Being a horticulturalist is not just a job but a way of life as much of the job is controlled by nature. The job can be a varied one and depending on where one works the role will have different duties. One thing is for sure, and that is that being a horticulturalist does mean being outside quite often and isn’t always a 9 to 5 working day.
Depending on the place of work duties in a normal day can vary from Manual labour to general administration of drafting of reports on plant research or simply ensuring checklists are completed in daily grounds maintenance. Because of nature there are sometimes tasks that need undertaking before normal operational duties can begin, fallen trees or windblown polytunnel damage, for example, are all part of the unexpected elements in a horticulturalists day. The day often starts early to make the most of sunlight and as a horticulturalist in a public space some duties such as tidying to be completed before the gates open.
However, the day in the life of a horticulturalist is about using specialist skills and knowledge about the cultivation and propagation of plants and very often using this knowledge to provide information, or products to growers and farmers.
There are many areas of horticulture that range from landscaping where the day may be spent keeping private or public spaces looking in their best condition. Jobs such as watering and general tidying would form part of an everyday routine. However, planning the planting, pruning or even physical landscapes could be of the day. Testing soil, checking for disease just ensuring the landscape, open space or garden runs like a well-oiled machine is all part of the job. Maintaining flower beds, for example, is an ongoing seasonal task.
Power tools and machinery are a major part of horticulture and part of the daily routine will include the use and maintenance of these tools. Other equipment used also needs to be maintained and this becomes an important part of the daily life of anyone in horticulture.
Many horticulturalists work in experimentation and research and often within a particular discipline. A day in the life of these horticulturalists can be based in a laboratory or outdoors conducting tests or growing plants in controlled settings. Towards the more complex end of these jobs are geneticists who conduct detailed, delicate and even sometimes controversial experiments. If anyone ever says that a day in the life of a horticulturalist is dull then the full opportunities have not been explored.
Horticulture is often physical work and the days can be long. Horticulture is seasonal and depending on the time of year there may be more or less work. There is a great deal of planning that takes place behind the scenes in horticulture; one is not simply a gardener. As the sun rises and each day begins the tasks of nurturing nature and its surroundings bring new opportunities. The simple tasks of watering, lawn mowing, hedge cutting, pruning and weeding become enjoyable tasks and each is a day that is rewarded with natures own rewards.