Head Gardener - Gardening Jobs
Following retirement, a rare opportunity has arisen to recruit a Head Gardener at the internationally renowned Grade 1 listed Peto Gardens at Iford Manor. This is an exciting time to join the team at Iford, as many improvements to the visitor experience are taking place following the recent handover of the estate to the next generation.
The role would suit an enthusiastic, dedicated, hands-on, personable and collaborative individual with extensive plant knowledge, previous experience working in a historic garden open to the public and who can demonstrate existing team management skills.
The Peto Gardens (c. 2.5 acres) are open to the public from April until October. Located on a steep hillside they are terraced and comprise long flower borders, an oriental garden, specimen trees and shrubs, water features (including a lily pond), topiary, seasonal pots, formal lawns, wilderness areas, orchard and woodland walks. The garden is particularly famed for its wisteria, some of which is >150 years old.
There is the potential to extend this garden and the visitor experience further by restoring former Georgian pleasure walks in the woodland above the garden, which is a small part of our 11-acre private parkland, currently managed by our estate manager and not within the remit of the Head Gardener.
The private walled garden (c. 1 acre) is partially in need of restoration and a new vegetable garden needs to be created to support a new visitor café being built in 2019. Our glasshouses and plant nursery are currently located in this garden, overseen by our expert propagator.
An experienced Head Gardener is required to efficiently manage one groundsman, two part-time gardeners and to create a small volunteer team. It is important to ensure that the gardens are presented and maintained to the highest standard at all times. The Head Gardener must share the owners’ passion for these historic gardens, such that they are able to present themselves as an ambassador for the estate through social media, written articles, magazine & radio interviews and possible television exposure, as well as the delivery of garden talks and guided tours during the summer open gardens period.
Applicants for this opportunity should possess excellent horticultural knowledge and demonstrable experience in the management of each of the above features, ideally within a historic garden setting. Candidates should have management experience at Senior or Head Gardener level in a garden open to the public, health and safety knowledge from a training and practical aspect, experience of supervising volunteers and staff, as well as the ability to maintain and ideally repair machinery. Excellent time and staff management skills are essential, as is a good level of physical fitness and the willingness to lead by example. RHS Level 4 would be preferred, but a minimum of RHS Level 2 is required as are Certificates CS30/CS31 and PA1/PA6.
You will be responsible for the development of the annual management plans for the gardens in collaboration with the owners, then implementing these within an agreed budget. You will also be required to ensure that the plants are looked after in the family’s conservatory and that cut-flowers are provided for the house. The position is full time and may require some weekend work during the summer. The Head Gardener will be encouraged to discuss new business and horticultural ideas with the owners.
It is important to note that applicants for this role should be willing to commit to the position on a long-term basis. This historic and nationally significant estate will remain in the family for many more years to come, with the new generation being just as passionate about the gardens as the previous.