I had a new guy start working for me a few years ago and I mentioned to a customer that he was working in the garden next door. “Send him round to me, I’ll make him work” was the reply. This remark has stayed with me for years. It sort of summarised the underlying attitude of people to gardeners. The customer seemed to think that my new employee needed a hard labour punishment for becoming a gardener. The professional gardeners that I know take a lot of pride in their work. Imply that they are a bit expensive or that you dont like their uniforms and you’ll be ignored, but say that they are poor gardeners and you’ll get a swift and unfriendly response. Many gardeners are skilled with years spent learning techniques to keep a garden looking good all year, no matter what the conditions. New customers always ask about experience and knowledge  before employing a gardener, so why do they have such little respect for the people with these assets? I’ve always found that when I say “I’m a gardener” I am then assumed to be a bit dim. When they find out I’m not, then I should have done a lot better, I must therefore be lazy. But why are these assumptions made about gardeners? I’ve come to the conclusion that it is all about money. We need a minimum wage for self employed gardeners that reflects the daily hard work in the job. This should be enough to make gardening a good career choice and not a job you do until you find something better. Look at how plumbers are regarded now. They’ve been able to raise their prices and now have god like status among the trades. If you’re a plumber, you know, the guy who unblocks your toilet, then you are doing very well and are held in high regard.  I’d like gardeners to be treated with the same respect.

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