I read a blog post the other week that rang a little true… (You can check it out here if you’re interested) How do you show a bit of professional respect? I’m not talking about the lay person in the street, I’m talking about those in realted or similar fields. People who should want to, need to and love to work with you to make their and your job easier and better.
I’ve recently spent time haunting some local nurseries, time I really enjoy, until I get talking to one of the nursery workers. I generally don’t give away my profession, play a bit dumb and get chatting about the plants and what people are buying and doing. Inevitably I ask them about design, and without fail I’m told not to waste my money on a landscape architect or designer, that I could do it myself (little do they know…) and that designers generally don’t know anything about plants anyway. Needless to say, I generally leave a little less happy than when I get there which is obviously not the aim of the exercise.
Part of the purpose of visiting the Nursery is to do a little bit of mystery shopping. Work out what people are doing, wanting, buying and liking. See what’s new in the horticultural market and what’s trending. I’ve had a couple of years away from the profession and I want to get my groove back, so I want to talk to people and get a good feeling for what’s happening in the industry. When I get feedback from people who I consider to be in my industry about how ineffectual they think the job I do is it makes me a little sad. Then I start to think about all the things they might be missing out on through their narrow view of their industry, and I get a little sadder. Then my mind wanders to all those people who might have been thinking about getting help to design their garden because they thought it was a bit beyond them, only to be told not to waste their time or money and it makes me angry. Not because of the possible work being lost to my profession, but because there are people out there who want to love their gardens but are being left feeling frustrated and a bit overwhelmed while they plant the same plants the nurseryman has told the last 10 people to buy as well.
Now, to set the ledger straight, to those of you who think you might know better, and that the designers out there serve no purpose, have a look at the house you live in, the seat you are sitting on, the park you’re enjoying while you watch your kids run through the playground they love. How many things in your world would be a little less wonderful without that special someone who, in the beginning stages had a little vision, a little dream, a tiny creative spark, that turned into a gush of designing talent that created the things that you love.
Yes, designers can be a little precious, and I know I can be guilty of that at times, but we serve a purpose. We often think outside the square and make the little changes that others are a little too scared to make. Sometimes those little changes can be huge leaps of faith, and it takes courage to put it out there, and believe in your own talent and ability. But, designers are far from useless, and rarely can someone just do it themselves and achieve the same magical outcome.
Besides, a landscape is more than just plants! Therefore you need to know about a lot more than just plants to design one… but I’ll get into that a bit more another time…
OK, rant over, back to normal programming, but if you’re feeling a little under valued and there’s not a lot of respect coming your way, I don’t think we’re alone!