Horticulture can basically be defined as the science and art that is involved in the cultivation, propagation, processing and marketing of ornamental plants, flowers, turf, vegetables, fruits, and nuts. It is considerably unique in comparison to most plant sciences because incorporates the art and principles of design as well as the various aspects of science and technology.
The background and practice of horticulture can be retraced for many thousands of years. The development of horticultural products has a long history, beginning with the first settlers that arrived in places such as Persia and America. The first colonists depended completely on locally grown products and selected seeds from plants that yielded well. Seeds of vegetable, apple, melon, corn, and squash varieties were handed down from generation to generation. These were shared between families and were maintained. This practice extended right through the 1950s, which made the culture of vegetables and fruits a staple activity for most rural families. Many of these original seeds are still grown by gardeners today who interested in history or are maintained in breeding programs and preservation companies.
Floriculture (the science of growing flowers) has also had an interesting history. All the way through the 1800’s, during the Victorian era, having houseplants, indoor terrariums, and extensive perennial gardens became extremely popular. Also, the use of bedding plants (for example, marigolds) became more common throughout the late 1940s, after the second World War. During the 1970s, as a wide interest in the environment began to grow, houseplants became popular again. As well as all this, new discoveries and flowers were constantly being made. By the mid-1980’s pansies were constantly being used for a pop of colour, to the point where the incomes of most greenhouse owners had almost doubled!
Horticulturists are required to apply their knowledge, skills, and new technologies to grow suitable plants for both food and non-food purposes, as well as for social or individual needs. The overall aim for those in the horticultural industry is to ultimately improve the growth of plants, as well as to uphold their quality and nutritional value and protecting them from diseases, insects and environmental stresses. People in this industry tend to work as outdoors in gardens or fields, as well as indoors in garden centres or as designers.