Set in 21 acres in the heart of the Norfolk countryside, West Lexham is a fast growing, multi-faceted event and wellness business. The family owned venue hosts an assortment of events from wellbeing retreats, festival style weddings; corporate gatherings; family holidays and reunions as well as yoga, meditation and personal development residentials.
An exciting opportunity has arisen for a Head Gardener to join our knowledgeable and expanding team.
The grounds include recreational lawns, a vegetable garden, a newly planted Japanese garden, large mixed herbaceous boarders, formal hedging and topiary, water meadows, orchard trees and woodland. Part of the site is a ‘Site of Special Scientific Interest’. It contains a chalk stream which has undergone extensive restoration to maximise biodiversity. As an extension to this there is a collection of every indigenous tree and shrub in the UK. There are a range of ponds and a long lake where the marginal planting needs careful management and we plan to optimise the floral mix in the water meadows.
The sensitivity of the site requires that the entire property needs to be managed organically. Ongoing ideas of habitat creation are welcomed. At the end of this year we plan to plant a new organic vegetable garden on a south facing slope which will provide year-round produce for the restaurant which will be built as the end of the year. This area will require careful planning to provide a wide range of fruit and vegetables. No-dig beds and biodynamic methods will be considered along with polytunnels, fruit cages and orchards. A consistent crop of quality, possibly rare or heritage varieties will be required as they will be part of a menu developed alongside the head chef.
The overall vision is to create an Eden, a mini paradise which will inspire guests through plants, trees, creativity and beauty. We will use best practices to instruct and inform as an immersive learning experience. The gardens are a critical part of the overall estate which is run on renewables, with utmost attention to detail using handmade and upcycled elements in the buildings where possible.
We are looking for someone who is enthusiastic with a passion for plants and a love of wildlife. Someone who is driven; a multi-skilled, hands-on senior gardener with demonstrable staff and estate management experience along with excellent attention to detail.
The role involves managing and growing a team that currently consists of 3 part-time gardeners. You will be working closely with both the owners and general Manager in terms of time and budget planning and will have overall responsibility for ensuring that the gardens and associated areas of the property are managed and developed in keeping with the owner’s vision, both horticultural and spiritual.
We are looking for someone to help plan the future of this garden, who is not afraid to think outside the box, be inventive and challenge the norm, while ensuring that the day to day maintenance of the grounds are maintained to the highest possible standards. The ideal candidate needs to be keen to embrace the vision, have creative ideas, be personally committed to organic and permaculture practices and demonstrate a thirst to continue to learn and try new techniques. A true appreciation for wildlife and conservation is critical. The ideal person will be passionate about sharing their love for nature, helping the West Lexham team learn, inspiring our guests and take an interest in what the project is achieving in terms of its context in the wider world.
One of the key benefits for the right candidate is being given the opportunity to run with their vision. To take the food-growing project from seed to fruition and take pride in knowing that people are eating their produce. For the right candidate, this role has the potential to become a life-changing project.
Package and Benefits
This is a key role within the business and the salary and package will directly reflect this.
Additional benefits include:
Assistance with finding local accommodation may be provided Reasonable assistance will be provided with relocation should this be required.
This is a fantastic opportunity for a passionate Gardener looking for a long term and rewarding role on a beautiful private estate. If you would like to be considered for this exciting and unique position, then please apply today.