Pay move will improve appeal

In 1826 an architect writing in The Gardener's Magazine bemoaned the fact that a journeyman gardener who has "gone through a course of practical geometry and land surveying, has a scientific knowledge of botany and spent his days and his nights in reading books connected with his profession gets no more than two shillings or two and sixpence a day". Meanwhile, he noted, a bricklayer who has "not the least knowledge of figures or geometry" received from five to seven shillings a day.

Nearly 200 years on, while the old currency needs updating, incredibly and regretfully the sentiment expressed by the correspondent (recorded by Toby Musgrave) remains apposite in some corners of the industry. It lies, at least in part, behind the thinking of parents who steer their teenagers away from a career in horticulture and the thinking of students who, with a horticulture qualification under their belt, opt for starting their own business rather than a traineeship or entry-level role.

In this context, the RHS's decision to boost pay scales for gardening staff by up to 10 per cent across the board - in addition to its standard two per cent pay increase for 2015 - is a very significant step forward for the professional gardening sector (see news, p3).

The new levels may not, as Professional Gardeners' Guild chairman Tony Arnold notes, bring professional gardeners parity with construction industry employees. But what they will do is help to bolster - internally and most importantly externally - the perception of the value of this highly skilled, highly committed and absolutely core horticulture profession. The RHS has put its money where its mouth is and should be congratulated for that.


Before commenting please read our rules for commenting on articles.

If you see a comment you find offensive, you can flag it as inappropriate. In the top right-hand corner of an individual comment, you will see 'flag as inappropriate'. Clicking this prompts us to review the comment. For further information see our rules for commenting on articles.

comments powered by Disqus

Read These Next

IoG Saltex 2016 - show preview

IoG Saltex 2016 - show preview

This year's Saltex will be looking to build on the success of last year by packing in a multitude of exhibitors and sessions over the two days, Sally Drury reports.

According To Dunnett ... Horticulture needed to 'colour in' green infrastructure

According To Dunnett ... Horticulture needed to 'colour in' green infrastructure

It's now around one year since work started on Sheffield's groundbreaking "Grey to Green" scheme, one of the largest urban green infrastructure projects in the UK.

Tree lifting, moving  and planting

Tree lifting, moving and planting

Successful relocations can see even big trees flourish while costing less than buying new stock, says Sally Drury.

Follow us on:
  • Facebook
  • LinkedIn
  • Twitter
  • Google +
Horticulture Jobs
More Horticulture Jobs

Contracts & Tenders

Sally Drury on professional gardening

Sally Drury

A monthly checklist of things to do and watch out for to keep your garden looking its best.