Just Because You Can Mow Doesn't Mean That You Can Landscape!
Over the past decade of learning the ins and outs of landscaping, I have sometimes gotten the impression that people think of those who maintain their lawns or the lawns of their place of work as being lower on the IQ scale. I am here to set the record straight.
Don't get me wrong, I have met some pretty unintelligent people in the over three decades of my existence on this spinning oblate spheroid, but many of those fellow human beings were not amongst my landscaping peers. Many were actually in management and made me wonder how they managed to tie their shoes in the morning. Opposed to popular opinion, I have discovered a plethora of intelligent beings who just so happen to mow, trim, prune, plant flowers and plow snow.
Landscaping is an art. Instead of taking paint and spreading it over canvas we take living things and paint a picture with plants, dirt, mulch and nature. It is very satisfying to take an ugly, dead and dreary landscape and make it into a living sculpture of perfection.
Just because a person can operate a mower or dig a hole or use a hand saw does not mean that they will be able to landscape or do a quality job. There is an enormous amount of information within this field and the normal person is usually clueless. A successful landscaper knows a large amount of the local plant life by name, how to prune, when to prune, when it flowers (if it does), when to fertilize, what to prune and how to make that plant the healthiest it can be and this is only one tiny part of landscaping. There is turf care, proper edging and maintaining of that edge, plant placement, disease control, what to cut back in the fall, weed control and much much more.
The more professional a person desires to be the more info he or she has to know. At some point it may even be necessary for this person to know both the common and Latin names for the variety of plant life local to their particular zone. To become certified, there are a series of test that this person must pass. This is, however, only if the person is seeking a lifelong career in landscaping. Many who enter the field, like other fields, are most likely not seeking to devote their lives to battling the blazing heat in the summer and the sub-zero temperatures in the winter months along with the rainy seasons in both the fall and the spring. It doesn't take long for a person to realize that a profession as a manual laborer is not the idea career, but it is good motivation for seeking a better option. It is not the type of employment where you can leave after a hard day's work and go to something planned without first having to go home and shower. Sometimes even after the shower the presence of dirt is still visible around your finger nails even after scrubbing multiple times and the smell of stinky mulch is still present even after multiple washings.
There is also more to landscapers than bearded barbarians who are unintelligent. I have had the pleasure and the privilege of working alongside men and women who are bilingual, seeking degrees in Psychology, actors, teachers, highway patrolmen, and people who are very intelligent. Most would not see that the landscaper who is maintaining their lawn just so happens to be fluent in Spanish, English is learning French and Greek and has a college degree. We as humans tend to look at the value or the intelligence of a person simply by examining what occupation they are currently filling. We are more than someone else's perception of us. We work hard and do so for our futures and the futures of our families. We learn how to make the Earth more beautiful and we cross borders into other cultures in order to meet the human being that is behind the tan skin and dark eyes. We do what many do not want to do. And what we do we do it with all of our hearts. No, a landscaper is not just one who cuts grass. A true landscaper is one who paints the canvass of the Earth with dirt, sweat and plants. We do more than just mow the lawn!