Gardening as a career

There's been a lot of publicity lately about horticulture as a career.  Particularly since David Cameron made some poor comments. So here's my story about becoming a gardener/garden designer.  Hopefully it might encourage you to take the plunge.  I can't profess to loving gardening from an early age like many do.  In fact quite the opposite.  While my parents had the bug and 3 acres of manicured gardens with exotic and rare plants, as a child helping in the garden was a chore and almost a punishment.  It wasn't until my late twenties when I bought my first home that the bug finally took hold.  I was working in an office as assistant accountant at the time and had been in accounts since leavschool holo.  Having held my current position for 10 years and the British weather was becoming milder and milder I thought about a career in gardening.  I had learnt heaps from practical experience and reading hundreds of books since getting my garden I longed to be outside.  I started with an ad in the local post office as a gardener and worked on maintaining people's gardens after a day in the office and at weekends.  Finally I took the plunge and went self employed full time as a gardener.  My ad was picked up by a local garden designer who was always being asked by her clients to recommend a gardener but she didn't know anybody who knew the difference between a weed and a plant, then she found me!  I was inundated with work.  I loved it, warm summers, mild winters, nature and best of all seeing a clients face when their garden full of chaos, nettles and brambles is brought to order.  That was back in 2000.  After 5 years, with all my gardens pristene, regular maintenance had become a bit boring and predictable so I took a Garden Design diploma course at Writtle College in Chelmsford.    I enjoyed every minute and would love to extend my knowledge even further if time allowed.  I still spend half my time doing regular maintenance as it guarantees a regular income. (although nothing is set in stone when you are self employed).  The rest of my week is spent designing gardens or doing drawings and surveys for another designer.  Added to the fact I get built in regular exercise, flexible hours and never know what I'm doing from one week to the next I can't think of a better career choice.  If only I'd done it sooner.