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What cost a gardener?

via @kerriejohn

Finding a good gardener at the right price can be a problem, even for the Queen. A "senior gardener" job at Buckingham Palace was recently advertised with a salary of £17,000, only months after virtually the same role, offered with a salary of £15,750, attracted no takers.

As a garden designer, part of my job is to make sure that once made, a garden can be maintained, and I'm often asked how much gardeners are paid. The short answer is anything from £12,000 to £40,000 a year.

A more interesting question, however, is what does that money buy? Faced with employing someone full–time to work at something that looks to the uninitiated like little more than labouring, garden owners often assume they can get away with roughly the minimum agricultural wage, which is just below £12,000.

Few will appreciate that this is nothing like enough to buy experience. A good gardener needs long training, dedication and artistry. Although some gardeners get houses as well as salaries and some are properly rewarded and appreciated, the majority are still expected to clean cars or swimming pools or help with moving furniture. Does any other skilled job require people to do things for which they were not trained?

If you pay a low wage you are probably buying more muscle than know–how. That may suit some people who have plenty of knowledge themselves and whose strength is not what it was. At the other end of the scale, however, a brilliant head gardener can run a small self–sufficiency kingdom for an estate, with 10 on the permanent team.

Read the full article: http://www.telegraph.co.uk/gardening/9010340/What-price-a-good-gardener.html

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