Unlike agriculture, which is concerned with planting crops and running a farm, gardening is a specialized proficiency. Gardening is used to plant and care for a single small grove or garden in a particular area. Rather than food or cash crops, gardening concerns itself with tending rare flowers, herbs, and endangered trees. Knowledge of gardening may be used to identify problems that affect plants: plant diseases, harmful insect infestation, lack of essential nutrients and scarcity of water, for example. Gardeners know how to rectify problems they can identify. Any garden under the care of a gardener produces to its maximum capacity so long as the means to alleviate any problems are available. Defilers use the gardening skill to assure themselves of ready power. Sorcerer-kings employ cadres of gardener-slaves to keep their gardens and groves in good shape. Preservers usually have gardens that serve as repositories for plants that have otherwise disappeared from Athas, holding them in trust for future generations.

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