Search on this site

Landscape Industry Forum

Landscape Gardening Jobs

« Getting into bed with a garden centre undermines what Garden Organic is about | Main | Annabel Downs was unfairly dismissed »


i think the reason the victorians were so successful in horticulture and developement was the fact that they all started as apprentices and those that wanted to learn had to take the time to do it properly.
you cannot force someone to do a job that they do not want to do, the same as those that want to do the job without making the effort to do it properly. all too often people walk straight into jobs in horticulture and are experts after learning a few plant names in there own garden, then struggle to deal with customers or tell them what is basically a pack of lies as to how the garden needs to be done because they dont have a clue
(as is with some franchisees)

Hi Phil

Thanks for putting this up as a seperate lead, it's important, well too me anyway, but I am a Nursery Worker.

I believe, and it comes across in your comments above, that employers look on their employees as second class. I have always been treated as such.

You state about your workers that you employed not turning up or stealing, both of which I have no time for. Yet still not a positive from you about any of your employees over your time in trading. Perhaps it was your bad judgement on recruitment, poor management structure and bad leadership as the company owner? So negative, so anti worker, so anti Horticulture, oh dear!

Hopefully with all of the postive posts on LJ you have learned a little on people a business management.

If LJ is just like BALI, HTA, APL etc, a bosses club it will fail. How and when do we bring young people into Horticulture and related industries if it is seen as such by them.

There is so much information,and help on this site, that for those starting out, young workers, they appear currently univited. If we asked employees of LJ members to comment on their bosses contributions, what would they say?

It is also perhaps worth bearing in mind that I guess most Landscapers/Desingers would turn over say 15-25k without employees. Therefore by taking on an employee that doubles work, and turnover the employee would get 12-15k, therefore the employee though doubling the turnover is exploited.

For my own part, I was a member of the TGWU, Allied and Agricultural Workers Section for many years. I joined Pantiles Nurseries Limited as a sales assistant in 1997, and within 2 years I was appointed as Director of the Pantiles, I still remained a Trade Union member, because it's right. I can be a Company Dirictor and a Trade Unionist without any problem, I will always back the workers.

It's the way you approach life, the workers make the profits for business, the bosses take them.

I have also been on the recieving end of a Bos's decision when my former Mr Bos of Hagthorne Cottage Nureries Limited was found guilty of the unfair dismissal of myself and my wife Tina. We were awarded nearly £50,000, by the Tribunal, but got nothing. Please also bear in mind that Mr Richard Bos was a member, and perhaps still is a member of the New Communist Party, where as Tina and I are much more progressive.

Believe me, from personal experience, employers have no morals, no priciples and would abuse their own workforce at the drop of a hat.

The I guess neither Tina or I are Annabelle Downs, who fair play to her got publicity for her recent Employment Tribunal award, even on your website, against her bosses. We did a our press release to Horticulture Week following our victory, and Employment Tribunal award, but as I guess HW is owned by a dodgy Tory, it was never going to be printed.

As Workers, we don't want a father figure, charity, hand me downs, we just want our rights. Most employees including from you own words even you own, appear to be equally demorarlised.

Or as it was put to me so well a few years ago, we don't want a few crumbs from the bosses table, or our slice of the cake.

As workers want the whole bakery.

I do expect an apology from you for your negative attitude to Trade Unionists, me being one, and more importantly to young workers in Horticulture which you appear to discredit and tar with the same brush.

Phil, your still pretty good, but you need to listen more, you are not always right.

its like this you have to take care or your workers! i can't stress this enough. this is one of the least expensive business to start up. if you are lucky enough to already have a truck, your only looking at $2000 for new good tools to start up. so if you pay your helper 60-80 dollars a day and he sees you buy a house a new $30,000 truck, you're likely to loose your help and gain some competition. and skilled help is hard to find.

think of the time you spent teaching him, a good helper already knows what's next, what tools it will take, and what problems look like if you miss something.

Hi mrfnk,

Sorry don't know your name as it was not on your post.

However I guess that from your language and € sign you are an American?

With apologies, since the USA is quite backward on most things, starting with labour laws, your comments are unsurprising to me.

You to appear to relate to your employees as "helpers"?, yet these are people the same as you with hopes, dreams and ambitions, just the same as you.

Employees are not just the helpers, otherwise they would be there for for free, so that you can make many more $$$.

You also appear to believe that your "helpers" will steal your tools and your knowledge. I would suggest that if perhaps if you undertook some proper business management skills training, it would help you, and your business.

You come across as a fairly bitter and sad person, but I guess as you appear to live in the USA, one of the most undemocratic and backward countries in the world , it must be difficult for you?

However there is still hope, give your employees a chance to show their potential, inspire them, show them, educate them and reward them properly.

This is the way forward.

Kind regards,


did you read what i wrote? i say workers or helper because i do not own the business, i'm not the one that pays them. i'm a journeyman with a helper, and he too will be a journeyman soon with his own helper to teach.
i don't know why you would think i would think my workers to steal from me. outside of work we are friends. our kids play together. i trust them more than i trust most people. this is why i say it's important to take care of them.
i give them all that i know hoping they will take it and do the same as i did. i take great pride in my work and in my helpers. they know what i need before i ask. they are my support at work.
you my friend are the one that didn't understand what i said. that makes you the one here that is backward.
good day sir.
frank garcia

I’m with you on this one Steve.

Every employee should be offered / encouraged to join a trade union. Why would an employer have anything to worry about? Hopefully gone are the days of the miners strikes, three day weeks and the hard core left wingers, most trade unionists are there to not only look after their members but also issue a wealth of H&S and other information for businesses.

Unfortunately the proposed BA strikes will do a lot of harm and will tarnish the trade unions.

I have found that all staff can be good most of the time but due to the nature of the job and their young age some see it as more as a way of earning beer money and will let you down at the drop of a hat. That’s just life and goes with the business. If they were members of a trade union it wouldn't stop an employer following HR policies to address these issues.

The keen workers will be loyal and supportive if they are treated fairly. It should be a win / win for all parties and an investment in staff and their wellbeing goes without saying. Unfortunately it does incur some additional expenses but once the business has sufficient cash flow under control this cost shouldn’t impact the bottom line too much in fact it should help productivity and profitability. This should be applied regardless if the staff member is a member of a union or not!

With a small professional run company the staff may not feel the need to join a trade union but they should still have the information made available should they wish to consider it. Why would a company want to discourage them? If they did may be they don’t have HR, H&S and all the other policies and procedures in place.

Slightly off topic, I found both Steve and Tina to be some of the nicest and honest people you could ever wish to meet. Steve was most helpful sorting out some large planting schemes for me a few years back. I can only surmise that not only would he be a credit to any company but a super boss too.

Carry your card with pride Steve!


There is no apology from me that is necessary.

I think you have made so many assumptions about me and the way I ran my business that I think, no matter what I say, your mind will ever be changed.

Employment is a two way street and it success depends on so many factors. Mutual respect and mutual trust are two important attributes to longevity in a working relationship.

You have obviously never been a boss as I am certain you would not feel the way you do and you view of exploitation is just not the right way to look at it.

I think you apply the word 'exploitation' negatively; by definition, when someone is employed the are exploited and at the same time, they are compensated fairly by way of a payment. The level of the payment is reflected in the skills and attributes the worker brings to the business.

The boss is the one who takes all the risks, and regardless of what you say, the rewards are not always reflective of the time that the owner of the business puts into it.

Businesses have to make a profit otherwise they cannot operate; it's obvious, surely?

I think you've been unfair about Landscape Juice and have not written what is reflective of its content.

It has sought to redress a lot of situations that might be deemed unfair and I have constantly and continuously tried to help educate clients about the value of horticulture and landscaping and the hope that practitioners can be rightly compensated for their skills.

"Believe me, from personal experience, employers have no morals, no priciples [sic] and would abuse their own workforce at the drop of a hat."

I just hope you never have to seek employment again as - this comment surely wasn't meant, was it?

It is very offputting being a young person in horticulture anyway, without the negativity brought on as a result of very bad experiences with people stealing or treating the job, as someone further up pointed out, beer money. Being young you are put down by colleagues and not trusted by customers, even if you have more knowledge and experience than someone who is older.

A trade union is not a bad thing, providing it is able to support bosses and workers. If a boss exploits the workers (above coments about exploitation and remuneration noted) then the workers need help to sort things out if a situation becomes unbearable. This is particularly important if you have someone at supervisory level who is 'a bad egg' and those at a higher level refuse to take care of the situation. Also employees may need help to sort out H&S concerns if management refuses to accept a problem.

Equally a trade union must afford protection for the employer to be successful. Even just advising employees that their situation is not actually as dire as they think can prevent a minor dispute going nuclear. Employers have rights as well as employees, and with an industry as complex as ours a union must be able to wade in to help either side of a dispute should it be required.

Just my thoughts.


Hi Phil,

I have made no such assuptions on the way that you ran your business. On the arguement that you used to me about some of your former employees, stealing etc. , I simply stated that none of them that you mentioned were Trade Union members, so that is no reason to be anti-Union. However it does appear to me to be anti-Landscape/Horticultural worker.

Employment is a two way street, on that we at least agree, but why the fear of a workforce being organised? Their bosses do? Or is it one rule for one and one for another, is that really your belief?

I have been on both sides of the fence, as an employee and employer in my 30 years in Horticulture. Starting out as a general Nurseryman, I worked my way up the ladder, (yes Trade Unionists do work) and eventually found myself promoted from the "shop-floor" to a Director of Pantiles Nurseries, with some 70 odd employees. I then went on to form my own company.

Employees have their Labour to sell. Some are rewarded properly and treated properly by their employers, but many are not. When I worked for an employer I worked some 60 hours a week, as an employer I worked the same, what is the difference?

The risks are not just taken by the employer, that is not correct. The risks of the employee are, is it a proper company?, what H&S do they have, or care about? Do my employers care about my career development, or are these courses just lip-service?

Employees have bills, mortgages to pay and they have as much stake in the future of their business as their employer, it is their future too.

My comments on LJ are I believe justified, since how many employees of those companies represented on LJ are signed up, none?

I stand by my employers comments, since, yes it happened to me, theft by my employer!!! What you might call first hand experience.

As a note to all, there has been several email between Phil and I, since Phil introduced this as a lead item. Originally it began from my comments following Phil's lead on Victorians values, or something like that?

My interest only sparked when Phil lead questioning some Labour laws, as yet which he has failed to define which Labour laws, he would like to repeal, but here is is chance.

Then the whole world of Horticulture and Landscaping would know where LJ stands on it's workers protection and rights?

So how about it Phil, what protection would you like workers in this industry to lose?



Hi Ben

All I would say you you about being young is; be confident, be attentive, be punctual and work hard no employer has any cause to be aggrieved.

I started in business at 19 years of age and I looked extremely young at that age. I encountered ageism and patronising behaviour from others but I found it drove me harder to be successful.

One of the reasons I find the trade union route such a difficult one to swallow is that it often appears to me that it is abused by some workers who know exactly how far they can push it with their employers.

An employee with the right attitude, I feel, would utilise and and rely on a trade union little and would more likely take any grievances directly to his boss and talk with him or her, face to face.

"Equally a trade union must afford protection for the employer to be successful."

In my view that's spot on; I don't think I or any other employer would have reason to fear a trade union if the employer knew absolutely and for certain, that both parties were obliged to apply the same rules.


You make the implication that I have hidden something in those private emails - with your permission, I will be happy to post them here (in full) for all to read.

As you will already be aware, but other readers not, I emailed you privately (and in a response to one you had sent me) only in relation to the personal tone of the first comment you left and I stated, quite unequivocally in the second email, that I support your right to air your views on Landscape Juice.

Landscape Juice is a vehicle for stating views and from the very start, Landscape Juice has been about uncovering and highlighting man many aspects of the landscape and horticulture trade that would, otherwise, not get the publicity it deserved or needed.

That could be the ill treatment of an employee by an employer or it could be the poor treatment by an employee of an employer - my focus has always intended to be on righting the wrong and helping to change the system.

We only have to look back to the early days of the Landscape Juice Network when I helped you to publicise the case against your ex-employer as an example - any reader here can see that I took no side with the employer and I merely wanted to see fair play.

To say that employees or young people are not welcome on Landscape Juice could not be further from the truth.

You need to read and re-read the Victorian garden post because you have drawn a conclusion on my views that were never stated or implied.

My thoughts on the Victorians were centred around the work ethic, not morals, rules or laws.

In the subsequent post (to which this comment forms part of) I added so many caveats which you fail to spot. I fully concur that systems, people and rules are exploited and in those cases, employers (or employees) should be made accountable.

In closing, take a look at the British Airways strike; it is my opinion that the trade unions have made a very very foolish mistake in trying to take on BA at a time when BA is so vulnerable to the economy anyway - I cannot for the life of me see how they thought by financially weakening the company they could continue to protect their workers?

It was also pleasing to see that so many workers chose to ignore the strike and BA were able to run a fairly decent service (I am just using news sources as a reference here and I have of first hand knowledge).

This reply is not directed to Steve or Phil (both of who I have a lot of respect for) but more my general view on unions.

I have never voted Labour but do fully support the principles of the unions. They have helped thousands of people and let’s not forget that they have helped negotiate or shaped better pay, conditions and some of the more sensible employment laws that we have and hopefully all value. I am sure that many of the workplaces are safer for them.

I view unions as more partnerships for all parties involved, however you do have to question this with regards to the current BA strike but then again I don’t work for BA so perhaps I can’t make judgment on this particular issue but personally think they are wrong and good to see some union members not taking action.

Every employee has the right to join a trade union and I repeat my earlier posting I can not see what harm this would cause. Even professional footballers have their own union and when was the last time we saw them lay down their boots!

I believe that part of the problem we have is that there are quite a few businesses that do not fully understand or at worst care about the various laws that they have to implement and I can see why some employees mainly the younger ones can end up being exploited or at worst their safety being compromised – I like to think that this isn’t always intentionally but rather thought a lack of understanding by the employers to have the required policies and procedures in place.

I have employed quite a few people over the years, some horrendous but a fair share of keen and loyal employees. It is hard just keeping up with all the various employment and H&S rules and regulations to name just a few not to mention the cost to implement them and I do find it frustrating that some staff don’t appreciate the work that goes behinds the scenes. At times I feel that I am working more for them but that’s part and parcel of being in business and I don’t confess to be the best employer I have my faults like everyone else and I know I can and will do better.

I would rather have an employee pointing out my failures to adhere to the laws than allow a preventable accident occurring.

Regardless of employees being members of a trade union the key is for employers to have an open dialog with their staff – a safe, happy work force will hopefully also be a productive one. Anything that helps to achieve this can only be for everyone’s benefit but it must be a two way street and a win win for all parties.

It is tough being in business but having employees as trade union members is not a threat, in an ideal world there wouldn’t be a need for unions but until then ......

Hi Phil,

Many thanks for your response.

We are off the front page now, so we can say as we like?

Can I just point out one legal mattter before we proceed.

It is a LEGAL RIGHT for every worker to join a Trade Union. Your bosses cannot stop you, and you do not need to tell them, that is the law.

We are not in Poland with solidaridy now!

Phil, I have not attacked you personally, I have simply questioned your morals and principles.

If I were to attack you personally, you would be the first to know, as when I start something, I don't tend to stop.

You appear to me, and perhaps others as having a bit of a knee-jerk reaction to your former employees, and perhaps my comments touched a nerve?

Since you raise it, the almost Nazi dictatorship of the BA management is what makes most working people mad.

They had a ballot of members under Tory rules, most voted for strike action, that was overturned in the courts.

They had a second ballot for strike action, under court and Tory ruules, in favour of strike action.

Now either the Tories and the Courts believe in democracy, or they don't, it appears to be the latter.

A democratic vote overturned by the poxy tories, poxy courts and poxy media.

Democracy will never be supported by these poxy organisations, for they do not understand it.

When working people organise, the bosses sh*t themselves, as they have no understanding of humankind, their only interest is their profits.

So, in answer to my question Phil, how many workers of companies on LJ are represented?

So, therefore, does LJ represent the industry, or just the bosses?

Please answer my questions........

im a landscape gardener in a small company all the men work hard and the boss just moans about not having money so no gloves boots over time etc etc and its all his way or the highway ive seen meny good hard working men leave or been finished because he didnt get on with them so much or they had a small mistake

its bullshit to treat ppl like this at the end of the day ots ppls lives in play and everyone should feel wanted needed welcome and respested as they are the ones putting in the work getting the results

The comments to this entry are closed.