Head Gardener

From English Country Gardeners

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An experienced Head Gardener is sought after on a full time and permanent basis for a remarkable Jacobean mansion set in 12-acres of spectacular and well-regarded gardens nestled in the heart of Kent. Dating back to the 14th century the house and gardens are open to the public and managed by a preservation Trust where visitors can have tours around the house and unravel the 600 years of history, we well as exploring the open gardens. The maintenance of the gardens to a high standard for visitor interest is a priority for the Trust in association with its charitable purpose of preserving the estate.

The estate contains 12-acres of tranquil gardens that have seen four hundred years of changing garden fashions, surrounded by ancient parkland studded with stately oaks and chestnuts. Terraced lawns bordered by a vast yew hedge and topiaried box have been softened over the last century by the addition of long, curvy-edged herbaceous borders and ornamental tree and shrub plantings. All areas of the garden continue to be restored and maintained to an extremely high standard. The garden features a stunning walled garden containing an ornamental greenhouse, as well as fern and alpine houses. Further elements include a blooming rose garden, pan garden and croquet lawn, a wildflower garden, lily pond, and a spectacular Italian Garden.

As an ambassador of the house and gardens, the successful applicant will seek out opportunities to provide visitors with friendly conversation and background information on everything horticultural. Throughout the year the Head Gardener will be required to conduct a series of relaxed, informal, and informative gardening workshops for small groups, as well as giving garden tours and attending in house events. The garden is also host to an active and very successful education programme for local school children.

The successful applicant will be responsible for the management and planning of all aspects of the garden. This will include extensive ornamental plant management, lawn and hedge care, plant propagation, glasshouse work and kitchen gardening. The gardens are currently managed by a team of two permanent, highly skilled gardeners whom the successful candidate will be responsible for, as well as up to two trainees and a team of volunteers. The successful applicant will have substantial practical experience of managing and maintaining extensive grounds and gardens. This is a hands-on role which requires not only strong physical attributes but the ability to lead and communicate effectively with co-workers. It will be a key requirement that the candidate can plan and implement seasonal works programmes as well as delegate duties to the rest of the team.

Applicants will hold excellent plant knowledge alongside a relevant horticultural qualification. Previous experience as a Head Gardener with a proven track record in a leadership role responsible for performance management and in supporting and developing a team. Candidates will need good communication skills, and enthusiasm and confidence to engage with visitors and lead educational groups. Competence in relevant health and safety legislation, as well as proficiency in use and management of a wide variety of garden machinery is important.

Daily working hours are 8am to 5pm plus weekend hours for watering and other duties in rota with other staff. Some weekend hours are required to host workshops and attend exhibitions in the garden. A 2-to-3-bedroom cottage within the main house complex is available to candidates.

SALARY:        £35,000 to £40,000 depending on experience
JOB No:          EC45086

If this Head Gardener vacancy is of interest, please apply or contact Sophie Sharpe on 01233 733510 or

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Thank you for the interest you have shown in this Head Gardener vacancy.  Unfortunately, due to the high volume of applications that we receive, it is not possible to respond to every one.  Therefore, unless you hear from us within the next 14 days, your application for this Head Gardener vacancy will have been unsuccessful.