Met A Horticulturist

Discussion in 'Landscape Architecture and Design' started by the angler, Jun 19, 2008.

  1. the angler

    the angler LawnSite Member
    Messages: 56

    i'm sure i spelled that wrong ....any way one of my customers wanted me to take out some plants and replace them with something else and had this guy come out and give his profession 28 i consider myself a maintaince contractor not a landscaper ....this guy knew so much about plants but he was still goin the same direction as me so i was pretty proud of myself ..........a question i have is how do you guys keep up with all the different plants out there that you can use in your local landscapes????????
    there is so much out there i havent even heard of and this guy knew the latin names .....i was thinking of making some kind of book with different plants that i could offer to customers to do alittle landscapeing to help my buisness .....any thoughts on this i know the basic answer would be go back to school but i dont have the time or money for that
  2. White Gardens

    White Gardens LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 6,776

    It's all chaulked up to experience. Don't be afraid to ask your customers what kind of plant something is if you don't know what it is. It makes you look like your learning and trying new things.

    It takes a few years, but you eventually build your knowledge of plants and varieties. I have on customer who is ecentric, and has about 100 different perenials in her yard. Everytime I go over there I learn more and more about her different plants and she loves showing them off and telling me about them.

    Books work great too, just skim threw them and see what you like and try to memorize a few every time you look at it.

    Landscaping to is more than just plants, you have to know if they will grow in certain conditions, and how to prune, install beds, ect. That's where a Hort degree can fall short.
  3. jwholden

    jwholden LawnSite Member
    from CT
    Messages: 218

    Like all careers, a degree in Horticulture is a starting point. Think of all the jokes about people just out of college who want to get a job, but the job posting says experience required. Here is a kid with a four year education that can't get a job because he has no experience.

    People with a degree in Horticulture know MANY of those crazy plant names, what conditions plants like to grow in, how to plant a tree or shrub, how a bed should be graded, how to prune a tree or shrub. They have all the required knowledge.

    The key is to combine practical knowledge with real world experience. A person with a Horticulture degree does not know how quickly a bed can be graded and mulched, what the best method to do the work is, how to keep a crew motivated on a hot day, how to communicate clearly with clients, and how to use every piece of equipment.

    The best thing to have is a combination of both, education and practical experience, in the field of landscaping or any other occupation.
  4. Isobel

    Isobel LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 548

    Experience. When I started doing this I didn't know plant names--not even common names.

    If you're interested in learning your shrubs, pick up some books with pictures. As your out in the field and you come across plants, take the time to take a picture, and then look it up in something like Taylor's Guide to Shrubs.

    Also, take a roam around to nurseries in the area, and see what's being sold. Take a notebook, jot some notes down. You'll pick it up in no time.

    I'm in the same boat as you, in that I don't have the money to go back to school. I also feel that I learn more by being in the field.

    Good luck!
  5. k911lowe

    k911lowe LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 526

    when a customer wants something i check with the local nursery and let the customer know that i do that so i can find out whats growing best in the desert this year.
  6. KGR landscapeing

    KGR landscapeing LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,544

    6 years digging trees and replanting plants in a nursery also helps. but i still dont know enough the only thing like i live in ohio if i was to move to say cali i would be a complete moron
  7. h400exinfl

    h400exinfl LawnSite Member
    from Florida
    Messages: 106

    Go to your local wholesale nursery and get a price sheet, then start identifying all the plants wherever you go. Not sure about other areas, but around here there are 50 or less that are most common.
  8. h400exinfl

    h400exinfl LawnSite Member
    from Florida
    Messages: 106

    Also, once you can identify the 50, find out mature heights, light and water requirements.

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