Assistant Head Gardener
An exciting opportunity to join the garden team here at Chartwell. The Chartwell team work within the Chartwell Portfolio which also cares for Emmetts Garden, North Kent Countryside and Quebec House and whilst you will be based at Chartwell however from time to time there will be exciting opportunities to work on shared work days within the Garden and Countryside team across the portfolio.
What it's like to work here
Chartwell was the much-loved Churchill family home and the place from which Sir Winston drew inspiration from 1924 until the end of his life. Many of the rooms remain the same as when the Churchill family lived at Chartwell and today it is our job to share the stories of their lives here as well as care for this much-loved home and their cherished possessions. The team at Chartwell ensure that visitors have a great time at this property, and create events to delve further into the life of Sir Winston Churchill. What you'll be doing
This Assistant Head Gardener at Chartwell is newly created and your role will be to support our Garden and Countryside Manager with the day to day management and leadership of the garden team. Directly line managing 4 gardeners, supervising the wider team and volunteers, in the care,maintenance and development of the gardens to the highest horticultural standards. You'll work in all areas of the garden leading with the care and development. You will also be required to support the Senior Gardener with the weekly maintenance of Quebec House Garden which is within the Chartwell Portfolio, Quebec House is a beautiful town house within minutes of Westerham. The house was the family home of General James Wolfe.
From time to time you'll deputise for the Garden and Countryside Manager at Chartwell in their absence and also deputise for the Head Gardener at Emmetts garden when required. The relationship between the Assistant Head Gardener and Garden and Countryside Manager is extremely important to the success of Chartwell Garden and the wider outdoor portfolio.
Through the season you'll lead with a variety of tasks from growing produce to maintaining lawns.You'll support the delivery of projects including two active projects which seek to fully restore Chartwell Gardens over the forthcoming years. We have two additional projects one to expand our composting facilities at Chartwell and another to create and open a plant quarantine area. You'll be required to lead with the delivery of the tasks on the garden management plan which will require restoring borders and ordering new plantings in peat free compost amongst many more exciting items of work.
As well as these projects there is the day to work which includes anything from annual rose pruning through to pricking out seedlings. The visitor experience is an extremely important aspect of the role and in being Assistant Head Gardener you will be key to driving an improved experience for our visitors here delivering high presentation standards and good levels of communication as to all the goings on in the garden.
A major aspect of the role will be to fully support with operational risk and compliance tasks and supporting the careful spend of the Outdoor budgets. You will from time to time be required to create business cases to enable projects to progress. You will be expected to undertake risk assessments, chemical assessments, work place inspections, maintain machinery and equipment. It is anticipated that the role will be 50% office based and 50% working outdoors, this will be flexible as different weeks and months require different levels of prioritisation which is a key skill requirement.
There will be an expectation that you will work weekends, bank holidays and some evenings on a rota basis.
Who we're looking for
Who we're looking for We're looking for someone who is creative and thinks outside the box, and who can help share our magical story with visitors and supporters of all ages and backgrounds. In order to be successful in this role you’ll have:
- An eye for detail and experience working with collections of rare and unusual plants
- Experience managing teams of gardeners and volunteers
- A love for sharing your knowledge and experience with volunteers, staff and team
- RHS Level 3 (or equivalent) as well as practical gardening/horticulture experience
- An excellent understanding of horticultural techniques and plant identification
- Experience of using garden machinery
- UK Drivers License
- Good plannings skills and the ability to prioritise between office and practical work
Benefits include flexible working whenever possible plus free parking at most locations. You’ll be entitled to discounts in high street stores and cinemas, National Trust shops and NT cafes, and have free entry to NT properties for you, a guest and your children (under 18).
Your health and wellbeing is important to us and is supported through generous annual leave and the option to buy additional days (minimum contract length applies), a cycle to work scheme, subsidised health cash plan and confidential access to a free support service 24 hours a day should you need it.
Your future financial health is helped by an employer matched - up to 10% of basic salary - contributory pension scheme and you can further your career with training and development tailored to you.
All of this and the opportunity to give something back to your community with up to 5 days of paid volunteering per year!