Horticulturist vs. Landscape Architect

This question has come up several times in the past couple of weeks: What is the difference between an horticulturist and a landscape architect? 

A houriculturist is a botanist or agronomist or arborist (or all) who understands the biology, ecology, pathology of plants and soils (and often birds and insects). Horticulturists have course work in plant physiology, in cellular morphology, in organic chemistry and physics (light is VERY important to plants). They study plant taxonomy, ID, and plant anatomy. Horticulturists have course work in crop production, post harvest physiology, in pest control and in nutrient management. In short, horticulturists are experts in plants and how to grow them.

Good horticulturists learn to observe. We observe gardens both native and planted for knowledge of what works well in every given microclimate and situation and also what does not. Some plants thrive without care, others do best when hedged by deer, some only grow well with other plants to shade their roots, some plants struggle with extra irrigation, etc..., etc... Horticulturists usually only have one or two classes in design. We can design plantings based on our observations of nature and planted gardens and our knowledge of what works best in each setting.

Landscape architects study mathematics and engineering and drainage. They analyze the grand landscapes of great masters. The are trained in garden styles. They can place patios and pavers areas and pools and outdoor kitchens. They can design tea-houses and tree-forts. Landscape architects are great with concepts and with putting areas together as a whole. They also, sometimes, have a class or two covering plants. 

If you have questions regarding what plant grows best where or which plants survive with minimal irrigation or which plants are native, introduced or are a weed, ask a horticulturist. If you need to create a plant list for a subdivision or a town, it would be foolish to ask anyone other than a horticulturist. Many conscientious architects do call on horticulturists to "fill-in-the-blanks" of their grand conceptual designs. There are actually a few excellent horticulturists who later become excellent Landscape Architects and they are a rare breed.

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Villager Nursery, Inc
10678 Donner Pass Road, Truckee, CA 96161-4834
Central Truckee, exit 186 off I-80
(530) 587-0771

Founded 1975, Incorporated 1990

California Nursery License 1975
No. C 3976.001, Co.29CA
Contractors License 1977
No. 413907-C27 LS
ISA Certified Arborist: Eric Larusson
No. WE-7983A

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