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How Do You Get A Green Job Gardening For A Living?

Updated on March 7, 2013

Green Jobs: How Do You Get a Green Collar Job Gardening For A Living?

Wonderin' what it's like to work in a green job getting paid to garden for a living? Imagine working in the fresh air, soaking up the sun everyday, surrounded by beautiful plants and flowers and having someone pay you to do it.

You wonder if it's possible to turn your hobby and passion for gardening into a career. I've now done it for over 7 years working at various garden centers and am currently a plant buyer at an upscale garden center in Washington, D.C. This article is part of a series called Getting Dirty - a guide to help you pursue your dream of gardening for a living.

Whether you're an avid gardener, volunteer gardener, master gardener, garden club member, a student in horticulture or landscape design, recently retired or just plain love gardening and want to explore getting a job in gardening, Getting Dirty covers a complete range of topics on what to expect.

My Life As A Gardener

For the past seven years, I've enjoyed gardening for a living but consider myself a lifelong gardener having played around with planting flowers and vegetables since I was a kid.

I used to have a regular 9-5 job. But since I walked away from corporate life, I've had many people ask me how I did it.

How could I walk away from my steady job?

Is gardening a risky career choice?

What kind of jobs are available?

Quote Source Below: Confucius

Find A Job You Love & You Will Never Have To Work Again.

The Green Collar Economy - How One Solution Can Fix Our Two Biggest Problems

The Green Collar Economy: How One Solution Can Fix Our Two Biggest Problems
The Green Collar Economy: How One Solution Can Fix Our Two Biggest Problems

"The Green Collar Economy is both a rallying call and a road map for how we can save the planet, reduce our dependency on budget-busting fossil fuels, and bring millions of new jobs to America. Van Jones shows how climate solutions can turbocharge the ailing U.S. economy. So what are we waiting for?"

Fred Krupp - Environmental Defense Fund


Work In The Garden Instead Of A Cubicle

Green Is the New Internet - How Going Green Can Turbo Charge The Economy & Create Jobs

Green Collar Jobs Are A Growing Trend

In the 90s, the internet was the premium career choice. I staked my claim by working at But I left around the time the bubble burst, trading in my white collar for a green collar with a job in gardening.

Green Is the New Internet

Seven years later, I haven't looked back and come to find out that the latest career trend these days is the green economy and green collar jobs. President Obama is leading the charge with his Economic Stimulus package with plans to create more green jobs to kickstart the economy and save our planet.

Green Careers: Choosing Work for a Sustainable Future
Green Careers: Choosing Work for a Sustainable Future

Amazon Product Description

People of all ages and backgrounds are seeking work in career fields that will help save the planet, yet many people are unaware of the variety of green careers available. This unique career guidance book, based on labor market research, covers green jobs representing almost every area of career interest.


Green Collar Jobs - Books About Green Careers Saving the Planet

Ten Best Green Jobs For The Next Decade - Fast Company - January 13, 2009

According to Fast Company, "Massive investments in clean energy promise to keep farmers, urban planners, and green-tech entrepreneurs in business for the next decade. This guide to sustainability focused career paths will help solar-charge your work life."

1. Conservation Biologist

2. Energy Efficiency Builder

3. Farmer

4. Forester

5. Green MBA and Entrepreneur

6. Recycler

7. Solar Power Installer

8. Sustainability Systems Developer

9. Urban Planner

10. Wind Turbine Fabricator

Source: Fast Company

Green Jobs: A Guide to Eco-Friendly Employment
Green Jobs: A Guide to Eco-Friendly Employment Product Description

You're interested in going green and, lucky for you, the opportunities for environmentally skilled workers are skyrocketing. Green Jobs will help you to find a job you like-and that'll make the world a better place. This one-of-a-kind handbook shows you how to identify the greenest jobs in every industry, break into the fastest growing eco-friendly fields, go for extra training if needed, start your own eco-friendly businesses.


Careers in Horticulture and Botany - Books About Landscaping & The Environment

Do Green Jobs Pay the Green? - Six Figure Green Jobs That Pay $100K by

Jobs By Occupation & Average Wage

Here's a list of job opportunities compiled by the Political Economy Research Institute that will build the green economy and fight global warming.

By The Numbers: Six Figure Green Jobs has compiled a list of lucrative possibilities when it comes to carving out a green career "These days, you can make green by being green. No longer do environmentalists need to take a vow of poverty before starting their careers. Global giants ranging from Google to General Motors are making room in the corner office for executives with titles like chief sustainability officer and chief environmental officer."

1. Chief Sustainability Officer

2. Climatologist/Environmental Meteorologist

3. Commercial/Industrial Designer

4. Conservation Scientist

5. Environmental Engineer

6. Environmental Lawyer

7. Environmental Specialist/Scientist

8. Renewable Energy Portfolio Manager

9. Senior Hydrologist

10. Senior Urban Planner


Green Careers: Choosing Work for a Sustainable Future
Green Careers: Choosing Work for a Sustainable Future

Amazon Product Description

Green Careers is the ultimate guide for job seekers hoping to enter the green sector of the economy: the rapidly growing area at the nexus of business and sustainability. Green jobs are popping up in virtually all industries and all types of organizations, from nonprofits to startups to government agencies to Fortune 1000 companies.

Read this book to learn: where the jobs are in the green sector, why the green economy is poised for rapid, recession-proof growth, about today's hottest "green" areas: clean tech, socially responsible investing, green building. Where to look for jobs that fit your education Insights from the insiders: how real people have forged green careers.


Will Gardening Jobs Still Be Available? - In This Economy Is Gardening A Wise Career Choice?

Although cutting discretionary garden expenses in today's economy is a possibility, a downsized workforce means people are working longer hours with little time to take care of their gardens. In addition to outsourcing child care, maid service, grocery delivery and other errands, garden maintenance is no longer a luxury reserved for the wealthy.

According to a market research study conducted in 2007 by the National Gardening Association, over the last five years, there has been a continued increase in the number of households who currently hire at least one type of lawn and landscape service -- that's an estimated 34.5 million households or 30% of all households nationwide.

Now more than ever, whether tending another person's garden or working in a garden nursery, there is more work than qualified individuals available. With many people simply not having the time or skills to do the work themselves, that's where you come in.

I Work In A Garden Centre (Just the Job)
I Work In A Garden Centre (Just the Job)

In the retail sector, more people are interested in going green and there are a growing number of people interested in gardening that need help to buy the right plant, tool, etc. More than 91 million or 83% of American households are active with indoor and outdoor lawn and garden activities so there is an ongoing need for knowledgeable people to assist these do-it-yourselfers, many who are novice gardeners.


Is A Green Career In The Future For Me? - "Getting Dirty" Guide Focuses on Gardening & Landscaping Jobs

Whether it's a green job helping to save the environment or a green related career, this series of articles is tailored to focus on all the advance preparation and questions a mid-life career changer may face in switching to green collar employment.

The books listed here will help you pinpoint what kind of green job to pursue, the job requirements, salary and education required. There are also books available on starting your own lawn care and landscaping business with information on how to get paid to take care of someone else's garden.

I'm working on a book called Getting Dirty which will focus primarily on getting a job at a garden center. Right now there isn't a book available on the subject so I'll keep posting excerpts here. In the meantime, you may find this book useful which covers careers from floral design to landscape architecture to gardening to agriculture.

Careers for Plant Lovers & Other Green Thumb Types (Careers For Series)
Careers for Plant Lovers & Other Green Thumb Types (Careers For Series)

Amazon Product Description

Do you enjoy getting your hands dirty planting herbs in your backyard? Are you forever wandering the aisles of greenhouses looking for new and unique flowers? If so, your passion can be nurtured and directed into a fulfilling career. The opportunities for plant lovers are diverse and rewarding.

In Careers for Plant Lovers, you'll learn how flora aficionados like yourself can earn a healthy living as floriculturists, garden educators, scientists, flower curators, farmers, specialty breeders, garden retailers, groundskeepers, landscape architects, gardening book writers and flower photographers.

Inside you'll find all the information you need on salaries, working conditions, and opportunities for professional advancement. Written for newcomers and career changers alike, Careers for Plant Lovers will show you how to successfully cultivate your talents and watch them blossom into your dream job.


So You Want to Start a Nursery? - Tony Avent

Ever dream about running your own small business? For an article from Phil Van Soelen, co-owner of California Flora Nursery about running a nursery, click here.

"Great American nurseries remodel our gardens simply through the plants they introduce. Many of these businesses are small and idiosyncratic, the brain-children of people with odd and original visions of how gardens should be."

- Mac Griswold, October 1997, Garden Design Magazine

So You Want to Start a Nursery
So You Want to Start a Nursery

Few books share the nitty gritty details of what it actually takes to run a nursery. Author Tony Avent has taken the time to document and share his experiences with owning specialty nursery, Plant Delights which focuses on rare and unusual perennials, hostas and U.S. natives.

Here's an excerpt from the book where Tony offers specific information and advice on how to start a mail order nursery. Return here for the lowest price available to purchase the hardcover book "So You Want to Start a Nursery" by Tony Avent. Consider it due diligence, a nursery business plan primer. $16.47 is a small price for business intelligence on nursery start-up costs and day to day expenses.


Vita Sackville-West on Gardeners - English Poet, Novelist & Gardener

In your garden
In your garden

The most noteworthy thing about gardeners is that they are always optimistic, always enterprising, and never satisfied. They always look forward to doing something better than they have ever done before.


Guestbook - So Are You Thinking Of A Green Career?

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    • blestman lm profile image

      blestman lm 4 years ago

      Kudos on this lens. I am practicing by doing some urban gardening right now. My dream is to have a sustainable urban garden (vertical garden) that will provide some income too.

    • geosum profile image

      geosum 4 years ago

      I enjoy gardening. At 76 I'm happy just doing my gardening at home. Great lens!

    • profile image

      SkinCareExpert 4 years ago

      I myself have pondered this question for a while. Thanks for all the great insight! I feel inspired! :)

    • profile image

      readabooki 5 years ago

      What a great lens. When I searched on it I didn't think a lens like this existed but you made one. Thanks.

    • profile image

      LensSeller 6 years ago

      A very informative lens with plenty of ideas for anyone who wants to turn their "green" interests into a living.

    • VJYoung profile image

      VJYoung 7 years ago

      We at EnviroCorps are very appreciative of the support squidoo supporters are giving us.

    • TacTac profile image

      TacTac 7 years ago

      What an excellent idea for a lens. Great information. Thanks for writing it.

    • profile image

      myFootpathAdvisor 7 years ago

      This lens is very well-written and packed with information. I checked out "Getting Dirty" as well, nice blog! I'm all for anything that encourages people to pursue their passion!!!

    • profile image

      GeothermalVids 8 years ago

      Thanks for this lens. Gives me a lot of insight into what it is like to be a gardener. :)


    • profile image

      poutine 8 years ago

      First of all, let me say that I just love your title " How Do I Get a Green Collar Job Gardening For A Living?".

      And furthermore, I really enjoyed reading this lens and find it very well documented.


    • profile image

      Echo Phoenix 8 years ago

      Great Lens, Adrienne! thank you for contributing to Planet Earth: Our Garden of Eden, we are featuring you and your Lens in the new module, Green Employment!

      looking forward to more great lenses from you:)



    • sherridan profile image

      sherridan 8 years ago

      Great lens...please do submit it to my Career and Work Oracle Group ( and then I might feature it.



    • dahlia369 profile image

      dahlia369 8 years ago

      Great lens!! :)

      Thank you for joining one of my groups! See more and add your lenses to link plexos at:

    • greenerme profile image

      greenerme 8 years ago

      Excellent work! Thanks for the list of green jobs. Many people think you can't make a living going green, but you can! This lens is going to be featured as the green lens of the week on a Million Ways to Go Green!

    • profile image

      RinchenChodron 8 years ago

      What a fabulous lens! Welcome to the Green Companies and Environmental Activists Headquarters

    • naturegirl7s profile image

      Yvonne L. B. 8 years ago from Covington, LA

      Go green! As a Master Gardener and officer in a native plant society, I salute you and this lens. Please consider joining our group Naturally Native Squids.

    • hlkljgk profile image

      hlkljgk 8 years ago from Western Mass

      well designed lens with relevant info. great work.

    • Mickie Gee profile image

      Mickie Goad 8 years ago

      Nice work. I always prefer working outside the box.

    • TreasuresBrenda profile image

      Treasures By Brenda 8 years ago from Canada

      Beautiful lens; I really like the lists of green jobs. They could be very helpful for people like my son who is graduating from high school and does not know what to do next!