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Gardener or Horticulturist?

Learning to mow a lawn and use a hedge cutter takes about five minutes whereas learning the subject of horticulture takes a lifetime…….Cathie’s Gardening School gets controversial. When you visit a beautiful garden and wish yours looked like that, it can, but it takes time, knowledge, experience, dedication and money.


Every subject needs to be studied and there are many horticultural courses to choose from. I’ve been learning and teaching horticulture for over 40 years and yet the divide between unqualified gardeners and skilled horticulturists is getting wider and more difficult to explain to clients….

Horticulture is a science like medicine but a doctor only has one species to study whereas there are tens of thousands of plants all having different requirements!

Practical Experience

This is essential in order to put the theory into practise and appreciate the long term results. It is one thing to pass hedge cutters over every plant in the garden to make them look tidy but another to understand the concept of pruning for long term success. Evergreens and stone fruits are pruned with secateurs in Spring and Summer whereas deciduous trees and shrubs are normally pruned in Autumn and Winter (with exceptions!). Some plants can be pruned hard and others will die. Hedges and topiary are pruned with hedge cutters. Each year the season is different but learning the ‘science’ behind the ‘art’ of gardening is essential before putting it into practise otherwise plants can suffer or even die.

Finding a Gardener or Horticulturist

Ask for qualifications and experience or better still book a qualified horticultural consultant to find out what you have got in your garden and how to maintain it, you can then learn how to do it yourself or choose someone you like who is qualified to do it for you! Just because someone calls themselves a gardener doesn’t mean they know what they are doing. That is up to you to find out! 

Landscape companies are brilliant at hard landscaping but by their own admission know little about planting and maintenance.


Maintenance is keeping a garden looking good once it is maintainable. Mowing, edging, trimming hedges and raking leaves is maintenance but leave the pruning to those who have learnt the subject, which could be you!


The most important thing to remember is that it’s your garden and should be a pleasure. Learn to look after it yourself, find a mentor to teach you or a qualified gardener to take care of it for you.

Cathie’s Gardening School Services 

1.Horticultural consultancy teaching you in your own garden.

2.Cathie’s Garden Army team of horticulturists to transform your garden following a consultancy.

3. Maintenance by team members once the garden is maintainable.

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