my fear of spiders before I could realistically think about gardening - I can't even go in my own shed!

SillyTilly123 Sat 29-Jun-13 20:44:40

My dp and I started our own gardening business last year. He does the gardening and I do all the admin/appointments and the driving (he doesnt drive) . He still has a part time (16 hours) job in a shop as its only seasonal but its really taking off so hes thinking of reducing his shop hours to 10 or 12, hoping they will allow him to pick them back up over xmas. He makes around £90 a week on the regular gardens now plus any one off jobs. He loves working for himself and its good for me as the kids can come with us in the holidays, then I drop dp off at the job and take them to the nearest park. So it gets us out of the house and new places.

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