Senior Gardener

Posted 9 March by National Trust

If you want a career in Gardening, we can offer you some of the most beautiful outdoor spaces in the UK to work in as well as one of the largest plant collections in Europe.

You’ll be based at the gardens department working in both Dunster Castle and Coleridge Cottage as necessary. There will be weekend working on a rota system in this role. Our normal working day is between 8am and 4:30pm, however there will be times when earlier or later working may be required. This role is due to start at the beginning of May.

What it's like to work here

Set on the edge of Exmoor, overlooking the Bristol Channel, Dunster Castle has been here for around a thousand years. These days this busy historic property welcomes around 170,000 people a year who come to enjoy its stunning setting and host of things to discover and do. The slopes that link the parkland and the river Avill to the castle shelter a wealth of plants. This planting has been considerably enriched both by the Luttrell family and latterly by the Trust. The climate here is exceptionally mild, offering scope for adventurous gardening. Furthermore, the hill provides slopes facing in every direction, encompassing a range of habitats from sun-baked terrace to moist, shady dell. This growing and busy site has an energetic and focused team, keen to deliver the best standards in the West!

What you'll be doing

As Senior Gardener you’ll be working as part of a small motivated team delivering a great experience for our visitors; achieved by collaborating with other departments to help with events, deliveries and waste management and all done with a very flexible and adaptable approach. The garden department is supported by a team of over 40 volunteers, who are at the heart of everything we do. Working with them as individuals or leading larger groups will be an essential and rewarding part of the role. It’s a beautiful part of the world and you’ll be working and managing amongst other dedicated people who thrive on delivering a first class experience. The garden forms an important component of National Trust visits, so we’re passionate about providing consistently high standards of horticulture and customer service every day.

You’ll love working outdoors and understand that our gardens and grounds are as significant as our mansion houses, collections and our historical places. Our visitors tell us how much they enjoy the peace and tranquillity of our well-kept outdoor spaces, which makes your role vital in making sure our visitors have an amazing experience. We don’t just need you to manage our beautiful gardens, although this is an important part of the role; we’d like you to help manage the team too. As the Senior Gardener in our team, we’d like you to lead by example, with exceptional gardening skills, but you’ll also understand how to manage the workload for this team, and deliver exceptional training to new staff and volunteers.

This role is one of leadership and coordination. You'll need to action strong planning and leadership across the department’s seven day a week operation and lead on the expansion of weekend volunteering opportunities. Working alongside the Head Gardener, you'll be responsible for managing many duties within the day to day upkeep and long term priorities of the garden. You'll have a great understanding of plants and their requirements and you'll be able to deliver consistently excellent presentation standards. Repair and upkeep of the garden infrastructure will be an essential part of this role, as will our duty to maintain a safe compliance culture.

A disciplined approach to time keeping, planning and meeting the deadlines of the job will be essential, as will a flexible attitude and an ability to maintain a good sense of humour at busy times. There will be many! You'll love being a key part of a motivated team who are celebrating the garden's past and securing its future for everyone. The role includes the opportunity to give tours and talks or lead instructional events on occasions. You'll also be part of an organisation that believes in its people and is keen to see them develop and succeed.

Who we're looking for

To be successful in this role you should be able to demonstrate the following:

  • Significant practical experience in horticulture supported by relevant qualifications
  • Have supervisory experience from a similar role
  • Excellent knowledge of plants
  • Competent with the use and maintenance of garden machinery including chainsaws, tractors, hedge trimmers, pedestrian and ride on mowers
  • Knowledge of relevant health and safety legislation and practice
The package

Looking after you

  • Health cash plan - from as little as £2.81 per month for you and your dependents
  • Pension contribution match up to 10%
  • EAP and proactive Health and Wellbeing
  • Discounted gym membership

Looking after your career

  • Grow your career through professional training courses across the Trust
  • Develop your skills with an internal secondment
  • Pay review linked to values and behaviours, commitment to progression
  • Income protection due to illness

Unique to Us

  • Work in some of the most beautiful, iconic and unique locations in the UK
  • Free entry to NT properties for you, a guest and your children (under 18)
  • 20% off in our retail and catering outlets
  • Discount up to 35% off a National Trust holiday cottage booking

Required skills

  • Gardening
  • Horticulture
  • Machinery
  • Plants
  • Supervisory Experience

Reference: 34652244

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