Horticulture vs. Botany?

I felt like we got a lot of great things accomplished today! Luke has three more Math worksheets before he is finished with his Math U See “Beta” book. Once he is finished he and I are going celebrate by going out for sushi. We are the only ones in the family that like sushi (I think Luke mostly likes it because they line the sushi up to look like a catapillar or dragon.) So anytime he got distracted while doing his math today I would yell at him, “I WANT SUSHI, GET BACK TO WORK.” Joking of course….(and so very very serious.)

Isabel and I have learned the alpha bet in Sign Language (ASL), counting to ten, and today we learned father, mother, family, brother, sister, boy, girl, grandfather, etc. We are using a book we rented from the library, Learn to Sign the Fun Way! by Penny Warner. She loves it and is very quick to memorize.

One of the things Luke wants to be when he grows up is a horticulturist. He has also heard of botanists, so last night he asked what the difference was. This morning I scrambled around on the internet trying to find the answer. I couldn’t find any great “Horticulture vs. Botany” websites (gee, you’d think there would be tons.)  I went to dictionary.com and got simple definitions for both. There is a lot more to it than this, but let’s just say horticulturists work on/improve/cultivate plants, flowers, trees, etc. and botanists study/analyze/dissect plants, flowers, trees, etc.

I then read to them out of our read aloud book, Little House on the Prairie by Laura Ingles Wilder. My kids are loving this book and I find that we are having to stop at least every few paragraphs to have a big discussion on covered wagons, cabins built out of logs, wolves, etc. It gives them, and me, a glimpse of what life was like back then. A great history book for young children.

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10 thoughts on “Horticulture vs. Botany?

  1. Hey Sabrina! I have my degree in Horticulture! What a wonderful thing to be interested in! So after hearing the difference between the two what did he decide? There are so many great things to go and do regarding horticulture. You could go to nurseries and learn about plant propagation, you could go to botanical gardens, flower shops (I’m thinking he would not be into that so much) but maybe Isabell would?
    There is an amazing program at BYU Idaho, it is a nationally accredited and awarded program. The Students design and run the greenhouses and the gardens (which are sooo great!) They pick a nomenclature to work with and are given everything they need to propagate and grow it! I loved it, we often take our kids on tours there in Rexburg. Kevin designed some of the water features there and he likes to check on them every so often. Anyway, the program loves to give tours and talk about what they are doing. The greenhouses and gardens are so impressive that it’s hard to believe we are in Idaho! If you ever get the chance…you know everyone love to go to Rexburg! Come and I will call over there and “hook you up”.

  2. I’m a botanist and everyone always asks me to help their house plants grow better when I tell them that, so I inform them that,
    “Horticulturists keep plants alive for a living, botanists kill plants for a living.”
    since we have huge collections of dried pressed plants called Herbariums for verifying species identifications.
    That’s a bit tongue in cheeck, and I try to be a bad botanist, keeping a pretty thriving garden going, but I’d definitely say that botanists look more at plants in their natural habitat and try to identify species and how they’re related, whereas horticulturists try to create new species and figure out how to grow plants in new habitats.

    Actually, there’s a video just posted on the NYT where I put my (ethno)botanist training to work extolling the virtues of my favorite fruit, the Mangosteen, which you might like:

    http://video.on.nytimes.com/?fr_story=f4e675205257da88c157d5d6228710df1cb18831

    hope that helps in the decision making!

    • Done! Y’all helped me make my decision. Botany it is. I did greenhouse management in another life and would prefer not to do that again. But the idea of looking at “plants in their natural habitat and try[ing] to identify species and how they’re related” (thanks Nat) makes me think of woods walks with my wonderful Gramma Birdie – a woods woman and gardener extraordinaire.

  3. Thank you so much for your comments. Luke and I loved reading what the “experts” had to say. Jamie, I didn’t know that you are a horticulturist…I am very impressed. Nat, Luke and I loved the video clip and want to try a Mangosteen!

  4. Pingback: A real life horticulturist and a real life botonist! « Sabrina School

  5. I don’t much about the hort/bot issue. But, I wanted to mention “Signing Time” (with Alex and Leah…) for learning ASL. We don’t watch much tv (at least during the day while Daddy’s gone), but Joshua (2) is obsessed with this show and we both have learned a lot of signs and fun songs from it. You’ve probably heard of it, but wanted to bring it up for a fun show for Isabel if you didn’t.
    Also, my brother mailed me “The Little House Collection” and I’m so excited to read them for myself and then to my kids when they’re older. My sister did and they loved it, just like your family!

  6. I have never heard of “Signing Time” I am going to look it up right now. Thanks!
    ….I just went to my library online and requested about five of the Signing Time DVDs!

  7. Hello Sabrina, I happened across your question while doing review of the same question, ie: Botany vs. Horticulture. I found this web site (University of British Columbia) that some good discussion on the topic.

    http://botanyjohn.org/en/narratives/ubc-botanical-garden/botany-versus-horticulture

    They start out with, “The university administration did not see any practical difference between botany and horticulture…”.

    Good luck in your endeavors!

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