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How To Become A Gardener

If you’re not afraid to get your hands dirty (literally) and enjoy the outdoors, gardening could be a great career choice for you. 

For the next instalment of our career spotlight series, we spoke with Jonathan from Kodama Gardens.

What education or training have you completed to become a Gardener?

I came into gardening later in life. Initially, I worked in as a Care Worker. In my late twenties, I realised it was time to move onto something new so I began looking for other options. A friend of a friend was a Gardener and needed some casual support. As it happened, I really enjoyed the work and took to it fairly quickly. I had two years on the job training as an employee but it was quite informal. Eventually, I felt like I’d built up enough knowledge to grow my own customer base and set up Kodama Gardens.

Is formal training necessary as a Gardner?

Formal training isn’t necessary. However, some basic knowledge and experience, doesn’t have to be from a professional setting, is very helpful.

It’s also important to consider what type of Gardener you’d like to be and decide if you’d like to specialise. For me, I predominantly focus on general maintenance and tidy-ups whereas others lean more towards landscaping or planting. Some gardening specialisations may require more training than others.

What personal qualities help you be happy and successful in your job?

It helps to be personable with customers, reliable, tidy and punctual.

How does being a Gardener impact your physical and mental health?

The job has vastly improved my physical health, I am active every day with a large amount of physical activity. That physicality has a positive effect on mental health too, as well as being outside every day in the fresh air. Flexibility and creating my own work hours is also good for mental well-being. A recent newspaper poll listed gardeners the happiest workers in the country!

Tell us about an average day at work.

I generally do three or four small to medium gardens a day. Larger gardens require a full day’s attention. I focus mainly on maintenance, lawn mowing, hedge trimming, border maintenance and plant care. I like to keep things looking neat and tidy so people can enjoy their gardens. An average day, if well planned, runs smoothly. You can’t predict everything so sometimes it can be a rush to get everything done.

What advice would you offer someone who wanted to become a Gardener?

There seems to be a lot of work out there and it’s not a difficult industry to get in to. If you feel like you would be interested, feel physically up to it and the idea of long hours outdoors in all weather doesn’t put you off then give it a go.

Visit Kodama Gardens Facebook page for more information about Jonathan’s work.

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