PHYLLIS ODESSEY

What Do You Call Yourself?

I’m not big into titles.  It always comes off seeming pretentious.  Those of us in the garden game struggle with the name game.  In this country, we feel unappreciated and under-appreciated.  If we don’t add Manager or Director to the title of Horticulturist, we simply haven’t achieved anything.

In a recent article in Landscape Architecture,  Michael Van Valkenburgh talks about this question of one’s handle.  “Farrand preferred to be called a ‘landscape gardener’ – not an architect…”  He goes on  “No matter how skilled and artistically inclined horticultural workers are (and they are often extremely talented), they are generally perceived as declasse, left out of design discussions and poorly paid.”

The only place I have felt revered as a gardener is in the UK.  Pulling weeds or deadheading, visitors stop and admire what you are doing.  They think you are LUCKY to be working in a garden.  There is nothing ignoble about pushing a wheelbarrow or raking a piece of ground.  Most British people are gardeners on one level or another, and they admire the skill and knowledge it takes to do the job.

Gardener, master gardener, garden designer or horticulturist, it doesn’t really matter.  It’s great to be outside, digging in the dirt, trying to make something beautiful.

2 comments

  1. Love the point of view. I think monikers offer a sign of respect and so are key. And as a landscape gardener 🙂 I often think it's not our chosen profession that doesn't get the respect – it's that anyone with a truck and mower and rake gets to call himself a "landscaper." it denigrates the entire career category. i think there should be some parameters. After all, one cannot call themselves a doctor or architect unless they have proven education and experience! I do think that my customers and clients and those who care – do admire and respect a landscape gardener – revere the skills and find the work romantic and artistic. Happy digging. You lucky duck!

  2. Love the point of view. I think monikers offer a sign of respect and so are key. And as a landscape gardener 🙂 I often think it's not our chosen profession that doesn't get the respect – it's that anyone with a truck and mower and rake gets to call himself a “landscaper.” it denigrates the entire career category. i think there should be some parameters. After all, one cannot call themselves a doctor or architect unless they have proven education and experience! I do think that my customers and clients and those who care – do admire and respect a landscape gardener – revere the skills and find the work romantic and artistic. Happy digging. You lucky duck!

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