Getting a Second Opinion from Experienced Gardeners

My landscape gardener told me about her experience with working with local gardeners and consulting them on some of her ideas. On one project, she was designing and planning a garden on behalf of a company. She had worked with the local government and consulted an expert in sustainable landscaping. During the project, she also hired a local gardener as a consultant - someone to bounce ideas off an experienced mind, and to ask about any local issues to be aware of.

And so, my client and the gardener produced a case study of what they had done. It was a success. The landscape design was heavily influenced by the local weather, flora and fauna. It was designed to showcase all 4 seasons of the year.

Their client was very pleased with their proposal. The next thing they did was to get the landscape gardener to draw up a master plan, showing all the features of the property that they wanted to improve. They even had time to discuss the best landscaping practices for their client. The end result? The master plan converted the garden into a beautiful outdoor living space.

Some gardeners might say that the gardener who was consulted should be described as a "horticultural consultant". I think underlies the snobbery in this industry. The connotation of a gardener is someone who is basically told what to do, and they do it. The idea that there is crossover between gardening skills and landscaping skills offends some people. And yet, gardeners often work with landscape designers. They have experience of the successes, the failures, the potential pitfalls, the opportunities all found in landscape design.

And so, in my opinion, some gardeners can become good "sounding boards" on design ideas. It doesn't mean they can draw up a design, but they can advise on more of the technical aspects of how a garden can best function.

Of course, it greatly depends on the experience of the gardener. You're not going to ask some apprentice gardener their thoughts on a number of designs. However, a gardener with 20+ years experience have "seen it all" if they've worked with landscapers all this time.

The key advantage with consulting an experienced gardener (as a second opinion) is they are a neutral voice. They are not competing with you. In fact, you may only require their experience on one or two technical points and that's it.

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User Anecdotes

We've solicited a number of user anecdotes on this topic, and have hand picked some of the more interesting ones below. We feel that anecdotes can give a practical, human perspective on a topic.

"I remember when I first started gardening, and I have to admit, I made a lot of mistakes. I was too shy to reach out to experienced gardeners for advice, and I felt like I could handle everything on my own. My garden suffered for it - I lost a lot of plants and wasted a lot of time. Eventually, I swallowed my pride and started asking for help. I joined a local gardening club and found some incredibly knowledgeable people who were more than happy to share their wisdom. I quickly learned that there's no shame in seeking a second opinion, and my garden has thrived ever since! I can't stress enough how much of a difference it made to have someone with experience guiding me through the process. My only regret is not reaching out sooner!"
Grace M.

"I have a friend who has been gardening for over 30 years, and I am so grateful to have her as a resource. Whenever I have a question or encounter a problem, I know that I can turn to her for advice, and she always has the answer. It's incredible how much she knows about plants, soil, and how to create a thriving garden. I've learned so much from her over the years, and I don't think my garden would be as successful as it is without her guidance. I would strongly encourage anyone who is new to gardening or struggling with their garden to seek out someone with experience. The knowledge and advice they can provide are invaluable!"
Jean-Pierre L.

"When I first started gardening, I thought I knew everything there was to know about it - after all, I'd read all the books and online articles I could find. But I quickly learned that there's a big difference between book knowledge and practical experience. I was having trouble with some of my plants, and I didn't know what to do. That's when I decided to reach out to an experienced gardener in my neighborhood for help. He came over and showed me what I was doing wrong, and he offered some simple solutions that made all the difference. Now, my garden is thriving, and I'm so grateful for his advice. Don't be afraid to ask for help - there's no substitute for hands-on experience and knowledge!"
Anjali R.

"Last year, I was desperately trying to save a sickly rose bush in my garden. I had tried everything I could think of, but nothing seemed to work. Finally, I reached out to an experienced gardener, who suggested a different approach. She told me that the problem might be the soil, rather than the bush itself, and she recommended that I amend the soil with some specific nutrients. Sure enough, after following her advice, the rose bush began to recover and is now flourishing! It really taught me the value of seeking a second opinion, especially from someone with a lot of gardening experience. I will definitely be more open to asking for help in the future."
Yoshiko K.

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