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

bumperella Sun 10-Nov-13 22:39:57

Peggypants, I was surprised by £15 too, I guess though that repeat/regular work will be cheaper than one offs, esp if you're a nice person to work for!
Though round our way (rural Scotland) cleaners charge about £12 an hr and gardeners have higher overheads and a more seasonal business, so really £15 would be comparable to that.

Flappingandflying Sat 09-Nov-13 21:28:37

If anyone who works as a gardener would like some muscles for poorly paid or even voluntary work, can I offer Flyingboy who is doing gardening at college. He is very willing and brill at mowing, digging, clearing, strimming, hacking, general garden maintenance. Local jobs are few and far between and as an aspie he's not got the confidence to knock on doors. We sre in the SE. Pm me if you could use him even if tempirarily.

QuintesKabooom Thu 07-Nov-13 00:43:50

Oh, I am marking my place on this thread. I will come back tomorrow with a picture of something that suddenly started growing from my rock garden. My friend thought it was sweetcorn, but it looks like it isnt. But odd, oh yeah.

peggyundercrackers Thu 07-Nov-13 00:21:02

wow I cant believe people are charging £15 an hour for gardening work... that sounds a lot to me. we have a gardener who comes in 6 hours a week and charges £7 an hour. I cut the grass so he only does the borders and looks after fruit trees for us but its too much for us to do on our own as we have quite a big garden. I know a couple of other people who do gardening work too and at most charge £10 an hour - both of them have been in the game for 20 years and have 4 or 5 people working for each of them.

bumperella Fri 01-Nov-13 22:36:08

I sat RHS Level 2 in June this year, passed with commendation, did it from the reading list (ie not via distance learning college, sat as an external candidate). It's definitely an entry-level qualification only.
I do some voluntary work at a good local garden, where I can take the littlie. I'm looking at a career change, intend to sit part of RHS Level 3 in Feb and start job hunting in earnest in the spring. I don't want to be self-employed initially as I think would be better to learn from working with others first (I do some consultancy work from previous career anyway).

lisylisylou Mon 28-Oct-13 07:21:38

I did a national diploma in horticulture which was a 2 year course. I started my business 6 years ago and ive seen things since then whih have been inbelivable!! I'm on £14 an hour which is still too low and I would suggest getting your pricing right when you first start out. I do garden maintenance, I found garden design too difficult and took me away from my regular customers. In my experience you can't do both even in winter! There are aspects of the job that I don't like and surprisingly it's not the paperwork. Customers do appreciate you and understand the work but I've found relatives don't! I've taken on customers which I've known haven't been right (far too rich and superior in their minds so they are always right!!) and has always ended badly. However, keep it simple and the job is good and you will enjoy yourself. I've found gardening on a Friday afternoon in the sunshine with radio 2 on my iPod is the best feeling in the world!!

Rhubarbgarden Fri 18-Oct-13 13:27:02

Gosh, I didn't know that. Thanks for pointing that out.

onefewernow Thu 17-Oct-13 22:04:18

Re Rhubarbgarden and pokes in the eye- do be careful. I had a cataract early, and garden pokes in the eye were initially considered the most likely cause. They were not the cause, in fact, but it is a very common reason for one cataract earlier in life, according to the eye hospital.

daisydee43 Wed 16-Oct-13 15:41:27

Hi I am a female gardener and I feel that there's such a niche market for me as most people want big jobs carried out and more landscaping. I'm just testing the market starting out as a qualified horticulturalist but power tools are a struggle - I can use them it's getting them to work lol. I have a friend who just does the weeding and planting etc and she just posted some leaflets - any ideas?

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.

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!

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

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

PS Hope the exams went well!

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.

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 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.

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 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.

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>

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.

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

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

Ruined hands I would imagine!

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 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

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

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