This section is from the book "The Gardener's Monthly And Horticulturist V22", by Thomas Meehan. See also: Four-Season Harvest: Organic Vegetables from Your Home Garden All Year Long.
Never for many years have we had so many gardeners applying to get situations. The country is overrun with them, and not one in a dozen will find anything to suit him. They are mostly newcomers into the country, and they seem disappointed and declare that America is no place for gardeners. In some respects this is true, and again it is not true. Gardening itself has changed in some respects since first-class gardeners were in great demand. There was a time when choice fruits, vegetables and flowers were great luxuries. Only the wealthiest could command them. And the wealthy were willing to pay well for that intelligence which only could raise them successfully by artificial means. Since the age of steam the whole world is within a few days of anybody's feet, and in the depth of snow and ice the fruits and vegetables of the tropics are cheaply at command. It is true that these cannot be brought from distant places quite as nice and as good as a first-class gardener could make them. There are some who still will have the best, but the facts we have stated have cut down immensely the "great places." Another difficulty has been that as good places grew scarcer, it became harder for good gardeners to find them.
Employers not well able to distinguish between the good or the bad, or "experts " not being able to lay their hands on them just as needed, poor fellows get into the good places and disgust employers. Not long since, we saw a "Tomato-house" for forcing. The winter expense could have been hardly less than $150, and three poor little plum-like fruits were all so far up to the middle of January. There are many other influences which we have not space to enumerate, which keep down the demand for the best educated class of gardeners.
On the other hand, there is an immense field for highly intelligent landscape gardeners and florists. There is scarcely a large town in the country where there is not at the present time an opening for a good man of this class. At the present time " florists" with little greenhouses may be found almost everywhere; but large numbers of them are dirty, ignorant fellows, who have no possible influence on the community, yet they manage to " get on," and in many cases get rich. Very few take a gardening paper, or indeed a paper of any kind, and know absolutely nothing of anything under the sun than to potter among the filth of a few slimy flower-pots, in a "greenhouse" which a respectable pig would grumble at. We have noted for some time past that wherever the intelligent gardener goes he is welcomed. There is a universal want to know about gardens and plant-houses and trees, and fruits and flowers. There are few gardening examples in our country. The florist must make his own customers. The people are willing to be educated, and to pay for the education.
The gardener who knows all about trees and flowers, - who understands the principles of landscape beauty, and how to apply them cheaply and effectively to small places as well as large ones, - who has good command of the pen, the pencil and the tongue, - who knows enough of natural history and branches of science connected with gardening to make his company pleasant, and who to these accomplishments has fair business ability, and who has, say four or five hundred dollars to sustain himself with until he becomes known, will find an " opening" waiting for him in hundreds of towns in our country.
In brief, for combined intelligence and business ability, there were never better opportunities for success in the gardening world than now. For intelligent gardening without business ability, - and for the mere average " gardener" we fear the demand is not equal to the supply.