By July 25, 2012 Read More →

Unusual home working jobs – the horticulturalist

Unusual home working jobs - Jonathan Ward, Ginger HorticultureHi Jonathan, tell us what being a horticulturalist involves
There is never a dull moment. The 3 major things I am involved in at the moment are:
Managing a project to photograph a client’s entire range of plants. This involves getting each plant at the right stage to a photographer, I then upload and label these plants in their image library.
For another client I write the backs of the plastic plant labels, the ones you get when you buy a plant.
And what started as a way to get me out of the house has developed into a good part of my time – the design and construction of green walls and roofs.
I also work with a tattoo designer to ensure that any plant tattoos are botanically correct, it’s not often you get someone offering to pay you in either cash or ink!  
 
What do you wear for work?
Jeans or shorts and a t-shirt is my normal, but it does range from dressing gown to hard hats and steel toe boots on a construction site. On very rare occasions I will put on a suit but try and avoid that as much as possible.
 
What does it take to be a successful horticulturalist?
As soon as I find out I will let you know! I have 26 years in this industry and I think at the end of the day it is like any industry. You need a passion topped with a bit of commercial acumen and a thick skin. Being weather proof helps.    
 
Any horticultural stories you can share?
Several years ago I was at the Hampton Court Flower Show. I only had half a hour to get changed for the gala evening so popped to the gents, and at the point of being as naked as the day I was born and bent over changing my underpants, out walked…well, let me say I can’t watch one of the female presenters of Gardeners World in quite the same way any more!
 
What’s next in your career?
Plastic plant pots from France, coconut fibre compost from Holland, young plants from Spain, and trees from New Zealand are just a few of the things I am exploring at the moment. I am starting to expand the green roof work I have been doing to include green walls and vertical allotments. Along with hoping to widen my customer base, as I don’t think you can ever have too many of those.

Jonathan Ward is based in Littlehampton, West Sussex. Check him out at Ginger Horticulture.
(And you can see an example of a green roof on Garden Office Gallery, where Maria Varallo shares her newly-planted garden office!)

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