Friday, November 30, 2012

The 5 Hats of the Gardener

As a gardener you will find that you wear many hats.  We aren't talking about fedoras, ball caps, or even straw hats here. We're talking about the different roles you will be called to fill as a gardener! Gardening isn't just about sticking a plant in the ground and watching it grow (although there is always some of that), gardening is a many faceted field with strong influences in areas from design to science.  Let's take a look at 5 of the many hats a gardener must wear!


The 5 Hats of the Gardener


The Hat of the Garden Designer


Gardeners are landscape designers.  As a gardener you have to make good decisions on plant placement, hardscaping, landscape lighting, garden structures like arbors or pergolas, and the layout of your garden.  We try things.  We fix things.  We tear down things and start all over!  (I've done that a more than a few times.) We aren't always perfect in our design decisions but we are designing gardens and learning.  Sure you can hire someone to come and design the garden but even then you make a lot of the decisions about what you want in the garden for landscape features or what you want to plant.

The Hat of the Farmer


You may not have a tractor, or even an acre of land but if you grow plants you're a farmer.  It may be small scale but everything you grow is an effort in agricultural cultivation!  The vegetable garden in your back yard is a perfect example of your farmer's hat.  You might grow tomatoes, peppers, lettuce, cucumbers, or maybe herbs as a farmer. Maybe you have a few fruit trees you harvest from each year.  Strawberry plants in the planter on the back porch count.  Do you plant and harvest from pots, raised beds, or rows in the ground?  It really doesn't matter - you're farming!  Farmer's cultivate the soil, grow the plants, harvest the produce, and bring it to the table.

The Hat of the Plant Pathologist


Into everyone's garden a disease must occur.  It's a gardening rule that however much I wish could be broken will never be!  You will get a fungus, I promise, but you will also learn how to defeat it or work around it.  You'll end up with dead plants - it's impossible not to!  I'm not telling you this to make gardening sound difficult or pointless but to encourage you to put on the plant pathologist hat!  Research those problems when the occur and learn how to treat them.  If they can't be treated then learn how to prevent the diseases in the future. So many plant diseases can be prevented with the proper gardening techniques.  Pests will bother your garden too and you'll have to find a way to get rid of those damaging voles or the grazing deer who love eating your hostas.  Part of your role as a gardener is to solve these mysteries. Be the plant detective!

The Hat of the Landscaper


The landscape maintenance technician is another gardening hat you will be called to wear.  Even if you have no lawn - you have trees that need pruned, weeds that need weeded, shrubs that need trimmed, more weeding, garden beds that need edged, plants that need planted, leaves that need rakes, even more weeding, or any one of a hundred different things landscapers do. All that regular maintenance falls on your shoulders as a gardener, and that's how we gardeners like it!  Well maybe without the weeds...

The Hat of the Nurseryman


Perhaps this is my favorite hat to wear.  Everyone of us gardeners has a little bit of the nurseryman inside.  Have you ever divided a hosta plant?  Or planted tomato plants from seed?  Maybe you've tried growing plants from cuttings, layering a hydrangea, or potted up plants to give to a friend?  All of these things fall in the nurseryman's field.  Obviously part of the nurseryman's job is to produce a profitable plant but there is a whole lot more to it.  Planting the first seeds of the spring at the right time, preparing cuttings, and then growing the plant on to become larger enough to survive in the landscape.

At some point you will wear each of these hats and most of the time you'll probably being wearing at least three at a time! Gardening is part art, part science, and everything in between.  What gardening hats can do you wear?


More from the Friday Fives


Today's Post featured my 2 year old son Sam! Cute isn't he?

2 comments :

  1. I'm sure that you must realize that having been published Sam is now a professional model. Which means that he is entitled to models wages, needs an agent, has to have his money sequested away so his parents don't spend it on high living etc. Of course you could probably slip him some money, say a quarter or even a buck to not tell anyone.

    ReplyDelete
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