5 Things I Love/Hate About Gardening for a Living

Gardening is an awesome way to make a living but like all jobs it has its downsides. Sometimes these downsides are the flip side of what makes being a gardener so great.

1) It’s my job. This means that five days a week, all year round I get to go and do gardening and I get paid for it! Can you believe how lucky I am? No, me either.  However it’s my job. And that means I do it 8-4.30 every day, with a half-hour break at 10.30 and another at 1, whether I want to or not. Even if the weather’s horrendous, my back aches and digging is absolutely the last thing I want to do.

2) It’s not my garden. Hey I get to go to the garden centre, peruse the nursery stock lists and order seeds to my heart’s content with someone else’s money! How cool is that? On the other hand if I have a crazy-mad idea to try out I probably can’t. I’d love a bed of poisonous plants (just out of interest you understand) but in a garden open to the public it’s just asking for trouble.

3) It’s active. Oh ye gods the backache, knee twinges, achy muscles and bone deep tiredness some days when I just want to sit on a bale in the barn. On the other hand it keeps me fit (well, apart from the back and knee pain!) and although I have far too many muscles to conform to the current female ‘beauty’ standard of looking akin to a handful of twigs and some skin, it keeps me slender too. Who needs expensive gym membership? Plus there’s the sheer pleasure of doing physical work.

4) Everyone’s a gardener. Well ok lots of people are. This means there’s always someone willing to tell you you’re doing it wrong. On the other hand it means there are always people who are delighted by your garden, ask advice and generally share their enthusiasm with you.

5) The weather. Some days the sun smiles on me, if there is rain it is gentle and the breeze is delicately scented. I might as well be in heaven. Other days there is horizontal hail. My least favourite is hot weather. Cold weather can be dealt with through the right clothing and keeping active. There is no escape from hot weather. I have had mild sunstroke and dehydration more times than I can count but have avoided hypothermia thus far. Unlike my sister who throws herself down icy rivers in a glorified bucket for fun (she’s an outdoor instructor and does a lot of kayaking).

Do any of you have a job you love? What do you hate about it? Any gardeners? Am I a moany-whingy-pants?


11 responses to “5 Things I Love/Hate About Gardening for a Living

  1. Libby – It does sound to me like you have the dream job – apart from the aches. I’m the total opposite! I sit at a desk in front of a computer for most of the day. People usually switch-off when I try to explain the work I do. I yearn to go outside, soak in the sunshine or rain and breathe in the fresh air. I think that’s what makes gardening so precious to me. I even use days of my vacation to do gardening.

  2. I too garden for part of my living. There are days when I don’t want to do it…ie: when it’s raining and blowing a gale. But a bod’s gotta do what a bod’s gotta do!

  3. For many years, I worked in an office so now I savor being in the outdoors. Texas summers are long and relentless, which definitely makes me weary/cranky, but most of the time I enjoy feeling tough enough to handle whatever comes my way. My complaint would be the relatively low financial compensation, but I do love my work.

    • Yes I love feeling tough too! Once a young woman said to a colleague and me when we were heading off somewhere with strimmers ‘oh you’re such practical women!’ with the implication she wasn’t. We assured her she was perfectly capable, with a bit of practising, of doing what we do. It concerned me a little that she saw it as unusual or difficult. I think more young women could do with learning they’re not in fact delicate flowers and are perfectly capable of a bit of shovelling.

  4. Ha! You want to hear about perfect? I am a potter with a huge (some days huger than others) private garden. In the summer, I get to work at my pots in the morning and evening, being creative and making stuff, and in the afternoons I get to dig, mulch, weed, move plants….. with occasional time off to go to nurseries, hikes in the woods….

    And yet, there are days when I too am tired, discouraged, achy. It comes with the territory! I have a few tiles in my studio with words on them, and I place the appropriate one where I can see it. Some days the ‘Don’t Panic’ sign is up, some days I need to see ‘Hope’ in front of me, other days I put up the one that says ‘Good enough, isn’t’.

    But on good days, I put up ‘Enjoy!’

  5. I’m glad I’m not the only one! On days when I feel more whingy than happy I certainly feel ungrateful.

  6. I find the heat hard as well, I dont mind cold and can bear the wet just about but then I dont garden for a living. As for the posionous border they have one at Alnwick in Northmberland and thats open to the public so no reason why you cant have one if its fully labelled etc

  7. Although I don’t do this for a living, you have outlined many of the reasons I love/hate gardening. I am very passionate about gardening, and yet, I have my moments when I am so exhausted I don’t know why I do it. I suppose many things are like that…

  8. Libby, boy can I relate to your list. Most of my work is at a computer, but I do actual work on jobs site sometimes. You really nailed 1-5. And 4, the landscapers are always telling me how to do stuff. I usually listen because they always have a better, simpler, and healthier way to do whatever I am doing on site.

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