Horticulture is part of general agronomy. This art of cultivating gardens is a broader and more complex field than it seems. Indeed, horticulture is often equated with the cultivation of ornamental plants… But horticulture is not just that! Horticulture is divided into many sub-sectors. Ornamental plants are only one facet of the industry. It should not be forgotten that horticulture is also about growing fruit, vegetables, and gardens!
Thus, the professions that make up this sector are numerous, as are the number of jobs it generates. You may not know it, but the floristry and landscape sector is one of the agricultural sectors that employ the most workers in the United States. Would you like to learn more about horticulture, its definition, its professions, and its training? You’ve come to the right place; here’s everything you need to know on the subject.
History and definition of horticulture
The word “Hortus” in Latin means “garden”. Horticulture is the art of cultivating vegetable and flower gardens. As you will have understood, horticulture is not limited to ornamental plants. Anchored in the heart of American traditions, horticulture includes several sub-sectors: ornamental plants, flowers, gardens, vegetables, but also fruit. The forestry, cereal, and oilseed sectors are not involved in horticulture.
The history of horticulture in the United States is not new. Indeed, the profession of horticulturist appeared as early as the 18th century. It was at this time that the first horticultural workshops appeared, and the first plants were produced for commercial purposes. For a long time, horticulture developed thanks to the financing of bourgeois and noble houses that appreciated the beauty of flowers and well-kept parks and gardens.
As you will have gathered, horticulture is an art form firmly rooted in American tradition. In the 1950s, horticulture took a new turn with increased production and new means implemented (cultivation in greenhouses, more advanced techniques, etc.). Since then, techniques have continued to evolve, drawing on all the resources of the agronomic sciences.
The sub-sectors of horticulture
As mentioned above, horticulture has various sub-sectors. Here are the main ones:
- Ornamental horticulture: this sub-sector corresponds to the cultivation of flowers and ornamental plants. It includes the production of trees, shrubs, potted plants, perennials and herbs, bulbs, onions, seeds, seedlings, and flowers. A distinction must be made between nursery (production of outdoor plants) and floriculture (production of potted plants or cut flowers).
- Fruit horticulture: this concerns the production of fruit and, more particularly, the management of orchards.
- Vegetable horticulture: this concerns the production of vegetables under cover, for example, in greenhouses or the open air.
Thus, when we talk about horticulture, we distinguish between different types of horticulturists. Some horticulturists work with food crops (fruit and vegetable horticulture), while other horticulturists are interested in the cultivation of ornamental plants and flowers and the embellishment of gardens.
Horticulture is a very important economic activity. This sector employs a very large workforce in the agricultural world through various companies (agricultural cooperatives, farms, nurseries, supermarkets, etc.). Horticulture creates jobs and boosts the economy. It is also important to know that there are many professions in this sector.
The name “horticulturist” designates all professionals who are specialized in a horticultural field. Thus, there are both engineers and horticultural workers. The horticulturist is involved in one or more fields: market gardening, landscaping, arboriculture, etc. Some horticulturists work in the field, while others carry out research and experimentation. Some horticulturists also take care of marketing products…
As you will have understood, the jobs in this sector are as numerous as they are varied: arboriculturist, florist, pruner, landscape technician, ornamental horticulture technologist… It is impossible to list them all because there are so many specialisations… However, you should be aware that horticulture is made up of a wide range of promising jobs.
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