Energy Career Profile: Horticulturist
March 1, 2019
There are few things on earth more pleasing to behold than natural beauty. This could come in the form of a lush meadow, a verdant fjord, a jungle filled with tropical flowers, or just about any other landscape you could think of. But, no matter how powerful and creative Mother Nature may be, she could always do with a little help. That’s where the horticulturist steps in.
A thriving natural eco-system is crucial for the survival of the planet. We depend on trees and plants to act as our lungs and filter out the pollution we pump into the atmosphere. You might not think flower beds are anything more than an aesthetic feature, but they are working hard to save the world. Horticulturists oversee the whole thing and make sure the eco-system works hard for us.
Basics of the Job
Horticulturists are so much more than mere gardeners. The horticulturist uses scientific knowledge to ensure the most efficient cultivation and propagation of plants. Imagine that a farmer wants to know how to maximise their harvest. A horticulturist will apply their technical knowledge to investigate and experiment on the farmer’s crops.
The horticulturist will look at pest control and conduct research into techniques for plant breeding and crop production. By the time their work is done, the crop will be most fruitful than ever before, providing a greater harvest for the farmer and more food for the end consumer. On a wider scale, horticulturists could be vital in the battle to end world hunger.
There is no such thing as a typical day for a horticulturist. Given the nature of the job, much of your time at work will be spent out in the field conducting experiments and collecting samples for analysis. You will need to understand climate patterns in the region as well as the quality of the soil in order to make progress with your project. You will need to identify any dangerous plants or chemicals that could contaminate the ground and deal with them safely and quickly.
Given the rate of technological progress in the area of energy and the environment, it will be pivotal that you keep up to date with any movements in these areas. You will write reports about your research and share them with industry leaders. You will also work with industry members and government bodies to ensure sustainability and the good health of any public green spaces.
Where You Can Work
Horticulturists are needed all over the world. In towns and cities you will be able to work on parks, and decorative flowerbeds, whereas in rural areas you may be more likely to work on agricultural matters. You will divide your time between the office, field trips, and meetings with external bodies. You may also find yourself in the lab from time to time for data analysis.
Who to Work For
The number of places offering work for horticulturists is higher than you probably thought. Greenhouses and nurseries are an obvious place to start, as are botanical gardens, garden centres and national parks. From a business perspective, consultancy firms, landscaping companies, and horticulture research firms are all great employers. Alternatively, you could opt for a more academic position within a university or research institute.