People know this, but still don’t always manage to utilize it fully since they want to believe they know better and that following procedure is looked upon as a better option as it shows that they can use the proper channels and do things by the book. But the unfortunate truth is that doing everything by the book sometimes isn’t the best option since what that means is that everything that is documented can be brought up again and again in an attempt to figure a person out and possibly evaluate them using past situations that are outdated but are still thought to be pertinent to the individual. In other words, doing everything by the book is more acceptable, but it’s bound to hold a person more accountable, which isn’t always the best turn of events. Boothby, the gardener at Starfleet Academy, was important for the same reason that any wise, older individual that is free with advice and is patient enough to listen would be. The grapevine, which as many know is the term used for a line of communication that is not formal and doesn’t go into a file that can or will be pulled up later, was one of the methods for any cadet at Starfleet since it allowed them to vent, to speak of their problems or their thoughts in a manner that wouldn’t be held against them. For this reason, the gardener was someone that people could go to if they were willing to trust his discretion, which was often kept since Boothby’s ambition was to keep the garden as a calm and relaxing space for those that needed to unwind.
There’s a reason that TV shows and movies often feature individuals that may or may not be trained in psychology and yet are often seen to be positions that might not be considered to be too important but are in a way more important than many of those around them. As the Starfleet Academy gardener, it’s likely that Boothby heard many a confession and secret in his time since the cadets weren’t perfect, and at times might have needed to confide in someone that wasn’t a psychiatrist or a fellow student, and in such moments it’s easy to think that there would be few better than a man that would listen and not judge, but would also give advice when he could. Boothby was likely ignored or not even thought of by many cadets since the fact is that many of those that attended Starfleet were a bit full of themselves for having attained such a position at an institution that would possibly give them access to the stars one day. As a man of the earth, who enjoyed taking care of the grounds and was committed to his duties, Boothby was a guy that many might have looked down upon as simple and worth only passing regard. But those that have opened their eyes to the wider world around them would likely know that the gardener’s worth wasn’t bound up in his profession, which was far more impressive than some might want to admit. Working with the land, finding ways to coax new growth from the earth, and figuring out how to help certain plant species adapt to the earth’s climate indicate that Boothby was far more intelligent and wise than some might have thought.
The other reason for thinking this was because he was there for the people that didn’t want to risk having anything they told a psychiatrist put into their file for later use. The wise old individual that has years of knowledge and a great deal of patience is a trope that has been used extensively over the years, but it never gets old since to be certain, it’s where many of us might end up one day. Of course, at that point, one’s mindset tends to change and a person might not think of themselves as wise, but instead capable of simply being there for others when they’re needed while set on living their own lives in a manner that best suits them. Boothby wasn’t a stupid person, nor was he a genius like several others. But his wisdom and his ability to listen were valued by many people in Starfleet Academy no doubt since between talking to him and talking to a psychiatrist most students understood that Boothby wouldn’t seek to file anything away to use against them later. Boothby was simply there as a sounding board when he was needed, and as someone to take advice from when it was warranted. There are times when one has to realize that if they want to vent or speak of certain issues that are bothering them that the grapevine is the best way to alleviate their issues since there’s almost always someone that’s willing to listen with judging.